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The Biggest Loser Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

The Biggest Loser Contestants

This is a transcript of an interview with eliminated contestants Larialmy Allen and Don Evans on February 2, 2011 about the show The Biggest Loser.

Question:
Larialmy, how hard was it to sit there and listen to the other contestants talk about how they felt your husband wasn't living up to expectations?

Larialmy Allen:
For me that was, you know, listening to my other teammates talk about how they felt, Q fell short or wasn't giving 100%, it was definitely hard to listen to. But I do, you know, knowing my husband as well as I do, I know that there were times that he, you know, he was kind of a little off, you know.

His mind wasn't always there. You know, he was thinking about his son and, you know, different things like that and I think that kind of affected him. So I could understand where my teammates concern was coming from and where and why they felt that way. But it was definitely a little hard to hear because I know how bad he wanted to be there and how bad he needs to be there. So that was definitely a little hard for me to hear.

Question:
Don, why wasn't the ranch wasn't working for you, because you obviously were successful when you went home?

Don Evans:
Well I've given it a lot of thought and I've come to the conclusion that I'm a police officer, and like most police officers, We're used to being in control. And I think part of the problem was I got into an environment where I had absolutely no control whatsoever.

And of course because of that, I started worrying myself about home life and we're all the things getting done that need to be done and so on. I mean, it's no secret that I became home sick. But I like to think that as a result of the total emersion, for lack of a better term, that I've had while I was at the ranch and the foundation I got, it's enabled me to come home and be what I consider to be extremely successful at continuing to lose weight.

Question:
Dan mentioned that you two were prepared to be separated at some point. Can you talk a little about losing that support system, how it impacted your outlook and your desire to continue at the ranch?

Don Evans:
I don't think it had a great deal of bearing on my continued performance at the ranch or staying at the ranch because I mean, in the back of my mind, of course I know that this is not forever. This is only for a few weeks or a few months and that, you know, this will come to an end.

Dan and I have been together, obviously our whole lives and we've been there to support each other in any way we can. And it's actually been called enabling. And I have to admit, you know, we enable each other. But it's in a positive way. I think when he left it was just a fact. He left and there would come a time when I would leave. Now I didn't expect it to be the way it was but nevertheless. We both have a plan B in the event that plan A doesn't work.

Question:
Larialmy, you said that you could see a light at the end of the tunnel. When you got home how did you deal with the possibility that Q was perhaps an obstacle for you and your success?

Larialmy Allen:
You know, I think first thing I had to do when I got home is kind of have a conversation with myself because I didn't know it would be as difficult as it has been, you know, being home. But ultimately, what I came up with is the fact that although Q and I, you know, are doing this together, it's still individually our journey.

You know, we have to focus on ourselves, because, you know, part of the reason why we continued to gain weight while we were married, and being together was because we enabled each other. So I was just, you know, I'm trying to take advantage of just me, you know, just taking care of me and focusing on my part of our journey.

Question:
Larialmy, were you angry that you had to sacrifice yourself in order for your husband to stay?

Larialmy Allen:
Honestly, I wasn't angry at all, you know, there aren't too many things that I wouldn't give for him, you know. And in my heart, you know, if I could do it any differently, I wouldn't change a thing, you know. I knew the support the system that I had coming, you know, coming back home, you know.

My family and my friends are just 110% supportive of me in every step of this journey. And unfortunately, Q's support system isn't as strong. So I knew what he needed, you know, is to be there and get his butt kicked, you know, and have that support there. So I wasn't angry at all. You know, I know regardless I'm going to be a success because this is something that I need for me to continue to live. So I wasn't angry at all.

Question:
Don, looking back in hindsight how did you gain the weight that inevitably sent you home?

Don Evans:
Well, you know, this is an important question. I'm very glad you asked because I wanted an opportunity to explain. I wanted to make it clear to everyone who's listening that the idea to intentionally gain weight and thereby be eliminated, was not my idea. In fact, my partner Irene had approached me the night before the weight in and confided in me that was she was intentionally going to drink water, and that would put her at a weight gain and for all intensive purposes cause us to fall below the yellow line. And she was very candid with me. She explained that she knew that I was prepared to go home and that weight gain that I had, had the previous week, having to make up that weight gain along with any deficit she had as partners, that the game was over for me.

She explained that she knew that I would end up going home and that she and the rest of the contestants would, you know, be safe for another week. I don't think there was any malice in her decision to do that. I think it was a strategic move. It's not necessarily how I would have wanted it, but it is the way it happened.

Question:
Do you feel guilty in regards to like being on the ranch where maybe someone else could have benefited from being in that same spot? Or how do you feel about that, making that choice?

