Saturday, February 09, 2008

'Biggest Loser' 4 Contestant Jez Luckett Claims 'I Don't Need Jillian' To Lose Weight

Jez Luckett weighed 345 pounds when he started "The Biggest Loser" 4

We've already heard from several contestants who appeared on "The Biggest Loser" 4 in recent weeks, including the grand prize winner Bill Germanakos, final four contestant and Nashville, TN-native Isabeau Miller, Hurricane Katrina survivor Lezlye Donahue, and the oldest contestant ever Jerry Lisenby. Today we continue that series of interviews by turning to yet another member of the Black Team--JEZ LUCKETT!

Wanna see what Jez looks like now after losing 150 pounds? Check it out:

As a true fan of "The Biggest Loser" television series since the first season in 2004 (when I was losing my weight), it has been awesome to have this opportunity to provide this inside glimpse into what it was like being a contestant on this popular weight loss show. I'm excited about bringing even more interviews to you soon, including Kae Whang, Neil Tejwani, Nicole Michalik, Jim Germanakos, Hollie Self, David Griffin, Ryan Rodriguez, and "B" Andretti. Look for those in the coming weeks!

Right now, let's turn our attention to Jez and this remarkable turnaround that has happened in his life after being given this unique opportunity to appear on "The Biggest Loser." ENJOY!

1. We've got another one of the contestants from Season 4 of "The Biggest Loser" with us today and he's got quite a story to tell. Starting off his experience on the hit NBC weight loss reality show at 345 pounds, Jez Luckett was able to drop a cool 150 pounds by the grand finale--a stunning 43.38% of his starting weight! CONGRATULATIONS and welcome to the "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog, Jez! Has it all started to sink in yet how much you have changed? Did you ever expect in a million years you'd be called "skinny?"

Slowly but surely it's sinking in that I really am a medium now. I still wake up sometimes and run to the mirror to see if all the weight has come back yet, but I never thought I would have followed through on my hopes of ever being skinny.

2. You had a rather unique way of applying to be on the show creating a web site to try to win a spot via NBC's "The Today Show." Although you were not chosen by the viewers to be on "The Biggest Loser," that experience undoubtedly got you noticed by the casting company for the show, 3 Ball Productions. Tell us about how you felt when you were not chosen by the "Today Show" viewers and what happened next to put you in the final 18 for Season 4.

A week after I was told that I was being considered for a spot on the show, they informed me that I was going to be one of four to be featured on The Today Show. The Today Show decision had nothing to do with 3 Ball's final casting decision. I guess they just liked the goods. ;)

3. Obesity runs in your family as it does with most of us who have been through weight and health difficulties. And like my own mother, your mom also had gastric bypass surgery to help deal with her weight. How close were you to considering that as your only option for shedding the pounds off of your 5'8" body? What do you say to those people who believe weight loss surgery is the ONLY way to get their weight and health under control?

From the time I was little and first started to acknowledge that my weight was out of hand I wanted it to magically disappear. I think part of it comes from the instant gratification lifestyle we are reared under. I considered gastric bypass surgery, but knew that I had never really given it a concerted effort to lose weight on my own and needed to do that first.

After doing it on my own and finding the joy and gratification that came with overcoming an obstacle I perceived as impossible, I realize that gastric bypass would have robbed me of the satisfaction of knowing that I was strong enough and capable to battle this issue I had spent my whole life being consumed by. That's not to say that surgery isn't a good choice for some people, but for me personally, losing it on my own has given me the resolve to attack any obstacle or goal I have. I don't know if I would have felt the same had I lost the weight through surgery.

4. You had a golden opportunity to work with a top world-class personal trainer in the Black Team's Jillian Michaels. She produces results and that's all that really matters. Talk about what it was like working with Jillian. What will you always remember about your experience training with her for the rest of your life?

