Many of you by now have realised that I had some involvement in this year’s Season 9 of Australia’s The Biggest Loser – Challenge Australia Series.
So many people have kindly pointed out that they have seen me running across the screen in the promo ads, right behind trainer Shannan Ponton, some with excitement and others with a nasty ridiculing tone.
Seeing myself on screen, after experiencing one of the most amazing and life-changing 4-5hrs of my life, was both satisfying but eye-opening as well.
They say the cameras add 10kgs, but watching me run on screen, really, and I mean really, made me realise how big I had actually become.
While all of you sitting at home saw just 3-5 seconds of me dashing across the screen, that ad for television actually took 4-5hrs to film, take after take after take.
That’s 4-5hrs of jogging up and down, up and down and up and down. Seems like a walk in the park for a fit person, but for myself, who had not jogged a step since primary school, it was a massive achievement that I could even keep up with everyone else, that I could actually do this, something that I have spent the last 20years telling myself was impossible.
I’ve often heard that most of a weight-loss challenge is about adjusting your mindset, and for years so many different people have tried to change my thinking around how to lose weight, why I should lose weight and so on. Every one of them failed. I would always just walk away feeling like they just didn’t ‘get it’.
In between takes while we were filming, there was more than enough time to chat with Shannan. Others in the group I was in were keen to ask him all kinds of funny nonsense as well as share their personal stories, but it seemed the quieter I stayed, the more interested Shannan was in hearing about my story.
Shannan looked me in the eye, and said,
“What’s your excuse?”
In typical Jacqui fashion, I resorted to humor to disguise my true emotions and joked back “how long have you got???”. HA. HA. HA. He then went on to describe my day to day life, the relationship that I have with my husband, my family, my friends and the battles I endure with self esteem and self worth.
Dumfounded and astounded with his knowledge of my entire existence, I insisted he tell me how he knew so much personal information about me when we had only just met…. It was creepy to say the least.
He said “I don’t know you Jac, but I can read you like a book, and I just know. Now, what’s your excuse?”
Close to tears, I looked him in the eyes and said, “It’s my kids, I have 6 kids and there’s no time left for me”.
At that I could see the pain in his face as he winced and nodded like he could also feel my pain at stating the truth. He then grabbed my arms, asked me to look him in the eye and said “You love your kids more than anything in the world, and I just know you’re one of ‘those’ dedicated amazing mums, but you need to make a promise right here, right now”….
As I glanced up towards his face, he said “Promise me that you will never ever again use your children, your greatest creations, as an EXCUSE”.
It suddenly all made so much more sense to me. While all these years I had dedicated my whole existence to making an amazing life for my family, I had neglected the most important part. Myself.
Well played Shannan, well played.
I guess what I am trying to say here, is that so often, life just takes over and we each do what we do to get by every day. I didn’t intentionally put on all of this weight, and neither did any other obese person I know.
I have let people beat me down about my weight for the last 33 years. I’ve been ridiculed, excluded, missed employment opportunities and have been accused of being lazy for most of my adult life on top of the torture I endured through my schooling years. Not anymore. Shannan Ponton got inside my head, and although I might not drop weight and increase my fitness overnight, I will be working away at it day by day from now on.
Now for the haters…..
I have read and heard so much hatred for The Biggest Loser show and honestly, a heap of it comes from locals in our town.
Some don’t like the way Ararat has been portrayed in the media as the most obese town, especially those that don’t carry any added weight.
The thing is, these figures are statistics, taken from numbers obtained from all over the place. National averages and so on. I met the stats man in the chemist here one day when it had all been firstly announced to the residents of Ararat. He said he had already been living in town for 3 months collating figures, before any of us had a clue as to what was going on.
Obviously the WHOLE ENTIRE TOWN is not obese, however enough of us are to alter the stats. To the local haters, I say “get over it and support those trying to make a difference”, because if you’ve never been obese, you really have no idea at all of the emotional and physical barriers that are there that make losing weight such a painful battle.
The Biggest Loser is a TV show, it is designed for television, and they will promote it in a fashion that will attract viewers. That is a given.
But after spending those hours with Shannan Ponton and having him honestly express his shock at being spat at, abused and cornered by haters in the main street of Ararat, you have to start asking yourself who has the better intentions here.
Perhaps the local haters would prefer to be known for their not so charming attributes like spitting in the face of others, rather than having some obese people around them??? Those people are the embarrassment to the town of Ararat, not the overweight people in it.
Shannan said to me that he would never ridicule an overweight person, his intentions are honest and if he can come to Ararat and just save one life, then his job is complete, that being spat all over would no longer matter.
Mission complete Shannan, from what I can see, you’ve saved a whole lot more than one life and I am grateful you guys stuck it out.
The ripple effect that all 3 of The Biggest Loser trainers talk about is working here at Chaos HQ and I now have a 6 man mini support crew, egging me on towards my personal goals!!!
As a pebble person, we have been warned by previous Biggest Loser contestants to avoid all social media that has anything to do with the program….
Curious Jac just had to take a squizz, because afterall, so much of my work life is spent on social media promoting my blog….
It only took around 3 seconds to realise why we were given this advice. The trolls and keyboard warriors are out in full force, making derogatory and insulting comments about all involved. The kind of comments that stop people achieving success in the first place. It’s bullying at its finest.
I have to say, I have never in my life seen such stupidity all in one comment thread! My favourite was the not-so-intelligent human being that asked if contestants were evicted from the town if they were voted out. Um. NO. Hopefully, for every kilo we lose here in Ararat, a brain cell is formed elsewhere! DUH!!!
I also cannot understand why people follow and LIKE The Biggest Loser Australia FB page, yet do nothing but express pure hatred for it in every comment thread. Why would anyone waste their time and energy to just spread hatred is beyond me.
It’s so easy to torment when you’re not face to face with someone. Whether you love the show, or despise the show, those people on it are real people, with real thoughts and feelings and families and friends.
They’re on the show because they’re at a loss and they don’t know where to turn to next. It’s a cry for help, and they’re willing to do what it takes to make it happen. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and they grabbed it.
If you’re a Biggest Loser hater, I urge you to change the channel, switch off and unlike everything and anything to do with it all. Unless you have something intelligent to say, then you should say nothing at all.
This evening, Sunday 19th January 2014, at 6.30pm, I will be tuning in to the first episode of the season and I am super excited to see how it has all come together.