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'Biggest Loser' trainers 'struggle to make sense' of temptation challenges

Nov. 5, 2013 at 11:50 AM ET

Image: David Brown
Trae Patton / NBC
Will Tuesday night's temptation treats turn out to be tricks once David Brown and his fellow contestants hit the scales? That's what trainers fear.

Contestants on "The Biggest Loser" might have a hard time resisting the series of delectable treats they'll face during the upcoming temptation challenge, but the show’s trainers say these kind of in-game tests of willpower are even harder for them to digest.

"I struggle to make sense of those,” red team trainer Dolvett Quince told TODAY. "I understand that contestants will face temptation in real life after the show, but they work against everything we are trying to teach these people."

Bob Harper has served as a trainer on every season of the show and has seen his share of contestants overeat in hopes of making it further in the game. He, too, struggles to see the purpose of it all.

"I’ve really tried to make peace with a lot of the temptation challenges on the show," Harper told us. "What I do in my brain to rationalize it is say, ‘Well, you know what? When they go home, they’re going to be driving by a fast food place all the time and food will be tempting them all the time.’ But it’s those temptations of 'You’ve got to eat this much s--- to gain power in the house.' That I can’t rationalize. That’s not real life. No one’s ever going to come up to you and say, 'Eat this whole cake and you get to see videos from home.'

"I don’t like those because there’s no way that I can wrap my brain around them," Harper said.

The amount of calories a contestant can consume during one of these challenges is jaw-dropping. Just last season, one contestant ate over 1,100 calories worth of chocolates and treats in order to gain a two-pound advantage at the weigh in, which she hoped would help keep her in the game. (It did not.)

While it may seem cruel to seemingly try to sabotage the contestants’ weight loss journeys, Cheryl Forberg, the show’s dietician, believes the temptation challenges represent what the contestants will face once they leave the "Loser" ranch.

"It’s realistic because everybody has temptations every day that we have to deal with,” Forberg, who has been with the show since the first season, told TODAY. "I think it’s symbolic of what we go through on the outside every day. We are constantly bombarded — someone brought a bag of donuts to work, or a birthday cake — it’s something that occurs all the time in everyday life."

Having watched previous seasons, the current contestants are hoping they’ll be able to resist eating what were once their favorite indulges.

"I don’t think I would give into the temptation challenges," contestant Chelsea Arthurs said, adding that she’s really hoping she doesn't see any chocolate or cakes.

"Temptation is something we’ve all fallen prey to our whole lives (before) coming here," fellow player Bobby Saleem explained. “We’ve all made bad choices because we’ve been tempted by certain foods, and I think (the challenges are) a good opportunity for us to test ourselves."

Still, he is nervous about actually facing all those forbidden treats.

"Am I scared? Yes. There’s 28 years (where I’ve) made the wrong decisions and been tempted by a sugary carb or a cheesy pizza," he said. "But at this point, I’m ready to make a change and I’ve come here to make that change, so I’m definitely sure that I will make the right decision once that temptation comes along."

See how all "The Biggest Loser" contestants fare when they face temptation Tuesday at 8 p.m. on NBC.

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