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Unfair Disadvantage – Biggest Loser, 09-20-05


by LauraBelle

Maybe it’s just me, and the fact that I’m a mom, but I thought this week’s temptation challenge started out unfairly to the moms. They beat it in the end afterall, but they were faced with such a tough choice early on. It’s not like it was comparable to Sophie’s Choice, yet it was something a mom shouldn’t be forced to go through. As a mother of two myself, it nearly sent me over the edge just watching them battle this.

After the last weigh-in and the elimination of Ruben, all the contestants walk in to face an unknown temptation. What they have before each of them is a plate of their favorite food and a handwritten card from a loved one. They have fifteen minutes to decide whether to eat it or not. If they eat the food, they can open the card and read it.

Jen really wants to hear from her kids and sits staring at a slice of pizza. Mark gives her a hard time and tells her to go for it, as it’s probably only 100 calories in the slice anyway. Jen covers up her ears, probably imitating her children, and does a “la la la la la.” She reasons that the note probably say if you’re reading this, I pissed in it. Jen’s making a joke of it, but you can tell it’s ripping her up.

Mark pretty much goes around the room taunting all the moms that their kids spent so much time on these cards they really need to open them up. Shannon says he made her feel bad. She didn’t get to spend a lot of time with her kids before she left for the show, and it’s making her feel very guilty. She decides she won’t do it and will stay strong for the team. She has been a single mom for so long, it helps, as she’s used to making tough decisions.

Ryan’s card has a drawn picture by her three kids on the front of it. She says the drawn picture of her youngest even has her “Pebbles hairdo.” She won’t do it. As time expires, no one has bent to temptation.

After, trainer Bob tells his ladies’ team that this challenge was preparing them for temptations in the outside world. Oh really? When will they have to decide between hearing from their children and eating a snack? In their workouts this week they will be focusing on balance, speed and agility. He encourages them to realize the focus has to be on eating more of the right things. If you don’t eat enough, your body will shut down. Kathryn can’t work out much, as she has injured her foot. Ryan says she should be worried since she isn’t able to contribute much.

Trainer Jillian works with her men’s team on balance as well. Jeff really needs the work. He tries repeatedly, but he really struggles with the balance. Jillian says Nick is such a renegade, refusing to work out, that she has decided just to help him when he needs it.

Caroline Rhea greets them at their challenge for the week. She tells them they have learned they miss their families and that temptation is hard. She says they resisted so well with the temptation over the letters and food, that the winning team of this challenge will get all their cards and letters. As an added bonus, the winning team will also get an extra 24 hours to lose weight, as they won’t be weighed in until 24 hours after the losing team.

Each person on the team will need to walk down a balance beam that is over water to a platform. If they fall off the beam, they need to go back to the beginning and start again. This will continue until every member of each team is across the beam and onto the platform. Since the ladies have an extra team member, they are asked to choose who will not participate. Everyone points to Kathryn but she says she’s okay to do this. Suzanne can’t believe this. Kathryn is limping around every day; absolutely not will she participate while a stronger person sits. Eventually they force her into being the one to sit.

While Suzy gets stuck on the platform early on, the men take an early lead at 2-0. Suzy finally makes it over. Nick, Jen, Jeff and Shannon fall and the men are ahead 5-3. Jeff falls in for a second time. Finally it’s tied at 5-5 and it comes down to Jeff vs. Shannon, who will make it over first. He knows his wife and kids would be proud of him for sticking it out. Matt notices that Jeff is so tense doing this that he is taking himself out of the game.

Shannon is basically told she has to do it for all the mothers to read their cards. This is enough to force her over. Kudos to Jeff as he doesn’t give up. He continues across the beam just to finish it. All on both sides cheer him on. Once he finally make it, the other guys cheer for him like they had won. He wishes he had done if for the team, but says it was still a tremendous sense of accomplishment.

The ladies get their cards and letters and drop right there on the platform to read them. They needed this. Shannon says Bob is so supportive when they get back and he congratulates them on winning. She says he probably would have been the same way even if they didn’t win. On the converse, Jillian pushes the guys in training saying they better get moving. Those girls are tough!

It seems pretty quick, but we get to the weigh-in for the guys right away. They started out the week at weighing a total of 1965. Jillian has prepared them that even though they lost big last week, that this week they will each probably only lose 2-3 pounds. Each of the guys are wearing their goal t-shirts again.

Seth “to see son grow up” weighed in last at 270, and already has stretch marks on his belly. He weighs 262 this week, giving him a total of 29 pounds lost so far. Nick “to be healthy” was 318 at last weigh in. Despite the fact that everyone says he doesn’t work out at all, he has still managed to lose 10 pounds today, coming in at 308. He has lost 38 total. Even Suzy from the other team says it’s surprising how much he has lost as all he does is take a lot of naps. She think she wants to jump on his plan.

Jeff “to inspire patients” starts with 352 and kisses each hand, supposedly for luck, before jumping on the scale. He now weighs 344, losing 26 altogether. Mark says he is proud of him. Pete “to slam dunk” started out the heaviest at 379 and makes it down to 371, losing 30 to date. Mark “to fit into bulletproof vest” weighed 335 last week and is now at 325, losing the most for his team. He’s lost 33 so far.

Matt, wearing a t-shirt that reads “to be an athlete” weighed 311 last week, and after losing 28 last week has lost 7 this week, giving him a total of 35. Caroline asks what he has in his hand. He says it’s a letter from his sister and goes on to read her inspirational words about pushing on when times get tough. He says it changed his whole perspective. Caroline is seen holding back tears.