Don Evans:
You know, that's been brought up several times and it's kind of frustrating because no, to answer questions I don't feel guilty whatsoever. I applied for The Biggest Loser at a time when I desperately was seeking a solution to a problem that I had created by being fat. And that solution was, you know, being a contestant on The Biggest Loser. So they interviewed me. They chose me. It's something that I was very grateful for and will always be grateful for. But I consider it my position, this was a situation where success or failure, whatever came from it, it was my position and didn't belong to anybody else.

And if the true mark of success on this competition, this weight loss competition is weight loss, then I've been successful. Now did I stay as long as perhaps I perhaps I hoped I could have? No I didn't. But once again, if it's a weight loss competition and I take what I've learned while I was there, and I've lost weight consistently and continue to lose weight, then yes. And I don't feel bad about it at all.

Question:
Don, obviously there was a difference in the weight gains from the weigh in prior to the one that you were eliminated. Having been able to take the time and think about it, have you come to any conclusion about why the weight gain happened in the first week, when Dan was still around?

Don Evans:
Oh sure. I've given it lots of thought. You know, there's a lot of other factors involved here, and no matter what I say it's not possibly going to answer everyone's question. I can say that I was being treated for edema, that I was obviously retaining water. And I'd been treated for it all week, and that I was not watching my hydration. Obviously I was over hydrating.

What I can say is that, I look back on it now and I realize there are things I could have done differently and I accept obviously full responsibility for what happened. I mean I have no one to blame but myself. So I don't have any pat answers other than to say that since I've come home I watch every drop of liquid, my hydration level. I watch it so closely. And once again, as a result based on everything I've learned while I was there and I've continued to be successful.

Question:
Larialmy, is there a different level of enjoyment now that you're off the ranch and working out on your own time?

Larialmy Allen:
You know, I think there's just a different level of enjoyment to my life, I finally found happy. You know, being 301 pounds and pretty much suffering daily, you know, from different aches pains and you know, knowing that I was hindering myself from probably having children, expanding my family I wasn't happy, you know. But, even though at this point right now, my journey isn't through. I'm only about halfway to where I want to be. And I see light at the end of the tunnel, you know. And that makes me happy. It shows me that it's not impossible.

The fact that I'm able to work out with my siblings, you know, everyday is just icing on the cake. You know, it just makes me that more happy to see who I'm changing, you know, people so close to me, looking up to me. People that are older than me, you know, and people that mean a lot to me. The Biggest Loser itself has just brought a whole other level of happiness to my life.

Question:
Larialmy, in your Where Are They Now piece last night you talked about becoming a runner and I know there's a lot of people who want to become a runner. What have you done to do that?

Larialmy Allen:
That's my goal, to become a runner, and my trainer has been wonderful in helping me, pretty much build up my endurance to run because I pretty much went from absolutely no running, you know, running only when being chased to, you know, trying to run a 5K or, you know, a 10K or even a marathon.

So we started out fairly small. He had me train to just run as long as I could and then walk that same distance, or speed walk of course, then run as long as I could again, and then walk. And he gave me, you know, homework. Okay, by this month I want you to be able to run a mile straight without stopping.

By this month, I want you to be able to run two miles straight without stopping, you know. So my trainer has been wonderful. And just little techniques like that to help me build my endurance, I can already see a difference, you know, in like me beating my own 5K time and stuff like that. So it's helped a whole lot.

Question:
Don, what did you take away from the ranch that's helped you lose 80 pounds at home?

Don Evans:
Probably the biggest thing I took away from the ranch that's enabled me to continue to lose weight at home is the knowledge that it's not going to kill me. That I can do what they wanted me to do. And in fact, before I left the ranch, the workouts while they were sometimes insane and brutal, I was actually getting accustomed to them.

I did everything they ever wanted me to do. And so I didn't really dread the workouts. I actually kind of looked forward to them. But if you take the knowledge that I can do this, they've shown me that I can do this and you add to that the foundation that I received through nutrition and the education on proper eating and just the health benefits that I'm deriving from the weight loss has been life changing. I honestly believe that with the information that I gained during my time on the ranch, that I can come home and change not only my life but the lives of those around me. And I know it sounds so cliche to say that, but it's already been life changing.

Question:
Can both of you go over the numbers of where you started and what you're at now?

Larialmy Allen:
I started out at 301 and I am currently 225.

Don Evans:
I started at 309. I'm currently at 222. That's an 87-pound loss. I believe I had left the ranch with a 14-pound loss, which means that I've lost 73 pounds while at home.

Question:
Don, the first weigh in where both you and your brother ended up gaining weight, you're saying that was not intentional at all. You guys were not trying to throw the weigh in, in any way?

