Pete Thomas was the at-home winner of "The Biggest Loser" 2
As Season 4 of NBC's "The Biggest Loser" is coming to a close next week, I have been promising you an interview with a very special past contestant from that popular reality television show. After months of taunting and teasing you with it, the day has finally arrived! And I think you'll agree with me after reading this today, it was WELL WORTH THE WAIT!!!
You'll recall from Season 2 one of the most humble contestants was a very tall man named Pete Thomas. Pete really stuck out that season because of the way he carried himself on camera seemed to be who he was genuinely off camera. I can honestly say what you saw on television is the same man he is in real life. And that's so refreshing to know!
Pete Thomas was recognized TWICE on this season of "The Biggest Loser" when he appeared in the special reunion episode that asked if they kept the weight off--AND HE HAS! Today you will find out what he does to KEEP the weight off. The second appearance was a couple of weeks ago when they highlighted the most amazing transformations in "Biggest Loser" history and Pete was #3 with his nearly 200-pound weight loss and the at-home $100,000 winner in Season 2 (when Matt Hoover won the GRAND PRIZE).
Sharing quite openly about his experience on the show, how he got there, what his purpose for becoming a contestant was, what it was like working with Jillian Michaels, and how his life forever changed for the better because of this experience, you get to see the real Pete Thomas here today, in the flesh, and straight from his heart. It is truly a pleasure to have him share the wisdom he has learned over these past few years with us today. ENJOY!
1. What a thrill it is to have with us today here at the “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb” blog someone I feel like I've personally known for years although we’ve never actually met in person. His name is Pete Thomas and he was the $100,000 winner from Season 2 of the hit NBC television reality series “The Biggest Loser” as the person who lost the most weight after being voted off the show. My regular readers know how much I absolutely LOVE that show because it proves that literally anyone and everyone has the power within them to shed the pounds and get healthy.
Welcome Pete and CONGRATULATIONS on your incredible weight loss accomplishments losing 185 pounds off of your 6’5” tall body in nine months that year. Your story sounds so eerily similar to my own 180-pound weight loss in 2004 when I started out on my 6’3” tall body at 410 pounds. What are you specifically doing to control your weight today and do you find it easier or more difficult to maintain than it was to lose the weight?
The main thing that I am doing to control my weight is to monitor it diligently. I weigh-in approximately once a week and sometimes daily if I am going through a particularly stressful time in my life. Stress releases hormones that inhibit fat loss and can lead to weight gain so sometimes stress shows up on the scale before I receive other signals. I also mentally monitor the foods that I eat on a weekly basis and try to exercise 4-7 hours per week.
I have found that losing weight is a completely separate process from weight maintenance. During my weight loss process I was so focused on counting calories and working out that I hardly ever let anything else get in the way. Once you have achieved your weight loss goal it is really a different battle. Now I've had to re-adjust my calories upward and re-adjust my workouts downward for weight maintenance purposes. So that means that on a daily basis I may have to look at my particular situation and really manage my food accordingly.
For instance, if I'm going to go out for dinner I've got to remember or estimate how many calories I've eaten throughout the day. The problem is that people who estimate usually underestimate by 25 to 50%. This was not really the case during the weight loss phase of my journey when I was extremely accurate with my calories since I used a log. I go back to a log when my weight fluctuates by a couple of percentage points.
Also during the weight loss phase I tried to plan and set my meals each and every day and there wasn't much variance. But the freedom in weight maintenance also can lead to a bunch of different problems and so that's why it's been so much different.
This also applies to working out as well. You really have to work out hard with high intensity and for a lengthy period of time in order to burn weight off quickly. But during weight maintenance, you simply have to do enough exercise to maintain your current weight and offset any caloric fluctuations (otherwise known as cake and ice cream).
So I have had to almost start all over and research what types of exercise will now work for me. When it comes to weight maintenance I have used push-pull routines, cardio only routines, etc. until I finally had to settle into a routine that worked for me. And then the principle of progression means that I have to keep adjusting the workouts every few weeks to challenge my body. It takes work but I am committed to accomplishing my goal of maintaining my weight loss permanently.
My workout routine is basically this...
M T Th F--Jog or some form of cardio (bike, elliptical, stair master etc.) in my aerobic heart range for 45-60 minutes. I prefer to fall out of bed into my running shoes first thing in the morning and hit the street for a jog.