Then men have lost a total of 2.6%, meaning the ladies will have to lose more than 33 pounds tomorrow to take the win. Caroline notes with an extra person someone will have to sit out. Jen offers herself up without hesitation. She must not have much faith in herself at this point. Matt says if his team loses, they will know they laid it all out.

Jillian greets her team after the weigh-in and says she’s amazed. She now wants to work in some long cardio, she says, yet they end up doing sprints. I don’t quite get that. She tells them if she beats them in a sprint, they’ll have to run three more times. Matt definitely lays it all out again, looking pretty close to a tie with Jillian.

He collapses at the end as his legs give out. The other men carry him out to a waiting ambulance, and say he appears to be in severe pain. Jeff says Matt is such a motivator, that if he’s not in top form, it could hurt the team. Returning after this hospital stint, Matt says he has a tear in his quadricep muscle and has been advised to take it easy. Mark predicts it won’t stop Matt much. I agree with that. I know this guy will find a way.

Bob is hopeful as his ladies’ team heads into their weigh-in. Whenever they get tired, they just ask what they should do next. They never let down. Looking at the 34 pounds the team needs to lose to beat the men, they decide if they each lose 6 pounds, they’ll take it. Jeff says as the men watch the women walk in, they are a little worried, as they ladies are looking pretty good.

The weight of Jen “to be a role model” isn’t counting tonight, but she steps on the scale anway. Last week she was at 248, and tonight weighs in at 244. That gives her 23 pounds to date and her team seems to be glad her weight isn’t being counted. Kathryn “to have a powerful body” has been the lightest, starting the week at 202. She isn’t very powerful limping and only loses 1 pound, giving her 16 lost so far. Seth is wondering why they chose to not count Jen’s weight instead of Kathryn’s.

Andrea “to be a princess” ended last week at 209, and this week makes it down to 204, for a total loss so far of 16. So far no one has come close to the 6 pounds they each need to lose. Ryan “to turn heads” started her week at 207 and has only made it down to 205 tonight. She has lost 20 total.

Suzanne “to be a hot bride” thinks coming into it if she loses 10 they still have a chance. She started the week at 213 and now only makes it down to 209, for a total loss of 20 on the show. Shannon “to turn up the sexy volume” is nervous stepping on the scale, having stared the week at 242. Tonight she is only down to 240, having lost 17 so far. The last of the women is Suzy “To find Mr. Right” once again. She lost 20 last week, and if she does again, they’ll win. She last weighed in at 207, but tonight she weighs in at 205, giving her a lost to date of 22. The men win.

Back at the house, the men celebrate with Nick cooking for everyone. Jillian walks in and blows her top, saying she doesn’t want to see steak the size of her thigh cooking on the grill. She tells the others Nick is manipulating the entire team by sabotaging them with bad habits. She tells them to get focused as he’s not going home with them. She finally gets ticked and yells at them to go ahead and not work out while Wife Nick has dinner waiting for them. Nick gets in her face and yells that she doesn’t need to yell, forcing her to yell back, “Shut up!” She pronounces this not fun, and says she’s going home, walking out. He can really push her buttons.

Back with the ladies, Bob tells Jen she needs to create a new relationship with food as she begins to break down over this whole process. All told, she lost the second most on her team, though. Suzanne thinks Jen is breaking down and causing too much stress on the team. I am thinking that editing is trying to make us think that Jen is eliminated, but I’m hoping it will be Kathryn as she lost the least, and with this big injury it’s doubtful she’ll do well the next few weeks.

Once in the elimination room, Caroline asks Ryan if the friendships formed are real. Ryan says she genuinely loves them all and will take a piece of them with her when she leaves. Caroline has a genuine moment herself and says Ryan is going to make her cry.

With a loss of 5 pounds, Andrea has immunity. She says the person she is voting for has a lot of positive qualities, uncovers her tray and shows Kathryn’s name. Suzy says she never got to know this person well enough and votes for Kathryn. Kathryn herself is up next, and says she spoke with this person before, and decided she didn’t have an emotional enough day. She votes for Jen. Suzanne votes for Kathryn as she hasn’t been able to help them. Shannon says they were asked if they would be able to continue the healthy habits they have learned so far in the house and knows she’s not ready, but this person said they are, so she is confident voting for Kathryn that she’s ready to leave.

There is no need to see the other votes. Kathryn is eliminated having lost 16 pounds so far. She says she takes responsibility for her teammates not feeling like they know her as she is not a team player by nature. She also says she didn’t come here to make 6 new friends.

As we catch up with Kathryn in the months since she left the show, she hasn’t been quite as successful as Ruben was last week. She blames her demanding job as an attorney. She enjoys kickboxing and says it affects how she holds herself. She has now lost 34 pounds total, doubling what she had lost when she she left the show. Nothing to feel bad about there, Kathryn.

I still can’t get away from thinking the women were given an unfair disadvantage today. Sure, they won the balance competition anyway, but did this unfairly affect them emotionally, and cause them to make bad choices later in the week? I’m not saying the fathers in the group don’t have emotional ties to their family, but it’s different being a mom. We have to balance so much already, and question daily whether we make the right decisions for our children and our time. To put this on them when they are already facing stress, just seemed unfair to me.

A special thanks to Beth who shared her inspiring weight loss journey with me last week. It was fascinating to see such real life success.

Winning or losing the battle of the bulge? :situp: Email me at LauraBelle@realityshack.com


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