Serious as a heart attack" />
You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 10:10 p.m.

"Biggest Loser" episode 2:<br>Serious as a heart attack

By Chrysta Cherrie

Note: Contains spoiler info. Missed the show? More "The Biggest Loser" air times.

Last week on "The Biggest Loser" (3-minute recap):

With the first grueling week behind them, it's smooth sailing for the contestants now, right? Not so much. Enter the "week 2 curse," a historically tough time in which the hopefuls struggle to keep up their momentum and often plateau weight loss-wise. But "Biggest Loser" trainers Bob and Jillian are on the case, motivating the cast members over the hump and "beat(ing) the hell out of (them)," respectively.

Jillian has a method to her madness, though, explaining that pushing the participants to their physical limits helps to break down their emotional walls and open up about what contributed to their current physical state and how they want to change it. This was seen as John, whose twin brother James was voted off last week, discussed how he turned to food as a way to cope with tragedies in his family.


"Biggest Loser" trainer Bob Harper and Dr. Robert Huizenga deliver some tough facts about obesity-related health risks.

And this season, it's not just the participants' bodies getting a big push, but also their emotions, as Dr. Robert Huizenga shared some hard-to-swallow facts. As the unhealthiest group to take part in the show over its 9-season history, he explained that the current hopefuls are more at risk for facing catastrophic health issues like heart attacks, stroke and cancer than any previous cast. Emotions were again at the surface as team purple's Patti admitted that she ignored warning signs of type 2 diabetes because she was in denial about how the disease would impact her life.

To make his point even clearer and force the hopefuls to face the denial, complacency and other factors that contributed to their obesity, Dr. Huizenga had a health-related revelation for each team. Though not a physical challenge, the experience was heavy, from trainer Jillian trying to choke down a meal equivalent to what team orange's Daris ate before the show; to Bob wearing over 300 pounds, representative of the excess fat carried by team white's Michael; to husband and wife Lance and Melissa seeing $3 million come and go, the literal price of obesity in the form of Lance quitting a lucrative job after he couldn't keep up physically.


Ann Arbor hopefuls, daughter Andrea and father Darrell Hough with gray team, cousins Sam and Koli, mull over what they learned from Dr. Huizenga.

Local participants Andrea and Darrell Hough's reality check (shown after the physical challenge) came in the form of 3-D renderings of their recently-administered MRIs. As Dr. Huizenga explained, the images showed 3 to 4 inches of excess fat in the team members' torsos.

To further emphasize the point, the doctor revealed to Andrea that her weight puts her at a greater risk for a heart attack than 98% of people her age. And though there are heavier men than Darrell this season, his health issues — from asthma, to sleep apnea, to metabolic syndrome, to family history of heart disease — make him one of the sickest. All these factors presented at once, Darrell tearfully realized that he created his own prison and doesn't want to take it anymore.

For the physical challenge, the competitors tested their balance, walking across a balance beam spanning the width of a full-size swimming pool while holding a beach ball. Once making it across, they dropped the balls into a tube, the first team to drop off 10 balls winning immunity. On the other end, the last-place team would be bogged down at the weigh-in with a 2-pound penalty. There was a bit of a learning curve to the challenge for local hopeful Darrell, who was spotted slipping off the beam early on. Conversely, Andrea had equilibrium (and her dad's enthusiastic support) on her side, hustling across and making up for lost time. Ultimately, a slip by Andrea cost team black the first-place position, but the pride she and her dad felt for coming in second was obvious. Team white, with mother Maria hampered by her fear of drowning, took last place.

At the weigh-in, Darrell and Andrea approached the scales with reservations, concerned that they didn't lose enough weight to qualify for another week and would face elimination. To their surprise, the team shed 15 pounds this week, bringing their overall total to 40 pounds and 2.25% lost. Meanwhile, team purple landed on the chopping block, and the hopefuls honored mother Patti's plea to keep daughter Stephanie in the running.

Chrysta Cherrie is the entertainment producer/copy editor for Reach her at or 734-623-2526, and follow her on Twitter @chrystacherrie.


Chrysta Cherrie

Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 1:40 p.m.

Glad you enjoyed it, MjC! In case you didn't know, you can watch the episodes online at your leisure: I also forgot to mention in this post that local competitor Andrea got a little screen time in the form of a conversation about gum with trainer Bob. It was a pretty obvious plug for the company who makes the gum, but nice to see our local gal outside of the competition side of things.


Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : 12:39 p.m.

Thank you for this article - I missed the show this week! I loved the video embedded in the story too.