Wed and Sat--Weight train for 30-45 minutes (I use a quick full body HIT routine developed by Arthur Jones of Nautilus fame)
Total--4-7 hours of exercise per week
My menu basically consists of a calorie controlled lower-carb diet. By lower-carb I mean that I prefer what has come to be called "Slow Carbs" or foods that are typically lower on the Glycemic Load Index. For example, breakfasts are usually 2-4 servings of egg beaters with 4-8 slices of Turkey bacon. Lunch usually is a big salad with lean ham and a low-carb low-cal dressing like my favorite Galeos Miso Dijonaisse and some fruit like blueberries or cranberries. Dinner could easily be a salad, a couple cans of (or a bag of frozen) veggies, up to a pound of 96% lean ground beef or skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts or fish. Yes, up to a whole pound of meat. I am a big guy and need to eat!
2. I hear ya on the "big guy" part...ME TOO! :) Let’s go back to the application process that began in January 2005. It turns out your wife Pam was already a big fan of “The Biggest Loser” along with millions of viewers and was the one who urged you to submit your application for the show. Did you ever in a million years believe they would choose you to be on the program? Tell us what the audition process was like for a show like this. What were some of the more memorable parts of the screening process you had to go through to be chosen as one of the contestants?
I can honestly say that I never ever thought in a million years that I would be chosen for a reality television show. As a matter of fact, I can remember halfway watching Season One of the show. I would be sitting at my desk doing work while "The Biggest Loser" was on in the background behind me. My wife would be watching the show and she would be talking about it saying that we should try out for that show, but I would just keep working. I thought to myself "who are these people, how do people actually make it onto reality TV show anyway?" Then thoughts like "Those people can't be real" popped into my head and little did I know that one day I would be one of those "real" people.
My wife encouraged us to apply for "The Biggest Loser" way back in 2004 during Season 1 of the show. I can remember thinking "we can’t get on a reality TV show." But my wife kept pushing us and pushing until I relented. I borrowed a friend’s camcorder, made up a script and proceeded to tape Pam and myself. I am glad the audition tape did not make it on air because it was bad in an embarrassing sort of way!
Ironically enough, I knew that if someone actually looked at the audition tape that they would like what they saw. When I shipped off the tape I even had it timed as to about how long it would take for the box to be delivered via Fed-Ex to the casting office, how long it would take for someone to open the box etc. Based on my divinely inspired "timeline," I anticipated a call from someone on a Friday or a Monday and sure enough on Friday evening Pamela and I were teaching a class to Minority Graduate Engineering students at Wayne State University and around 8:30pm I received a call on my cell phone from an unknown area code and number. I knew who it was and sure enough it was NBC calling to start the audition process.
From there we were asked to come down to Indianapolis, Indiana to a private screening and on the way down to that private screening I knew that Pam and I had to show them who we really were as people but not go overboard or anything. We took tons of pictures with us but we wanted to show them we were outgoing naturally but I did not know exactly what to do. Well God blessed me with a great idea the morning of the screening. Pam and I came up with the Top ten reasons--sort of David Letterman-styled--why Pete and Pam should be on "The Biggest Loser." No one outside of the casting people at "The Biggest Loser" has ever seen all twenty reasons–-until now! I'll include them here for your readers-–untouched and unedited!
“Top Ten Reasons Pete and Pam Should Be On The Biggest Loser”
I could give you 100 reasons why we are the ones for you to pick to be on "The Biggest Loser" but I am going to give you Pamela Thomas’ top ten reasons why I deserve to be on the biggest looser.
Number ten, I want to look good naked!! I hate dressing in the dark, showering in the dark and running pass all the mirrors in my house when I get out the shower. The other day while I was dressing in the dark, I walked out the house with the back of my skirt stuck in my underwear.
The number nine reason why I deserve to be on "The Biggest Loser" is I hate being judged because of my size. When I go to Family Reunions or picnics, people assume because I am big that I eat a lot. They fix my plates as such. Plate 1 with a side of beef on it, plate 2, with enough carbs to make Dr. Atkins turn over in his grave and plate 3 with enough pies and cakes that I could go into a sugar coma. Oh yeah plate 3 is the plate I usually take and eat!!!
The number 8 reason why I deserve to be on "The Biggest Loser" is the skinny Pam has been hiding for the past 32 years. Yes out of 37 years, I have been skinny only 5 years!!! One of those years was from birth to about 12 months, the other times was when my mom put me on a diet at the age of 4 years old and watched every thing I put in my mouth. She didn’t even allow me to go my friend’s house alone. Can you imagine having play time with your friend with your mom on the floor playing Barbie with you?
