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Video: Michaels on her last 'Loser' season

Image: The Biggest Loser
Trae Patton  /  NBC
Weight loss is more than just hours of exercising each day. Let's see how "The Biggest Loser" contestants eat while they're at the ranch so we can get some more tips.
By
TODAY contributor
updated 12/14/2010 1:24:03 PM ET 2010-12-14T18:24:03
Opinion

Three weeks after “Loser’s” highly anticipated finale, the competition begins again Jan. 4 with a “Couples” installment.

Just don’t expect more of the same.

Although season 11 will mark the fourth time pairs have competed for the grand prize, it won’t be a repeat in terms of gameplay. The new season boasts a new twist that promises to “change the game completely.”

And change is good. Even the best made-for-TV competitions could use a few tweaks to keep things exciting, and “Loser” is no exception.

Though we now know what the changes are, here’s a rundown of a few that longtime fans would likely welcome.

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What’s on the menu?
Between weekly challenges, the daily grind in the gym and those infamous last chance workouts — courtesy of trainers Bob Harper and the soon-to-be departing Jillian Michaels — viewers have witnessed almost every impressive aspect of “The Biggest Loser’s” physical regimen. What they haven’t see much of is the other part of the weight-loss equation: food.

Story: Jillian Michaels is leaving 'The Biggest Loser'

Other than the rare spot revealing a dietary tip or one of the even rarer visits from celebrity chef Curtis Stone, the dos and don’ts of dining on the ranch mostly remain a mystery.

Sure, watching the “Losers” prepare the perfect stir-fry might not seem quite as exciting as seeing them cringe and cry through a particularly tough workout, but a regular quick focus on menu planning, calorie counting and other aspects of the healthy diet that earns contestants at least half of the results they see on the scale each week would be a plus.

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Not so weighty issues
Every player has a story, the account of the personal path that left them in desperate need of a lifestyle overhaul. But surely not every story is a sob story.

It seems heartbreaking tales of abuse, lifelong obstacles and shocking losses are commonplace among “Loser” hopefuls each season. Some come to the ranch with their emotional baggage already on display, while others reveal it only when Michaels draws it out in the gym. But eventually, everyone has a sad tale to tell.

Story: 'Biggest Loser':  Where are they now?

It’s not exactly a surprise to learn that major emotional events can trigger the start of bad habits that lead to obesity, but what about the people who struggle with their weight without all the past trauma? They deserve an equal share of the attention.

Work, family and humdrum stresses combined with a sedentary lifestyle or any more-calories-in-than-out scenario can lead to the same end without a triggering event. And while the stories behind the more mundane paths to obesity wouldn’t be as sensational, their inclusion would more than make up for it by being so relatable.

Let’s see the love
Of course, the contestants’ stories continue once they arrive on the ranch, at which point viewers get to witness the game-related portions that make it to the small screen and not much else. That’s a shame, considering all the steamy nongame action that goes on each season.

After all, “The Biggest Loser’s” reputation for matchmaking is almost as good as its reputation for weight loss.

Reality TV romance shows have never had the best track record when it comes to creating lasting love connections, but somehow over the last 10 seasons, “The Biggest Loser” has led to multiple marriages and ongoing romances. Heck, last season alone produced two couples who are still going strong — the newly engaged Sam Poueu and Stephanie Anderson, as well as at-home winner Koli Palu and his girlfriend, runner-up Ashley Johnston.

The Clicker: 'Losers' reveal biggest fitness tip

The season before that was just as romantically productive, but no one would know that by tuning in each week.

While romances are often revealed on finale night or in post-show interviews, they’re usually not part of the on-screen action throughout the season. They should be.

Change the status quo
A different sort of bond often steals the spotlight on “The Biggest Loser” — the one between in-game allies.

Season 10 saw one alliance run unchallenged since the beginning of the game, and while it’s hardly Frado Dinten, Brendan Donovan or Patrick House’s fault that no one ever bothered to form a competing alliance, it made for a few predictable eliminations along the way.

So, in order to prevent too much power from going to a single alliance and to keep viewers guessing about each episode’s outcome, a shake-up could come in handy. Or maybe even a perpetual shake-up.

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Story: 'Biggest Loser':  Where are they now?

When the contestants play the game as singles or duos, alliances grow stronger, as that arrangement allows alliance members to band together however they’d like. But keeping the groups split into ever-evolving teams would force members to change alliances or even turn on their old allies from time to time.

Just imagine if Frado, rather than that pesky red line, had been responsible for booting Brendan earlier in season 10. That’s a twist anyone could love.

'Biggest Loser' host shares pre-finale insights

Whatever changes are in store for “The Biggest Loser’s” 11th season or beyond, one thing that should never change is the show’s primary focus. The best part of “Loser” continues to be the fact that the participants really want to change their lives while they compete for a far less important cash prize.

Ree Hines is still trying to spot this season’s obligatory love connection. Follow @ReeHines on Twitter and tell her your best guess.

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Discuss: What do you think would make 'Biggest Loser' even more interesting?

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