Monday, March 7, 2011

I Am NOT The Next Biggest Loser

I would like to apologize in advance for the rambling below - but sometimes that is just how I roll!

There have been many times over the years that I have thought I should be on the Biggest Loser. There was even a time about 4 years ago that I attempted to make a tape and send it in. (Embarrassing - I know). My friend S. and I had often talked about trying out for the team shows (I have a grievance I would like to discuss with the BL people on this! Please call it "Duos" instead of "Couples". How are a father/daughter, mother/son, father/son, mother/daughter, friends, sisters, brothers, etc a "couple"? THEY AREN'T! Please change it immediately. Thank you). So when the casting was coming to Minneapolis, the discussion was had once again. S said she couldn't take 2 months off of work, so the discussion died there. My friend M from FC was contacted by the BL people, so I talked to him about it a little bit as well - but that didn't really go anywhere. And you needed a current photo - which I make it a practice to NOT keep on hand because I find them depressing as hell - so I had decided it was not going to happen.

While on my return drive to MN on Friday I received a text from my sister. I guess there were a few people who felt like I should go to the tryouts. Crap. So I spent the next 5 hours alternating between "no way!" and "why the hell not?". I put it on Facebook, and was greeted (not shockingly - because my friends are fantastic!!) with an overwhelming amount of support. How could I not do it after that? So I needed a picture. Shout out to Amy for meeting me, and taking a current photo. I got it printed out Friday night, so I could go if I felt the desire to. By the time I left my photo session I had pretty much been talked into it by Amy and my brother-in-law. Really - what did I have to lose? Yes, it was a waste of time (as I was certain I wouldn't get picked) - but as my very smart friend Stephanie asked me "have you ever wasted a day before?". Just so you know - the answer to that is: often.

At 5am on Saturday, I was up and in the shower. I assessed my chances - and gave myself about a 5% chance of getting chosen. At 7am (when the lines were supposed to be starting to form) I walked into the Mall of America. I found myself at 148th in line. Here is where a couple of things became evident:
  • I am more "generic" looking than I had thought. So much so, that a lady in the line next to me asked if the girl in front of me and I were twins or sisters. Uh-oh. About 5 minutes later the two ladies that lined up behind us asked the same question. Wow. I am really going to stand out! 
  • In Minnesota time 7am must mean 4am? Seriously. There was one woman who told the news crew (yes - there was a news camera and reporter there. I hid.) that she'd been there since 4am. That means she waited outside the door. In winter. In Minnesota. 
So I settled in for the wait. Interviewing started at 10am. I had some time to kill. I felt really lucky to be where I was in line - I was by very nice people, I could sit on the floor and lean against the wall and I wasn't trapped in the middle row. As time went by, it kept getting warmer and warmer in our little alley. I guess you can only  have so many overweight people in tight quarters before the temperature starts to rise? Shockingly - I wasn't even a complete sweaty mess. While chatting with my new friend J, she said something kind of interesting. We were discussing how many people would turn out for the call, and she said that MN is one of the most fit states. She works for the Dept of Health - so knows these things. I had never thought about that. I guess I am usually the biggest that seems about right. I fit in a little better when I lived in GA.

Anyway...we were finally given our short questionnaires. I went through and had mine done in about 5 minutes. I noticed - because I was the first one done - that people were spending a lot more time on them than I was. Is that a negative? Or a positive because I wasn't over-thinking it? Crap. Who knows. I did notice while walking around at one point that there was a girl who had a notebook with her. She appeared to have written out a little speech because it started with "hi, my name is....". I guess she didn't realize what a ridiculous farce this was going to be, either. It was at that point that I realized that some people had put a LOT of effort into this. And there were people there - like the gentleman whose stomach was hanging out the bottom of his shirt - that probably needed this more than I did.

The line finally started to move. My hands were clammy. I didn't feel nervous, so not sure why? It was about 5 minutes later that my new friend P said she'd heard we were going in in groups of 12. Twelve!?!? What the hell?!? I thought that seemed silly, and she probably mis-heard them. Nope. About an hour later I was to the front of the line. It is explained that we will go in in groups of 12, but everyone will have a chance to answer their question. This should get interesting. After talking new friends K and P off a ledge (they were super-nervous) we were taken in to the room where we got to line up again. 3 rows of 12 in the entry of an office area. They really like to pack a lot of fatties in tight quarters! Then the 3 groups in the interview "rooms" (not actual rooms, but sections of open space separated by cloth curtains - while a huge room sat unused) had to walk through us to get out. I started thinking whoever laid out the logistics of this thing could have used some help. That was the least of it, I would soon learn.