Number 7. I want all American to know me and to see me. When I go out to eat, I want all American to see me. When I go to the mall, I want all of America to see me, when I go work out; I want all of America to see me. When I go to work, I want all of America to see and know me. Why you ask? Because if they see me get the urge to eat a Twinkie, I want someone in America to slap it out of my mouth and out of my hand!!! I need and want to be watched when I get skinny...because I NEED to stay skinny!!!
What number are we on...oh yeah number 6. I deserve to be on "The Biggest Loser" to stop my body parts from rubbing together. My arms rub together, my thighs rub together, my breasts to my belly rub together, my upper belly rubs against my lower belly (yes I have two bellies). All this rubbing, I just sure one day I am just going to catch on fire!!
Number 5...it’s been along time since I was able to touch my toes...and breathe. There is a lot going on between my waist and my toes!!! Remember reason #6 and the two bellies...I think you have a visual and I don’t need to go any further.
I deserve to be on "The Biggest Loser" because I want to do good in the neighborhood. I want to be a role model in the area of health. Growing up in church, many times the members of the congregation would say...Pray that the Lord heals me of diabetes and then I see the same person in the grocery store with 6 cakes, a bag of chips and NO VEGETABLES!! Or the Mother in the church that weighs 600 lbs says...Pray for me, I having problems walking and getting around. What do I pray...Lord give Mother a wheelchair?!?
The number 3 reason I deserve to be on "The Biggest Loser" is for MY BEST FRIEND!!! This is my husband, my business partner, the apple of my eye, I am the wind underneath his wings. Without me, there is no him!! We need each other. We cannot continue to carry all this weight and expect to have a long life!!
The number 2 reason, why I deserve to be on "The Biggest Loser." Everybody LOVES US--all our friend love us, our family love us, our co-workers loves us and America will love us and when America loves us. Your ratings will soar again for Season 2. We are competitive HAMS and we will blow the competition out the water. We will put a can of Whoop BUTT on all of ‘em. People will hate themselves because they LOVE us so much.
Get ready for the number 1 reason why we deserve to be on "The Biggest Loser!" It’s two in one. Part 1. First my 20th year class reunion is this year and I want the boy that said to me when I had on my "We are the World" sweatshirt that I was as "Big as the World" to suffer. I want all my class of 1985 to see how good it is to be me!!! I want them to see how hot I am!!! Part 2. The MONEY!!! I will need to go shopping for my skinny clothes!!!
"Why I deserve to be on 'The Biggest Loser'" by Pete Thomas
If you looking for someone much bigger than me they’re either bedridden or dead so who else are you going to choose? I am 6-5 430-440. We don’t come along every day. Better scoop me up while I am alive!
If you don’t put me on TBL I am going organize a revolt where fat people take over the world and fire all the skinny people and wear skin tight clothes everywhere!! It is going to be a fat-girl revolution!
I want to get rid of my fat nodules! Have you seen the things that just pop out on fat people’s bodies!! Look here, what is this? A fat nodule! And I have them between my thighs and other weird places.
I would be great in a fat loss PSA--This is your brain--This is your brain on pork. (while shaking my bare belly at them)
My class reunion is coming and the only way I am going is if I look something like I looked in High School. Most of my classmates have not seen me since high school so I don’t want to shock anyone by blocking out sunlight when I enter the room. And I want to surprise my best friends with the new me!
I want to get rid of my fat rules--Cover the belly, Disguise and Distract, Wear dark clothes and crack a joke. Nobody notices that you’re like 950 pounds while they’re laughing.
You have already selected some contestants that are just horrible!!! They are giving you 10 seconds of good footage for every 10 hours of taping. They suck and I am here to replace them.
Have you seen those pictures?!?! My God that has got to be against the law!! That’s sight pollution or something!!!
Fat sex is hard work. We have to work hard to get things where they go. I am a big guy but I am still dealing with a deficit here to get to the pot of gold if you know what I mean.
MEN SHOULD NOT HAVE MAMMARIES!!!!!
(I of course had to raise my shirt for a timely visual on that last one!)
Of course the casting people that were there doing the actual interview simply loved it and we believe that that helped us get on the show. However we were applying to go on as a team and we were told that they didn't have any more room for us to go on as a team. However they said that there may be an opportunity for a single person to go on the show if I was willing to come.
