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Biggest Loser Glory Days - Rob's meltdown and where is Vanessa now?

Posted on 09/19/2014 by Ajay in The Biggest Loser and Cast InterviewsGeneral News

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Last night’s episode of Biggest Loser was filled with tears and tantrums galore. The show opens with formerly eliminated contestant/cheerleader Andrea meeting Bob and finding out about Comeback Canyon. She expresses her fear at having to beat the impressive 6 ft 5 former WNBA player Vanessa  when in fact, her lack of height is an advantage at the weigh in because it’s judged on body fat percentage versus pounds lost therefore a smaller body equates to a greater percentage if they lose the same amount of weight.

Meanwhile, back at the Ranch (haha, always wanted to have a legit reason to say that), Jesse, having already lost a weigh in and team member, shares that he understands the sacrifices his team are making because his family are back in Toronto. He educates his team on nutrition and emphasizes the importance of giving their all to be able to stay there. Everybody cries.

Then we have the first training session of the week and this is usually where we see tantrums, tears, gratuitous sweat and vomit, people falling off the treadmill, others moaning that they just can’t go on and from the trainers there is often a fairly decent dose of “Harden the F- Up!” Not this season! Instead, all these former athletes are just getting on with the job. With no drama to film there, we move on to getting to know the trainers and contestants at a deeper level and understand more of how these people got to this point in their lives, staring an early death in the face - with the focus more on what's going on inside. I love this element of the show because it finally breaks the myth that all fat people are lazy gluttons. It embraces the idea that fat and obesity is so much more than calories in and calories out and a first giant step towards ending fat shaming, discrimination and self hatred based on weight.

Dolvett has trouble getting young 18 year old Blake to open up to him, with her giggling and flat out refusal to discuss what happened to her that sent her along this path after having  been on the cross country team and a high school varsity soccer player. He sends her out of the gym as punishment and says, “Don’t come back 'till you’re ready to talk.”

Later that day he calls a team meeting and shares a story about former contestant John, who wouldn't open up until Dolvett shared his own personal story of surviving a difficult upbringing. John went on to become the Biggest Loser for that year, Dolvett emphasizing the importance of leaving their Excess Baggage at the door of the ranch. 

Blake shares her story of having been a 100 pound 5 year old girl who found fitness in her teens but never losing that last 5 pounds, never quite getting to her goal of 145 pounds, which made her feel like she was never good enough and so she simply gave up trying.

During these “open heart” sessions we also discover that Matt, then former wrestler and model, has been given an ultimatum from his girlfriend, who met him at his peak. It is to literally shape up or ship out.

With plenty of reasons to win,they head into this week’s challenge - the prize being access to the gym for the entire week and the power to lock one team out. They run through a series of obstacles including having to break down walls with their fears written on them. They  do this carrying a 60lb punching bag through tires, over a balance beam and through a series of wires and ropes. White team beat Red team by two seconds and subsequently lock them out of the gym for the rest of the week.

Dolvett adapts and gets his team moving furniture in the house. White team prank Jenn by telling her they lost and she has to send someone home. It’s a cute moment and a nice break from all the drama so far.

The contestants have their appointment with the show’s doctor, Dr Huizenga and this is where Rob has a complete and utter breakdown. We find out that his father had gastric bypass that hadn’t gone so well and who later died of gangrene related to his diabetes. Rob is also pre diabetic and at risk of dying in five years. Dr H gets a wheelchair and tries to get through to him that this is where he will be in six months time if he doesn't take his weight loss seriously. Rob storms out of the room, screaming, shouting, spit flying everywhere, red faced and crying uncontrollably. This is a man staring death in the face and he has nowhere to go but down (on the scales that is).

We leave the Ranch while the teams have their last chance workout and visit Bob at Comeback Canyon where Vanessa and Andrea weigh in and as I predicted, it’s Vanessa’s height vs weight loss that becomes a disadvantage as she is the one with the lowest body fat PERCENTAGE lost and she goes home. 

Back at the team weigh in Red go up first with slow numbers to start but finish strong with Mike,  who despite being injured gets a 9, Scott losing 10 lbs and Rob, 12.

White have solid numbers all round with Jenn proving to be a strong and competent trainer and they are safe.

It’s Blue against Red, with Blue needing 40 pounds to stay at the Ranch. And they start off very poorly with Lori losing 5 and Gina 6. But the real champion of the night is Damien who hits an awesome 14lb weight loss, making up for his sluggish 7 of last week and bringing his team over the line forcing Red to go to elimination.

Blake is safe and they quickly and with rapid fire lose their player with the weakest numbers and it’s goodbye Emmy (who will now go up against Andrea at Comeback Canyon).

The show wraps up showing Vanessa has since lost 45lbs and is back playing basketball socially and more importantly, is spending active time with her kids.

We caught up with Vanessa on a phone call this morning and she is happily planning her wedding and for the first time ever, actually looking at wedding dresses. She hinted that she had lost more weight since but wanted to keep it a surprise for the finale.

She mentioned that the most important thing she had learned at the Ranch was portion control. As an athlete, she had been used to consuming a greater number of calories than the average person but when she’d stopped training, her food intake had remained the same, causing her to gain so much weight.

She mentioned that she really wasn’t into Comeback Canyon and preferred being at the Ranch, so when it was time to come home, she was nervous but ready to be with her family.

I asked her how her fiancé had reacted to her weight, having not shared with him how heavy she was and she said he hadn’t bright it up until last night’s show. She said he has done nothing but support her since returning, cleaning out the cupboards and refrigerator but also reassured her that he loves her for her and not her weight but he was happy she was getting healthy for her kids and her own health and wellbeing.

She explained that her food changes were harder for her daughter because she is used to pizza and take away foods and obviously those foods are rare these days but she knows it is for the better and is determined to make sure her daughter doesn’t make the same mistakes she made.

She admitted her weakness is fries and she HAS had a few stumbles since being out, explaining that the hardest part of being out of the Ranch is there is NO temptation there, but in the real world, it is a daily reminder of having to make those smaller better choices all day every day.

One of the best things to come out of the experience, she says, was to make a best friend in Zina, her room mate at the ranch and competitor at Comeback Canyon. The trainers, doctors and support team are in constant contact with her, with a scheduled call every Monday and Jesse and Jenn making themselves available whenever she needs and when asked how much weight she has lost since last night’s episode she stated she wanted “to shock people” with her weight loss at finale so she is still on leave from her job and working out morning and night every day.


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