IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

‘Biggest Loser’: Contestants face own mortality

Week two on "The Biggest Loser" is always one of the hardest. In addition to the reality of daily training, homesickness and greater challenges to make big losses on the scale, this season week two also served as a not-too-gentle reminder to the contestants that there is more at stake than their waist sizes or $250,000 in prize money.
/ Source: TODAY contributor

Week two on “The Biggest Loser” is always one of the hardest. The reality of daily training sets in, contestants start missing home and big losses on the scale are harder to achieve. “Week two is not for the weak-minded, not for the weak at heart,” trainer Bob Harper said.

Aside from the physical discomfort, this season week two also served as a not-too-gentle reminder to the contestants that there is more at stake than their waist size or $250,000 in prize money. “This show is about doing things in your power to prevent early death,” Dr. Rob Huizenga told the contestants, adding that he’d never seen an unhealthier group before. The Pink team’s Ashley, 27, was shocked to learn from Dr. H. that she had joined the many others on the show who are diabetic. Other contestants were told that their poor habits had put them at risk of heart disease and stroke.

After each group received a medical wake-up call, the challenge asked teams to transport 10 beach balls across a balance beam placed over a pool. The first team to get all their balls to the finish line on the opposite side of the pool would receive immunity; the losing duo would get a 2-pound penalty at the weigh-in.

While most of the players did well at the game, Maria — representing the White team — was paralyzed by her fear of water. She faltered in her attempts to even get on the balance beam, leaving her son Michael — the heaviest player in the show’s history — to carry the team himself. As the others began completing the challenge (the Red team’s Melissa and Lance finished first and won immunity), Maria tried one last time, but panicked before reaching the water. She fell, hit her nose and fractured her fingers on the pool’s edge. Michael insisted on going to the hospital with his mother, thereby forfeiting the challenge and earning the White team the 2-pound penalty.

At the weigh-in, the players seemed to break the week-two curse by posting respectable numbers, with the exception of the Red team’s Melissa, who showed a gain of 1 pound. Melissa had already admitted to the camera that losing weight this week was not a priority for her. Knowing that she and husband Lance had immunity for winning the balance beam challenge, she had strategically eased up on her weight loss, hoping to achieve an even bigger loss in week three. Only time will tell if she made the right choice.

Though the odds were stacked against the White team going into the final weigh-in, Maria posted a 10-pound loss and her son Michael lost 11 pounds. Even with their 2-pound penalty, their weight loss was enough to push the Purple team — mother and daughter Patti and Stephanie — below the yellow line. In the end, the other players honored Patti’s plea to keep her daughter Stephanie in the game, and Patti was sent home.

Discuss: Was Melissa smart to limit her weight loss this week?