My wife and I talked it over and she said that if there was an opportunity for one of us to go that I should definitely go, get the information and I'll bring it back home and it would be able to help us our family and our community with the information. Well sure enough I got the final call that they wanted me to come fly out to California to try out for the show. I received that call about coming out to the show on February 28, 2005. I was told that the plane was leaving the next day, March 1st at 4pm so I had a little less than 24 hours to get my affairs in order.
While a contestant on the show you are given $50.00 or so a day so it is definitely not enough to take care of a family while you are away. So we thank God that we had become Real Estate Investors and that allowed me the finances to take this time to be able to really focus on health. The entire previous couple years was really a blessing from God leading up to this opportunity. The next day March 1st, 2005 at 4pm I boarded a plane headed out to California to try out for the show "The Biggest Loser." Interestingly enough it was the last time I would ever need a lap belt extender!
There were many memorable moments of the screening process. One thing I remember is that we were running late to actually get the audition tape into NBC so I got the idea to actually let them know my tape was coming. So I Fed-Ex an empty box. Well it was not completely empty. It was full of one inch streamers with the words "The Thomas' Are Coming, The Thomas' Are Coming" printed on them (That took forever to print out and cut up!) We also wrote "The Thomas' Are Coming" all on the outside of the Fed-Ex box as well. I figured that someone would open the box and the streamers would fall out all over their desk and it would make a mess and that would be memorable--maybe in an irritating kind of way but absolutely memorable.
Then, when it came time to actually send in the audition tape I sent the tape in a box filled with more streamers that said "The Thomas' Are Here, The Thomas' Are Here!" When we got that call from Casting that Friday night they actually told us, "Hey Pete we got your tape. We hated those streamers, but we love the tape." Obviously something about the way that I sent the tape made a difference in that it allowed us to be seen. That was a God-given idea!
3. Like most of us who have been or are still morbidly obese, you got that way because of some obviously poor choices in your diet and physical activity that slowly crept their way into your lifestyle and started packing on the pounds. In fact, food had always given you an emotional outlet of sorts because of the bad habits you learned in the turbulent years of your youth.
Some would say people like you are predisposed to either be fat and that nothing you can ever do will change that. Perhaps you believed this was true prior to your experience on “The Biggest Loser,” but what do you think about that theory now? Is there such a thing as inevitability when it comes to being overweight or obese? How do feel about reports that some past contestants are regaining their weight?
Ironically, I never believed that I was predisposed to being overweight for my entire life. I actually thought that there would be hope for me. I had lost weight multiple times and always gained it back. I had tried Body for Life, The Weigh Down Workshop, Nutrisystem and I had even done Atkins before and had always lost weight but was never able to maintain the weight loss. But I always kept the faith that something would come along that would allow me to lose the weight and lose it permanently!
I would often even tell my wife "Hey Honey this week we're going to try this new thing" or the next month we were going to try this new thing or the other. I was always on the lookout for something new that would change my life for the better and forever. Little did I know that it would be on "The Biggest Loser" with a trainer by the name of Jillian Michaels.
I have some sad news. For some people, being overweight or obese IS an inevitability. The reason may not be because of what you think it is. The reason it's inevitable for some people is because THEY think it's inevitable. I firmly believe the Biblical principle in Scripture that tells us that "As a man thinks so is he." So, yes, for some people they will remain overweight or obese until they reach their grave. Oh I almost forgot. Scripture also tells us that you can change your thinking by having your mind renewed and this leads to transformation (Romans 12:2). So I guess it is not so inevitable after all, huh?
As for the past contestants who have regained their weight, I feel sad but I understand how it happened. I know how hard it can be to maintain weight loss, and I guess my disappointment is that we've all had the same opportunity to learn the same things. Especially those of us who were trained by Jillian.
The problem is that it really shows that some of us were there on the show for the experience of being on television, some of us were there for the money, and some of us were truly there to lose the weight and to try to keep it off. Some of us became prideful and thought that once we had lost the weight that it would just stay off without any further work on our part. Even though we've all heard different statistics about how soon the weight comes back on once it is lost.
Personally I feel a kinship to everyone that has been on the Ranch and has gained any weight back. As I watch my weight go up and down on several occasions and as I have had to refocus almost on a weekly basis on maintaining my weight loss, I know it's not easy. But it's not hard either. And a little bit of time dedicated to maintaining your weight loss every day will ensure one's success over the long-term.
