Being on the “Biggest Loser” transformed Jessica Limpert's and Ramon Medeiros’ bodies and lives. The two lost weight and kept it off while they worked as celebrity trainers at the “Biggest Loser” resorts for a few years. But as time passed the now-married couple gradually regained the weight as they tried coping with complicated emotions they still had about their bodies.
“We did all this in the public eye so there’s always going to be scrutiny and I think we just weren’t prepared for that in the aspect that it came on,” Limpert, 36, a lead district clinical specialist for a laser esthetic company, who lives outside Pittsburgh, told TODAY. “It’s not even that we received a lot of bad feedback as we continued on with our lives and gained weight here and there. It was more of we didn’t learn to develop that thick skin and feel confident inside.”
It felt difficult at times when they’d see their promotional cutouts and they looked different than the display. On one hand, they understood that a picture would never look just like their real bodies, but on the other it caused some uncomfortable feelings.
“It messes with your head a little bit,” Limpert said. “If we would have worked on our minds more as we journeyed ourselves away from the show and into real life, we probably would have been successful longer after.”
Medeiros agrees that unrealistic self-image hurt them as they returned to normal life.
“We had a bad body image of ourselves. And we didn’t think it was as bad as it was … when we were massively overweight,” the 37-year-old tattoo artist told TODAY. “We didn’t really know how to accept our bodies and we didn’t really know how to gauge what we were feeling and seeing. So in our eyes, we didn’t look the way we wanted to look or things didn’t happen what we thought was going to happen.”
Limpert admits they faced a lot less criticism than other contestants on their show, which she attributes to their “positivity.” During the show, Limpert lost 80 pounds and Medeiros lost 154 in five months. After maintaining their loss for about three years, they gained some weight.
“I was in denial for a really long time,” Limpert said. “You could totally look good in a selfie by angling it differently and I tricked my mind. Like I didn’t see myself the way I was in reality.”
Medeiros had started using a CPAP machine because he developed sleep apnea. Limpert had trained as a nurse and knew that this meant that his weight was impacting his health. Then Limpert had a rough night and felt like she, too, needed to consider her health.
“I possibly stopped breathing in the middle of the night and I woke up gasping and feeling like I couldn’t breathe,” she said. “That was my real wake up call.”
The two had been considering weight loss surgery but felt unsure. Like others, they thought surgery was the “easy way out” and they had also gone through the tough process of losing weight with only eating and exercising.
“Once I educated myself and I realized that it doesn’t matter how much knowledge I have. It doesn’t matter how much motivation I can gather every day. I need more,” Limpert said. “I needed a tool that can help.”
Before having surgery, Limpert weighed 358 pounds and Medeiros weighed 385 pounds.
“We didn’t immediately gain weight after the show. We kept it off for two, three years,” Medeiros said. “When we do things we do things big — that’s why we were on the ‘Biggest Loser.’ So we gained 100 pounds and we did lose 80 to 100 pounds again. Once we started gaining, then it came back even harder and we’re trying to figure out how to stop that rollercoaster.”
Since undergoing vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) surgery in January 2021, Limpert has lost 156 pounds and now weighs 202 pounds, and Medeiros shed 130 and now weighs 255 pounds. They feel like they never quite understood how to approach food in the past but undergoing weight loss surgery taught them different approaches to eating.
“We have learned that we need to put specific things in our body to keep the weight off,” Medeiros explained. “(We eat) protein-central meals, with a little bit of carbs and we have vegetables … The magic of VSG, is when we have a little treat, we don’t want to go back for more because we’re satiated.”
“What we’ve learned with VSG is you don’t have to work out eight hours a day,” she said. “You really have to have the mindset number one to really make sure we’re fueling our bodies with the correct food and nutrition so that we can maintain a very maintainable lifestyle. That’s where 30 minutes, 45 minutes of working out comes in five, six days a week.”
Limpert noticed she now wants to eat less and finds herself eating a smaller serving of dessert or only a few slices of pizza. And they both now have a different relationship with food.
“I could still have all the things I love and we celebrate with food and it’s not my focus,” she said. “Now I get to socialize with people. Now I get to create new relationships with people because I’m not so focused on ‘Let’s do dinner. Let’s do social events around food.' It’s more about let’s have a good time together.”
Having each other helps them succeed.
“We remind each other like, ‘Hey did you take your medicine, your vitamins? Have you eaten your protein,” Limpert said. “when I’m having a bad mental day or he’s having a bad mental day, we check on each other.”
For the first time in a long time, the couple have set a different goal for 2022.
“There’s not an ending weight goal this year. There’s not that ‘Hey I need to weigh this much this year to be happy,’” Medeiro said. “That’s a cool feeling to have.”