The Real Winners on ‘Loser’

This week, all of the contestants seemed to be focused on the bigger picture rather than what they could get away with.

Last Updated: October 21, 2009 @ 7:00 AM

While many of you have argued in your comments that, at the end of the day, “Loser” is “just a game show,” I beg to differ. That’s like saying “Moment of Truth” was “just a game show.”  Believe me, as someone who won a Prius and some fancy spa stuff (mainly due to smoking some other contestants in the “Britney or Whitney?” round on “Temptation”), I know game shows.

And “The Biggest Loser” is no game show.

Thankfully, that point was driven home this week, as all of the contestants seemed to be focused on the bigger picture rather than what they could get away with. The teams competed in a physical challenge with the Blue Team winning. The prize? Something even better than a cruise down the Danube River! (See my appearance on “Hollywood Squares” for more info.)

They got the opportunity to go home and visit family for a week … or to send the Black Team home to visit their families.

Hmmm, it sure would be nice to see loved ones. And, hey, there wouldn’t be anyone screaming at them to “get back on the f—ing treadmill.” But they evaluated why they were actually on the program in the first place and decided to stay at the ranch and send their competitors home.

While I was very proud of the Blue Team for making the “right choice,” I was even prouder of the Black Team once they got back home. (And even prouder that I didn’t shed my first tear until the 26-minute mark!) It’s easy (so to speak) to work out six hours a day when someone is screaming at you. What’s more difficult is taking the initiative to do it yourself. The Black Team made that effort, even though there were challenges.  

The ranch ain’t real life, people. While the program is difficult and emotional, the whole production still serves as a kind of protective cocoon from the outside world. They are shut off from everything they know to focus solely on dropping pounds, surrounded by teammates who can empathize.  

I really felt for Shay when she spoke about how hard it was to go to the gym, not because she didn’t want to exercise, but because all the other gymrats stared at her and wondered why she was there at all. To her credit, she kept on going. That takes courage.

Another challenge the Black Team faced was eating with their families. I have to say that I found it a little insensitive when both Shay and Dina’s families ordered the same unhealthy fare they’d always had. Shay was saddened at the way her stepsons ate, saying, “They’re making these choices based on what they’ve seen.” Dina even told her husband to stop and get a doggy bag and later told the camera that she was “disgusted by it.”

I’m curious to find out what will happen when they go home for good. It’s one thing to change your own eating habits, but it’s another thing to force your new lifestyle upon someone else. On the other hand, they are going to need their families’ support to maintain their weight loss and, frankly, I liken their families’ behavior last night to drinking in front of an alcoholic.

Regardless of whether their loved ones get on board or not, the contestants will have to put themselves first to succeed. Danny is already doing a great job of this. He told his daughter that they may not get to spend that much time together because Daddy had to exercise but qualified it with, “Every minute I’m away from you at the gym means years I’m gonna be with you cause I’m gonna live longer.” (Tear!)

The reality of this weight-loss journey is that no one can do it for you. That being said, it sure helps if you have a good support system. While The Black Team didn’t choose to send themselves home, I think the experience will help them prepare for the long run.

And by “the long run,” I’m not talking about winning money on a “game show.”