I recently went back to California for the reunion show that aired in September and had the enjoyment of going out to eat with some of the former contestants. I could tell from sitting down to eat with them who is going to gain the weight back. You see, while it takes an intense amount of exercise to lose weight quickly you've got to understand the nutrition piece if you're going to maintain it long-term. I say this to all the former contestants, in the words of contestant Mark Wiley from Season Three, “Stay Slim!”
4. You credit the intense training you received from “The Biggest Loser” trainer Jillian Michaels for helping you revolutionize the way you eat and exercise. What are some of the highlights of that education you received from Jillian (who I think is one of the most amazing motivational fitness experts in the country)? Do you believe having a personal trainer like her working directly with you made you more successful than you would have been on your own? Also, did appearing on national television and the financial incentive to win play a role in your eventual weight loss success?
There are so many highlights that it would take forever to distill them all, but here are a couple of main points. The first thing is that calories count. The second thing is that no matter how out of shape you are, no matter how big you are, you can work out intensely, based on your heart rate, without hurting yourself. So the main highlight I would have to say is that "intensity matters" even as a big person if you plan to work out and lose weight quickly.
Absolutely, a trainer helps, but the problem for the average person at a gym is that Jillian is so unique. The show is really about one trainer’s methods vs. another’s and my wife prayed that I would get Jillian. It takes someone with a unique skill as a trainer to be able to do what she does. It takes skill to be able to push people who are obese to work out hard without hurting them.
Most trainers would never push you that hard at all but with her background in physical therapy, her own struggles with weight loss and weight gain as a teen, her being a trainer in Hollywood (where they have tried absolutely everything, good and bad) her love of this business, her expertise and knowledge and her experience with all of us and the research she does on the industry and the conclusions that she has drawn from of all these things add up to a very unique highly skilled individual. That's not easily duplicated at home except to a small degree through her books and videos. So absolutely she made a HUGE difference. But the Jillians of the world are hard to come by.
As for the fame and potential fortune of being on the show, yes, of course it helped play a role in my success. I have said that you never take a before picture like I did unless you expect a wonderful after picture to overcome that before picture. But the main incentive for me was my health. It was never the money. You know this if you are familiar with how I "played" the game on the Ranch.
First off I put my personality under a rug from the very first second I stepped on the Ranch. There was no way I was going to allow my personality to get me voted off early before I learned the lessons that I needed to learn in order to change my life and the lives of those around me. So I cracked no jokes and told no stories. I was the "blah" man on the show.
Also there was a pivotal point on the show where I was given the power or authority to choose teams. I did not choose the teams so that they would most benefit me in winning the money. And that choice was easy and obvious. But instead I chose teams and paired people up in a fashion that I thought would benefit everyone. The main thing that I thought would benefit me was pairing myself up with a 43 year old guy with missing ligaments in his ankle who would motivate me every day to get out of bed and break any excuses that I had for not wanting to work out. Again, my goal was to lose the weight not win the money.
But the bigger thing is that when the camera is off you still must have some type of inner desire to keep the weight off. If this "Biggest Loser" experience is only about TV and money then what’s left when those things are gone? That is why I set my focus to being the "Master at weight maintenance" and "Maintaining my weight loss when the cameras are off." These are the things that I focus on now.
5. The message you promote when you travel around the country speaking to groups is one of “modification, not starvation.” What do you specifically mean by that phrase and is there a cut-off point for healthy calorie consumption based on what you have learned about dieting? And I’m curious, did you see anyone engaging in some of these extreme “starvation” tactics to lose weight while on “The Biggest Loser?”
I specifically came up with the term "modification not starvation" because I always thought that to lose a massive amount of weight that I would have to go without eating. Or that I would have to eat substantially less food than I currently ate. Oh how wrong I was. I now know that it is simply about the number of calories and I if made better choices with my food I could have nearly as much food as I used to have for a lower amount of calories.
This dispels the whole commonly-held notion of "portion control." Weight loss is NOT about portion control. Rather it is about the number of calories in a portion. As a low-carber you also know it is about what makes up the portion. For example a 6-ounce cup of yogurt can range in calories from 60 calories all the way up to 150 calories. Think about that. 150 calories for a cup of YOGURT! I can have 2.5 servings/portions of a 60 calorie yogurt or 1 serving/portion of the 150-calorie yogurt. For me the choice is easy. I am a big guy and need food so I will take the 2.5 servings any day. So again the phrase "modification not starvation" comes from the fact that you don’t have to starve yourself to lose weight.
From the research that I have done and from personal experience, when it comes to calorie consumption or restricting calories I would never recommend that women eat less than 1200 calories per day and would not recommend that men eat less than 1600 calories per day. Of course these "minimums" should be higher if certain conditions exist such as pregnancy, doctors orders, etc. The key is that this is so individualistic! Your bodies caloric needs vary from person to person and situation to situation.
While on "The Biggest Loser" Ranch I learned that I needed to "fuel the machine" (correctly fuel my body) so that I could burn off the pounds through intense exercise in the gym. Any time I or any other contestant didn't eat enough food it would always backfire in poor gym workouts or smaller weight losses in a given week. I later learned that this is due to the fact that when you under-eat the body releases hormones that inhibit fat loss (The body is amazing! Its sole purpose is to keep you alive). As I went on to lose 102 pounds on my own at home I always remembered to "fuel the machine properly" and work out intensely and the weight would always peel off.
On one occasion on the Ranch my teammate Mark increased his workouts from 4 hours per day to 6 and lowered his calories from 1800 to 1000. Our trainer warned him against it but we are grown men so what can she really do if we choose to ignore the advice of a true expert? Well, sure enough his body revolted and at that particular weigh in he only lost three pounds. That may sound like a lot but everyone else averaged a 10+ pound weight loss while eating more than him and working out less than him. Lesson learned!
6. You warn people of the dangers of consuming refined carbohydrates because it can lead to binge eating in most people. That’s a concept I have promoted heavily here at my blog because sugary and starchy foods are not scorned in the same manner as fatty ones are. What are some of the problems people will encounter if they consume a high-carb, low-fat diet and is there anything inherently wrong with a higher fat, lower-carb diet for both weight loss and health management?
I don't completely understand how it is that sugar does not have a worse reputation than fats. There must be some huge group of underground sugar lobbyists out there working behind the scenes to make people overly afraid of fats. Simply put, sugar is horrible. The pancreas releases insulin to break down the sugar in the blood to release it to the cells. The more sugar you take in the more insulin has to be released until the body simply can’t handle the job anymore and a person becomes insulin resistant.
Think about that. The body is trying to get rid of the extra sugar you eat. For me this means that too much sugar is basically poison to the body! Think about that some more. Also the body requires extra water to store carbs. For every ounce of carbs it takes 2.7 ounces of water to store that one ounce of carbs. This is what those opposed to low-carb diets will point to when discussing the weight loss that accompanies a low-carb diet that the huge initial weight loss is partly water weight (which it is, partly). However not many of those opposed to a low-carb diet fully understand the process of ketosis. Thank God for the Internet and web sites like yours for educating people.
I can remember my first foray in the low-carb world and how I read article after article as well as reading every study and book on the subject before deciding that my wife and I were going to take the low-carb plunge. It coincided with a visit to my doctor when I was actually diagnosed with high-cholesterol. I was referred to a nutritionist whom I completely ignored because I KNEW from the research that I had conducted that a higher-fat diet would actually work to lower my cholesterol. I had done enough research to literally bet my life on it.
In August of 2003 my Cholesterol was 226 (below 200 was considered normal) and my HDL, LDL, and triglycerides were all abnormal as well. So I ignored the nutritionist and followed a strict Atkins routine. I did not exercise (not an Atkins recommendation) but the results spoke for themselves. Within a month my cholesterol was below 180 and all other numbers were in the normal range. I still have the before and after test results.
When I revisited the nutritionist she continued to promote a low-fat diet even AFTER I told her I lost weight on Atkins. I was thinking to myself, "HELLO, ARE YOU LISTENING?! I AM EATING A VERY HIGH FAT DIET HERE HONEY. I AM NOT CHANGING!" This particular experience and my struggles with weight loss contributed to my overall disdain for the medical community. Think about the average physician. They spend day in and day out seeing patients and training others and filing out charts. They do not have much time to keep up-to-date on the latest research or studies that go on throughout the world.
One example of this is the number of years that it took the medical community to acknowledge that most ulcers were caused by a particular bacterial infection and not simply stress, spicy foods, and alcohol. The facts of this were first discovered way back in 1979 in Australia but serious resistance by the medical establishment and drug companies meant that the facts were not accepted for DECADES.
Another great example of this is the whole American Diabetes Association/Diabetes issue that Adam Campbell exposed in November 2006. The research that is done worldwide has to filter through tons of peer reviews then down to medical schools then to teaching institutions then hopefully to your local doctor. So it is no surprise that the medical community would not have much to offer me in the way weight loss in general or Atkins specifically. So I have come to understand the importance of doing independent research into my own medical problems and even helping my doctor to solve problems with the self education I have received. I had to educate my own doctor about weight loss when I got back from the Ranch.