Finally group B (my group) was lead into one of the curtain rooms. There was a table, 12 chairs and ONE casting person - - we'll call her "Patsy". Before we even get started, Patsy warns us that if she has to cut it off, we shouldn't take it personally - but we need to keep things moving. There were about 4 rounds of questions asked. I get to answer all of the questions first. The highlights were that I got to share my weight and my occupation - two real bright spots for me. I do not believe I am exaggerating when I tell you that we were in the room for about 5 minutes. Seriously. Beyond getting to share my highlights - here were a couple of faves/questions from the "interview":
  • There was one girl in my group that sounded like she was going to cry when they asked our names. For reals, y'all. I wanted to tell her "honey, you don't stand a chance" - but thought better of it. She probably got a 2nd interview.
  • Patsy spent 1/2 of our 5 minutes with her back to me
  • What do they use as a basis to pick the people for 2nd interviews? You have a 1/12 shot with Patsy - which really turns into worse odds, because she saw a minimum of 200 people that day (probably closer to 300)
  • I am beige. I wasn't wearing anything crazy, I didn't have pink hair, I didn't look so sad and beaten down that they had to worry I might not survive one more rejection, I didn't come in hooting and hollaring, I didn't say anything crazy, I answered their rapid questions without crying. I had a stranger-twin for Christ's sake!
  • I'm too normal.
After being in the "interview" (absurd to even try and call it that!) room, I felt my chances were at about -15%. I knew there was no chance. While I was waiting to go into the rooms, one guy in the groups filing out of the rooms told his buddy "it doesn't give you a chance to shine". I actually laughed out loud. Partially because that is funny, but mostly because a dude just used the word "shine", and wasn't talking about the sun or his freshly polished car.

So I want to thank all of you, again, for being so wonderful and supportive! I appreciate all of you so much! But this is for the best. I don't have to wear next to nothing on national TV. I don't have to do their silly challenges. I don't have to worry about being arrested for assult after punching Ali in the neck because she is so annoying. It is for the best. There are other people that need this worse than I do. I might be moving at a snail's pace, but I can and will do this on my own. BL wasn't ready for me.


  1. From my point of view, you are a big winner.

  2. Hey Nad, I think you are a big loser! (and I mean that with love!!!!) :)

  3. Thanks for the run-down on what happens at a BL casting event. As someone who works in TV, none of it sounds (unfortunately) out-of-the-ordinary, but it's all interesting to me, nevertheless, because a few years ago I was certain that I should be on BL too. I came close to making a tape, but decided not to after I read the online questionnaire and decided that answering all their questions would probably just make me cry.

    If BL is ever ready for you, now you know what to do: Show up again, show up earlier, stand out, bring big energy, wear your emotions on your sleeve, don't give them any opportunity to forgot you!

  4. Natalie,

    In reading your blog, it appears that you already have access to a gym, plenty of time to go to the gym, plenty of friends to go to the gym with you, healthy food options, and knowledge about weight loss. It seems that the only thing that BL would offer to you that you don't have in your life right now is people who really hold you accountable when you slack. Does that seem like a fair assessment? And is that what you need? Because there are probably a few people who read this blog who would volunteer to fill that role.

    For starters, when I checked the MYA page, I saw that you've only moved 30 miles in the last 4 weeks instead of the 80 miles that you promised. That is unacceptable. We expect to see a minimum of 20 miles every week (and even that is probably a fraction of how much the contestants move on BL -- if you're not working, you could spend several hours each day on a treadmill or elliptical or in the pool or walking at the mall or around your neighborhood -- do it for an hour in the morning, another hour in the afternoon, and another hour in the evening -- even if you move at a pace of 2 or 3 miles per hour, you could be doing 40 to 60 miles per week).

    Also, if you aren't doing it now, you should start calculating the calories that you're consuming each day. You don't need to share that in the blog, but I think it's necessary for you to do the math for yourself so that you realize how much you need to move in order to burn more calories than you're consuming and "slim down."

    I realize this blog is supposed to be a place of support, but the type of support or cheerleading that you have been receiving here doesn't seem to motivate you on a consistent basis. There have been too many weeks of slacking (both in terms of exercise and diet) and too many excuses, and nobody calls you out on it. Maybe a less warm-and-fuzzy type of support (similar to the type provided by the trainers on BL) is necessary.

    If you (or other readers) think this is harsh, think about how harsh it would be to go on BL and have millions of TV viewers watching and commenting about you. My words are nothing compared to being forced to stand on a scale wearing a sports bra and biker shorts while a giant scale flashes your actual weight for the entire world to see.


Please share! Or email me at: