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Video: ‘Biggest Loser’: Keeping weight off will be true test

  1. Closed captioning of: ‘Biggest Loser’: Keeping weight off will be true test

    >>> back now at 8:39 with last night's nail-biting finish on nbc's hit show "the biggest loser," battle of the ages . [ beeping ] [ cheers and applause ]

    >> oh, my god. john, congratulations, you've done it.

    >> look at those biceps. 41-year-old john rhode lost an amazing 220 pounds to take the title in the show's first-ever male-only finale. and he's joining us this morning fresh off his win. also off the plane. because you flew overnight from california to get here.

    >> i did, ann.

    >> thank you for doing that.

    >> my pleasure. thanks for having me.

    >> of course. what would you attribute to being the single-most important reason that you were successful in losing 220 pounds?

    >> i would have to say that it was my desire. i had a sincere desire to make this change. but i wanted it to be a true change. i want to keep the weight off. losing the weight wasn't so difficult. keeping the weight off, that will be the true test.

    >> okay. so have you already started thinking about how you're going to survive that test? i mean, obviously, it's a psychological battle as much as it is a physical one.

    >> it is very much a psychological, emotional battle. my plan right now is i'm focused on running the l.a. marathon. that's my focus right now. after that, then i'm going to have to find a new focus.

    >> i see. so what you're saying what works for you is to be very goal-oriented.

    >> yes.

    >> and that is good for our viewers to think about. once you can start to set goals, you require yourself to meet them. and that's actually a smart idea. so you're saying that you think there's going to be something you have to think about for the rest of your life, one goal after another?

    >> i think so. and in my mind, right now my next goal after the l.a. marathon is a goal of just maintaining my size. i'm wearing pants that are 34/32 and i'm comfortable in them, i like them. if the pants start to become snug, maybe i've got to rework some things. but right now, i don't want to be a slave to the scale anymore. i have comfortable clothes, i enjoy the clothes. if that becomes an issue, then i know i'm doing something i need to fix.

    >> all right. now what about this prize money you got? what did you get, $250,000? yes, $250,000.

    >> yeah, $250,000.

    >> important to your family.

    >> very important, yes. i'm a teacher. very important to my family.

    >> i know. so that's pretty exciting. and in the meantime, you also want to jump out of a plane. i've done that a couple times and it can be kind of fun. but why do you want to? this was part of your goal. you've always wanted to skydive.

    >> because i was always too heavy. and now i'm not. and also, it kind of freaks me out a little bit. it's a little bit scary, and why not push it, why not live life to its fullest? i've been given a new life.

    >> actually, you earned that new life.

    >> okay, i earned -- the door was open, and i walked through, okay, i ran through. but i'm excited. and i want to continue to live an exciting life. i want to just -- i want to live it up.

    >> congratulations. congratulations.

    >> thank you.

    >> and i know you are helping so many people who are listening also try to walk through that door. thank you so much, john rhode .

    >> thank you.

TODAY contributor
updated 12/14/2011 9:08:48 AM ET 2011-12-14T14:08:48

Just last week, special education teacher and football coach John Rhode warned his fellow "Biggest Loser" finalists that he wouldn't be "happy until (he was) pulling confetti out of (his) hair" at the finale. As it turned out, he had plenty to be happy about on Tuesday night.

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The 41-year-old player felt the confetti rain down after he bested former NFL player Antone Davis and tattoo artist Ramon Medeiros on the scales and claimed the $250, 000 grand prize.

John started the competition weighing in at 445 pounds, but after his time on the ranch and continued efforts at home, he dropped a total of 220 pounds and almost 50 percent of his body weight. That success came as no surprise to Bob Harper, who served as John's first trainer on the ranch and dubbed the contestant "the biggest competitor" in the Battle of the Ages game.

Slideshow: 'Biggest Loser 12' before and after (on this page)

Only he didn't exactly mean that in the best way.

Weeks ago, after John switched teams to train with Dolvett Quince, Bob warned that losing weight just to win wouldn't help in the long run.

"Mark my words, he will gain everything back — every bit of it,” Bob said.

That remains to be seen, but the veteran "Loser" trainer made no further predictions of weight-related gloom and doom on finale night. He, along with Dolvett and departing trainer Anna Kournikova, applauded John's results. And as for the winner himself, he thinks someone else deserves the cheers.

"I made the most of every moment on the ranch because I knew (my wife) was at home struggling like a single parent, and with our two boys — and our youngest is autistic," an emotional John revealed. "Baby, I didn't waste a single minute on the ranch. The sacrifices I made on the ranch will never compare to what you did for me, making it so I could be there. I will owe you a debt of gratitude forever, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart."

Video: ‘Biggest Loser’: Keeping weight off will be true test (on this page)

John's wife might have been the secret to his success, but of course, he wasn't the only player to succeed Tuesday night.

While John took the top honors, Antone made it to a respectable second-place finish by dropping 202 pounds, or 45.19 percent, and regaining his impressive, athletic shape.

"I can go play right now," he said of his gridiron-ready condition.

And as for Ramon, his third-place effort, 154-pound loss and new, smoking hot look (seriously, rowr!) were just part of his win.

In the midst of life on the ranch, complete with tough challenges and grueling workouts, Ramon met "the love of (his) life" in former fellow teammate Jessica Limpert. Given all of the hints he dropped during the season, it seemed a safe bet that he'd get down on one knee during the finale. And as host Alison Sweeney pointed out, " 'The Biggest Loser' has brought together more successful marriages than, you know, say, 'The Bachelor.' "


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But not this time, or more accurately, not yet. As Ramon's lucky lady explained, they plan to take it sensibly slow.

"Everything is wonderful with Ramon," she told Alison. "Not to disappoint, (but) there will not be an engagement or marriage just yet, OK? … You know, we just got ready to start our real lives, and we're going to start them together. You'll see it in the future."

But Jessica wasn't the only eliminated player to take the stage. Each of the other 11 contestants who missed out on a place in the finals returned for a shot at the $100,000 at-home prize.

Top contenders included Vinny Hickerson — or as Alison now calls him, Skinny Vinny — who went from a starting weight of 426 to just 242 in the end, and Patrick Ferrari, who managed to shed 151 pounds for a show-ending weight of 236. But it was week-six eliminee Jennifer Rumple who proved to be the biggest jaw dropper of the bunch.

Story: Anna Kournikova won't return to 'Biggest Loser'

The 39-year-old kicked off the contest at 330. Now, 145 pounds lighter, Jennifer earned the at-home bragging rights and the cash.

Jennifer's success and John's victory served as more than just evidence of their personal winning ways. Each of them represented the middle-aged group in "The Battle of the Ages" and helped dash the notion that weight loss comes easier to the young — a point not lost on the 20-somethings they beat out.

Another group of contestants will soon have a chance to prove their own points. "The Biggest Loser" returns to NBC for an all-new season on Jan. 3.

Are you surprised by who took the title and at-home prize? What did you think of the season overall? Share your thoughts on the Facebook page for our TV blog, The Clicker!

Ree Hines was rooting for Antone and Ramon in the finals, but like Bob, she wasn't surprised by John's win. At least in "The Biggest Loser," almost everyone is a winner where it counts — the battle for better health.

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Photos: 'Biggest Loser 12' before and after

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  1. John Rhode

    Starting weight: 445 lbs.
    Finale weight: 225 lbs.
    Lost: 220 lbs., 49.44% of body weight

    The season 12 champ of "Biggest Loser" and winner of the $250,000 prize is 41-year-old special education teacher and football coach John Rhode. (NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Antone Davis

    Starting weight: 447 lbs.
    Finale weight: 245 lbs.
    Lost: 202 lbs., 45.19% of body weight

    The 44-year-old former NFL player was the runner-up. (NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Ramon Medeiros

    Starting weight: 355 lbs.
    Finale weight: 201 lbs.
    Lost: 154 lbs., 43.38% of body weight

    The 27-year-old tattoo artist took third place. (NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Jennifer Rumple

    Starting weight: 330 lbs.
    Finale weight: 185 lbs.
    Lost: 145 lbs., 43.94% of body weight

    39-year-old Jennifer Rumple was the at-home winner and won the $100,000 prize. (NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Vinny Hickerson

    Starting weight: 426 lbs.
    Finale weight: 242 lbs.
    Lost: 184 lbs., 43.19% of body weight (NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Patrick Ferrari

    Starting weight: 387 lbs.
    Finale weight: 236 bs.
    Lost: 151 lbs., 39.02% of body weight (NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Sunny Sinclair

    Starting weight: 277 lbs.
    Finale weight: 171 lbs.
    Lost: 106 lbs., 38.27% of body weight (NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Joe Mitchell

    Starting weight: 348 lbs.
    Finale weight: 215 lbs.
    Lost: 133 lbs., 38.22% of body weight (NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Becky Comet

    Starting weight: 238 lbs.
    Finale weight: 150 lbs.
    Lost: 88 lbs., 36.97% of body weight (NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Courtney Rainville

    Starting weight: 270 lbs.
    Finale weight: 183 lbs.
    Lost: 87 lbs., 32.22% of body weight (NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Jessica Limpert

    Starting weight: 254 lbs.
    Finale weight: 174 lbs.
    Lost: 80 lbs., 31.50% of body weight (NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Bonnie Griffin

    Starting weight: 254 lbs.
    Finale weight: 177 lbs.
    Lost: 77 lbs., 24.80% of body weight (NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Johnny Forger

    Starting weight: 328 lbs.
    Finale weight: 231lbs.
    Lost: 97 lbs., 23.78% of body weight (NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Mike Danley

    Starting weight: 309 lbs.
    Finale weight: 223 lbs.
    Lost: 86 lbs., 21.36% of body weight (NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Debbie Lounds

    Starting weight: 239 lbs.
    Finale weight: 206 lbs.
    Lost: 33 lbs., 8.79% of body weight (NBC) Back to slideshow navigation
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Gallery: Cast of 'Biggest Loser' season 12

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