Here is a quick example of this as it relates to weight loss. I spoke with an OB/GYN and she informed me that the average pregnant woman was instructed to eat a 2500 calorie diet. Well, to the uninformed this may not mean a thing but when you understand that women only need an extra 500 calories per day while pregnant (per another OB/GYN) and when your understand your basal metabolic rate, you can then see that doctors may actually be inadvertently causing weight gain by recommending more calories than a women and child actually need which can lead to loads of other pregnancy problems. But I digress.
The only thing that I would caution anyone on a low-carb/high-fat diet to do is watch the number of calories that you take in. You cannot escape the physics of weight loss/gain which is basically calories in vs. calories out. Ketosis is wonderful and the thermogenic nature of the body when it comes to digesting certain types of foods (i.e. Fats) vs. others cannot be denied. But the more you understand ALL the factors the better off you will be.
This is what doomed me initially to fail on a low-carb diet. Once I lost 50 pounds I did not understand that there are 9 calories per gram of fat vs. 4 calories per gram for carbs. Essentially I would overeat and gain weight and then when I added some refined carbs back into my diet I exploded and was doomed to regain more than I had lost previously. Oh the lessons I have learned!!
7. Like me, you believe that your faith in Jesus Christ is the source of your strength in every area of your life. It was abundantly evident that you were a Christian from the first time I saw you on television by the humility you displayed while a contestant on “The Biggest Loser.” The way you consoled other contestants and encouraged them in their own journey while competing against them for the money showed a lot of class and grace that can only come from genuine character built upon the foundation of a sincere belief in God. Talk about how the Lord did a new work in you to transform His temple (your body) into the lean and healthy specimen it is today. Also, have you kept in touch with any of the other contestants who were on the show with you, including Season Two winner Matt Hoover?
Wow! This would take hours but it can be broken down into 3 areas. As you mentioned I proclaim Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and He has assisted me with "My Mind," "My Mouth" and "My Muscle."
My Mind--First He helped me with to renew my mind. My first day on "The Biggest Loser" Ranch we worked out for over two and a half hours after living a sedentary lifestyle. That's two and a half hours! And every day thereafter I worked out for approximately four hours each and every day! One of the reasons I was pushed so hard was not just simply to lose weight but so that my mind could be changed. My mind had to believe that my body could work out that hard and not break and that I would not die. This was an incredible thing and I know that God put me in this position to change my mindset to change the way that I think because on my own I would not have been able to change my thinking about my ability to exercise hard and work to lose weight.
My Mouth--By renewing my mind it caused me to say different things about myself. I began to speak differently about myself. I began to speak things that He would say to me. I would say things such as “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I am the head and not the tail. I am above and not beneath”. These things are reinforcing what had already happened in my mind. In my mind I began to believe differently about myself and from my mouth I began to say the things that He wanted me to say about myself--that I WAS going to lose the weight, that I was going to maintain it permanently. Even now as I sometimes struggle with weight maintenance I make sure to just repeat what He has told me about myself.
My muscle--Once my mind was renewed my mouth would follow along with what my mind thought. Now my muscle needed to follow along. Since God created this body, then like everything else of His design there must be an order to things, right? Yes, so now I know that by working the muscles of my body I can regain the health that I thought I had lost. My heart muscle needs to be worked out intensely so I need to do intense cardio exercise. The muscles in my legs would be the main muscles that I use to lose massive amounts of weight, so the vast majority of the exercise that I do involves them whether it is walking on an incline, running, taking a spin class, lunging, squats or whatever, my leg muscles will power me there. But I also need to exercise every other muscle group in my body, because for every three pounds of weight a person loses about one pound of that is muscle. So I do resistance training regularly as mentioned earlier.
Now if you look at the things that I mention it really comes down to two parts preparation and one part work. Although each part involves work of its own it is interesting to see how they work together. I have to prepare my mind and my mouth then reinforce what my mind thinks and then I work out my muscle. God showed me how my experience on "The Biggest Loser" Ranch brought all of these things together. Christ allowed me to see how all the parts interact--My Mind, My Mouth and My Muscle--to help to transform His temple (my body) into the lean and healthy specimen it is today.
