Well, that was a surprise. In a season so packed with young people (almost 3/4 of the cast were in their 30s or younger), two of the oldest contestants managed to walk away with the top titles on The Biggest Loser. Maybe Tara and Mike got a little too cocky, or maybe we all just underestimated Helen’s determination and drive, but when the 48-year-old walked out on stage last night, it was clear she’d win. Sure, Tara and Mike looked, happy, fit, and most importantly, healthy, but Helen’s teensy waist and droopy extra skin made her look almost gaunt — a surefire sign she’d dropped a higher percentage of weight than the two youngsters.
The mom from Michigan lost 54.47 percent of her body weight and showed up at the finale 140 pounds lighter than her starting weight of 257. That’s like losing a finale-weight Tara AND an extra pound on top of that! Mike, who earned the third spot in the finals when America voted him through (as per his dad, Ron’s, wishes), dropped 53.35 percent of his weight to 181 pounds — a 207 loss. Twelve-time challenge winner Tara came in third with 52.72 percent, or 155 pounds, lost.
It’s not that I wasn’t rooting for Helen to win, but I was rooting for Mike or Tara to win more. On a show like The Biggest Loser, you can’t really root against anyone. I truly wanted all the contestants to succeed (even the despicable, conniving ones like Ron, or the apathetic, indifferent ones like David, or the annoying, lazy ones like Joelle). That sounds so trite — blah blah blah, love everyone, they’re all winners! — but it’s totally true. The Biggest Loser has such a cross-section of contestants — all kinds of people of all ages from all across the country — so at least one will be relatable to every viewer. And though at some point in every season the show does turn into a competition to win a quarter of a million dollars, it always starts out the same at the core — a bunch of overweight people who are fed up with being unhealthy, feel overwhelmed or hopeless about losing weight on their own, and who truly want to improve themselves. How can you fault anyone who wants to change his/her life?
I was rooting for Kristin, who showed up at the finale rocking a platinum blonde Kate Gosselin ‘do and a 193-pound body (down 167 total). I was rooting for my girl Nicole (obviously), who met her goal of wearing a size 8 wedding dress by the finale with a 123-pound loss (from 269). I was even rooting for Ron, who played the game masterfully and clearly saved a lot of his stamina for the at-home portion of the game. Maybe he’s not the kind of person I’d ever want to be friends with, but he clearly cared about his son and he obviously wanted to get healthy. His 192-pound, 44.65 percent loss wasn’t just luck.
NEXT PAGE: Some contestants fall back into old habits