What I'll always take from training with Jillian is knowing that I don't need Jillian. So many times we look for a savior when it comes to our weight loss goals. Be it a pill, trainer, diet, etc. Jillian helped me realize that it was inside me all along and all I had to do was find it. She would reinforce in me constantly how strong I was. That support is key.

We can't do it on our own, but we must realize what it takes to get it done lies inside us all. It doesn't hurt though when you have someone threatening to kill you if you don't keep running. So that's what else I'll take from Jillian. Rarely will working out kill you. Her pushing me made me realize how far my body was capable of going even after my mind had said enough.

Our mind lets us off the hook a lot when it comes to what we think we can endure. Jillian called BS when we said we couldn't go further. So being able to identify in myself when I could go further is the greatest thing I'll take from Jilly Beans.

Jez and fellow contestant Neil having some fun "down time"

5. How did you feel being on a nationally televised show watched by millions of people like "The Biggest Loser?" Was it surreal in any way for you or was it everything you thought it would be? Give us some of the behind-the-scenes stuff about the show that viewers don't get to see on television.

Surreal is the only word to describe it. It was a blast. I think it may have been erroneously conveyed on television that there was less camaraderie between the teams than there was. We all got along very well. I think people don't realize how boring it is to make a reality television show interesting. So there was plenty of down time in which a lot of stuff not suitable for prime time television happened. I'll just leave it at that.

6. Of course, the game play by Neil from the Blue Team led to you being the first non-Germanakos member of the Black Team to be sent home. Did you feel betrayed by the trust you had placed in people like Neil (who you were apparently friends with off camera) when that happened? Do you feel there is any place for that kind of gamesmanship on a show about weight loss? Why or why not?

I don't want to take away from Jimmy the Greek's (Jim Germanakos) glory for being the very first Black member voted off. But definitely felt betrayed. I didn't really see it coming. The fact of the matter is if it hadn't been that week, it could have been the next for a completely valid reason. I got to leave with my integrity and honor intact.

I performed to the best of my abilities and it spring boarded me into the success I've had ever since. There's no reason to dwell on what could, should, or would have happened. At the end of the day you gotta sell advertising. Having 18 happy fat people losing weight all the way to the end however great that would be for them doesn't sell enough Extra Sugar-Free gum. So as long as there's a need to get ratings for television, poor gamesmanship certainly has a place on The Biggest Loser.

7. When you got home and started working on your own, you implored the help of Nik Herold and The Fitness Doctors to help you succeed. What did Nik do to continue the progress you made on "The Biggest Loser" Ranch and complement the work that Jillian had already started with you? Share how much cardio and resistance training you did and tell us how much of that routine that helped you shed the pounds you continue to do today. And, I have to ask, do you have a lot of loose skin following your massive weight loss or has it firmed up with exercise?

When we all got back for the finale I was lovingly voted the contestant with the "worst skin" by my fellow cast mates, so yeah, it's there. I found an amazing surgeon by the name of Dr. Todd Gerlach in Torrance, CA who will assist me in removing the dubious distinction of "worst skin" as voted by the cast of The Biggest Loser 4.

I'll always be grateful to Jillian and The Biggest Loser, but it was the time afterwards training with Nik and the Fitness Doctors that I was able to get on the road to becoming truly "healthy" mentally, emotionally, spiritually, as well as physically. I was very surprised when Nik created a program almost entirely consisting of strength conditioning and weight training.

I initially was like yeah shouldn't I be doing this AND 3 hours of cardio? Thank God the answer was no. I would do 1-2 hours of high impact cardio at the most per week and the rest of my workouts were either weights or low impact walking, bike riding, swimming, etc.

Realizing that gaining muscle was the best way to lose weight was revolutionary to me. It's also the best way to sustain weight loss and keep your metabolism high. Nik is incredibly knowledgeable as a trainer and one of the closest friends I've ever had.

8. The readers of my blog are very interested in hearing about how people are able to lose weight and get healthy. They know that I went on the Atkins low-carb diet in 2004, lost 180 pounds and have kept it off ever since. What about your dietary approach? Do you try to control your carbohydrate and sugar intake at all or is it merely fat, calorie, and portion control for you? Give us a sample day's worth of menus of what you eat.