I do keep in regular contact with the other contestants from the show. Specifically the five of us guys (Matt, Seth, Dr. Jeff, Mark and myself) were on the Ranch together for 62 days--32 of those it was just us as a team against the girls. We were incredibly close. We remain close today and I keep in contact with them regularly except for Matt. His speaking, traveling, and marriage as well as a recent baby have kept him busier than the rest of us guys and we are not in contact as much as I am with the guys and even some of the gals like Ryan Kelly.
8. My wife Christine was a HUGE part of my success because she is a natural encourager. It sounds like your beautiful bride Pam is the same way. Interestingly, I finally convinced Christine to begin livin’ la vida low-carb with me earlier this year for the sake of her health and she lost over 35 pounds although she didn’t have much to lose. Tell us about the remarkable journey that Pam has been on since you got back home from “The Biggest Loser.” How has that shared experience helped your marriage, your own continued weight maintenance, and your lifelong commitment to a healthy and permanent lifestyle change?
As I teach about permanent weight loss, one of the principles that I teach is one of teamwork. My wife Pamela was my teammate throughout this entire process. As a result she benefited from the knowledge that I received while away at "The Biggest Loser" and then from the research that I have done at home. And she's lost a total of 77 pounds--70 pounds were lost while I was losing 185 in 9 months. She's lost an additional 7 pounds and even more importantly, she's been able to maintain it and keep it off. We are just an excellent complement to each other.
I think it's really wonderful for people to see just how well Pamela has done with the weight loss even though she did not go out to "The Biggest Loser" Ranch. Some people think that "you were away on this show" and that "it was all a fluke" and "no one else could achieve that type of weight loss on their own." But Pam shows that these principles work.
And it is not just the principles that you learn on the show because again I was only on the show for sixty-two days. The rest of the time I was at home learning and applying and readjusting and making things work for us in our environment for the world we lived in and Pam is a great example of that. People can look to Pam and many others and see that permanent weight loss is possible even if you haven't gone on a reality TV show.
9. I’m curious about something since you too lost a significant amount of weight like I did. Do you have any issues with “loose skin,” especially in your stomach and inner thighs? While it was nice to lose a significant amount of weight like I did, this “hanging” concern is the one area of my own personal journey that sometimes will try to discourage me. Have you had any skin removal surgeries to take care of those areas of your body that won’t tighten up with exercise?
No, I have not had any weight loss surgeries. Interestingly enough, when you do a certain amount of resistance training exercises you have less sagging skin. But the true determinant of whether or not your skin will snap back into place has to do with whether or not the elasticity of the skin has been broken when you gained the weight in the first place. Many things play into this--age, genetics, and the amount of water you drink, etc.
But at the end of the day who really cares? Now that I've lost the weight I've got a healthy lifestyle. I'll deal with the loose skin as a sort of badge of honor and I will deal with it by wearing by wearing Polyester/Lycra athletic wear that'll suck in certain areas of my skin. And it should be known that I am ready to be the model for the male version of Spanx when they come out with it.
10. Ooo, I LOVE Spanx, too! LOL! What a privilege it was to interview you here at my blog. You are such an incredible inspiration to me, Pete, and I hope to someday have the opportunity to shake your hand and show my personal gratitude to you for being a living, breathing example of what being an overcomer is all about. God bless you and keep you going as you live a long and healthy life because of all that you have been able to achieve. I love your motto that “there’s a winner wiTHIN you.”
Is there anything else you would like to share with my overweight or obese readers who are reading this interview right now and believe that what you and I have been able to accomplish is impossible and out of their reach?
Absolutely, I would like to take a minute to encourage the people who think that it is not possible for the average person to lose tons of weight quickly and safely. Education is a big part of belief and you have to hear and see other people be successful to believe that you too can be successful. So keep reading Jimmy's blog and stop over sometime at my new blog LoseItFastLoseItForever.com where I will be sharing in detail all the struggles that I've overcome and am still working to overcome. I will soon be doing Tuesday night conference calls sharing my experiences and taking questions in conjunction with a local class that I am teaching.
I want the blog to be the "Kimkins killer" so I am pricing it accordingly--FREE!!!--Hee Hee!
If you want to "see" real success, then check out my pictures at my Flickr page and at my main web site WinningMan.com.
I believe that anyone can be successful at weight loss. It just requires a team and if your team is an online team then so be it. Just join Jimmy and me along the journey as we seek to change the world one pound at a time.
THANK YOU for sharing so candidly with us, Pete! God bless you buddy! Be sure to sign up for Pete's newsletter and contact him directly via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Prepare to be encouraged!