When I first started training with Nik, it was purely green vegetables and protein. I would carb up once or twice a week with fruits or complex carbs but for the most part carbohydrates were not part of the program. I try and maintain the same regimen now.

It's a little bit harder to do this back in the Midwest as compared to living in Los Angeles. So I just increase the amount of activity I do outside of my existing workout program to make up up for the extra carbs I do take in. I haven't gained any weight yet going into two months since the grand finale for The Biggest Loser 4, which is mainly a testament to lots of extra activity and my metabolism being so much higher due to all the muscle I've gained as I previously mentioned.

9. You know you've hit it the big time when the paparazzi from TMZ. com starts following you around with a camera. What was that experience like seeing a video of yourself plastered all over the Internet like a Hollywood superstar in early December promoting the grand finale? Did it make you laugh, cry, or both?

At the end of the day I put myself in the position to be taken advantage of by TMZ. The "unedited" interview they got was a lot less intriguing. I had just left my gym's Christmas party and was allowed by my trainer to have a few drinks for the first time in 8 months. I was just talking up the grand finale at the time and playfully calling out my good friend Kae (a contestant from the Blue Team) who I knew was going to have incredible results at the finale.

But just like good sportsmanship doesn't sell Extra Sugar-Free gum, my playful, non-mean spirited interview isn't going to sell whatever TMZ's pushing. So when all is said and done it just made me sad that there's actually a market to try and expose people for just acting normal. They didn't need to take all those jabs at me being a child case manager though. How I acted says nothing about my ability to positively impact kids' lives.

10. Jez, you are a true gentleman spending a few moments with us today at the "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog. THANKS for sharing your "Biggest Loser" experience with us and we wish you well as you continue your journey in life. Is there anything encouraging you'd like to say to those who are struggling with their weight loss as you once did? How can they find the hope that you did?

We may not all have a Jillian or Nik to push us the whole way, but what it takes to succeed is inside every one of us. We must have a purpose, a plan, and support though. With those three things firmly established and an understanding that our bodies are truly remarkable machines capable of enduring much more than our minds would like us to believe, nothing is impossible. Never give up, keep on trying, and just do your best.

Bravo, Jez, bravo! THANK YOU for sharing so freely about your weight loss experience and being a contestant on "The Biggest Loser." We wish you nothing but continued success in this lifelong journey to better health. You can contact Jez anytime through his My Space page and give him a shout out. Something tells me life will never be the same again for the Jezbian! :D

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Blogger Sheena said...

It seems kinda sad to me since it feels you are exploiting him now with the title of this story. I realize you have done it since it is catchy and makes the reader want to read how he could have said that about Jillian but sad none the less.

2/10/2008 3:55 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS for your comments, Sheena, but I don't feel I am "exploiting" Jez by quoting verbatim what he said in my interview with him. I do this all the time whenever I write an interview.

I'll pull the actual words that were shared and put it in the title to get people's attention. Then, when you read the interview for yourself, you will realize the context for the quote.

That's why I never necessarily react just to a headline I see in the newspaper until AFTER I have read the complete article for myself. Just reading headlines very rarely gives you the whole story.

But I do appreciate your feedback and THANK YOU for reading!

2/10/2008 9:55 AM  
Blogger JD said...

Great interview Jimmy!!

You do a better job than the show of bringing out their personalities. Well done. Seriously, I think you could make a pitch to do a TV show with these guys.

2/10/2008 1:10 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS JD! I think the contestants feel so uninhibited in an interview like this because the "reality" is no longer scripted and structured as it is on television. Jez was very open and honest about things and that's something you wish the producers would allow on "The Biggest Loser."

My own "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" TV show? YEAH BABY! They'd get nothing but REALITY from me. :D

2/10/2008 1:13 PM  

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