Don Evans:
That's exactly what I'm saying. What I'm saying is, it was inadvertent. I mean obviously we're adults, you know, we know what we eat and drink. When we look back on it now and think the hydration problem, obviously we drank too much. As long as we control now our intake, and it hasn't proven to be a problem since I've gotten home. Like I said, the word I used is inadvertent and I take full responsibility for it. I don't blame anybody for it. I point out that the fact that it happened only affected Dan and me. And I'm not happy about it, but once again, it's just one of the facts.

Question:
Could you both address what's been the most difficult part about being home?

Larialmy Allen:
For me I think the most difficult part of being home is just, is being home, you know. When you're at The Biggest Loser, you have everything that you need right at your fingertips. We're spoiled. I mean seriously, you prepare your own food true enough, but you have so much to choose from, you know. And it's all healthy, you know. You don't have to worry about being faced with temptation as much. I mean it's always there, you know, but as much, you know, the fast food restaurants being on every corner and, you know, just not going in, you now, in one.

Or not eating, you know, things that you shouldn't eat. So for me I think that's one of the most difficult things. I think, you know, the other part of being home is for me the workouts that we grew accustomed to with, you know, the boxing and everything. Where I live I have yet to find a gym that incorporates everything that I would like to do and that I'm accustomed to doing that I learned at The Biggest Loser. So those two things for me were the most difficult things coming home to.

Don Evans:
Mine's probably much simpler for me. I went home with the mindset that the ranch was temporary and home was forever. How successful I was once I got home, was going to set the mark. So for me, my mindset was different. I was actually glad to be home and I was anxious to get into the routine that would allow me to be successful. Probably the most difficult part of that was scheduling. It's such simple thing but to make sure I can schedule a workout in the morning before I go to work and then another one in the evening when I get home and a third one after dinner.

And to ensure that I can add in there the classes I need. We do cage fitness my brother and I together and spin classes and so on. It's just scheduling. But it's actually become a normal part of my everyday life now. And the times when I'm unable to get in a scheduled workout I actually feel kind of disappointed and I never thought I'd feel that way.

Question:
What do you each think is the most important thing you've learned about yourself going through this process?

Larialmy Allen:
Gosh, I learned so much. For me I think the most important thing that I've learned is to never doubt myself. You know, going into the show, there were so many different things, you know, and I don't think they showed it as much. But there was so many different things that my trainers would ask me to do and I'm like, ???I can't do it. I can't do it,??? you know. So I've learned now to stop doubting myself. You know, even if I think I can't do it, try it anyway because I've already done so many things with this opportunity that I never thought I'd be able to do in a million years.

Don Evans:
I'd say mine's pretty close to that. I've come to the conclusion that I have more confidence in myself that yes, I can do what they wanted me to do, what they asked me to do. And I've come to realize that it's not such a big change that, you know, watching what I eat, and changing my eating habits and my physical activities for the benefit that I've derived from it, it's such a small thing to do. And I look back on it now and wonder why I didn't do it before. It's seriously, I sound like a broken record, but it has just been life changing.

Question:
What advice would you guys give to people that are trying out for the next season of the show? And the second question is when you guys go home, do you have any help from the show in your continued weight loss?

Larialmy Allen:
Tthe best piece of advice I feel I could offer anyone who's trying to lose weight, or, you know, get on the show is to start today, you know. Don't put it off until, oh well I'll wait until they have casting call. Or, you know, start today. There's so many people, past contestants and current contestants who knew that they wanted to be on the show and started their journey before and, you know, that just proves how determined you are. It doesn't hurt your chances of getting on the show because losing weight and getting healthy is something that you need to do for yourself regardless.

It's not just for the show aspect of it. So my piece of advice would be to just do it. You know, start small. Start from little things and build on up, but don't keep putting it off for the next day and the next day and the next day.

Don Evans:
First off, if you're interested in becoming a contestant, apply, go after it, seek it. You know, that first step is just getting in there and making the application. But don't be discouraged, which is easy for me to say, don't be discouraged if you for some reason don't make it on the program because there are so many other options out there.

The Biggest Loser has so many ways of reaching out to anyone who wants to participate in this weight loss program that you don't necessarily have to be an actual contestant on the show. They have so many ways now that they can help you in starting this journey to lose weight. I'd have to also agree with Larialmy, don't procrastinate. Go ahead and it all starts with that first step and it's just up to you to take that first step.

Question:
Does the show actually help you guys at all with setting you up with any type of gym memberships or trainers when you guys return home?

Larialmy Allen:
Oh, definitely. They actually set us up with a, you know, a gym in the area. You know, of course they speak with us and see what would work best with us. And the producers and, you know, some of the behind the scenes people are very, very close and very supportive, you know, just calling and checking in, you know, with me.

Just to make sure I'm okay and they encourage that I do the same, you know, just reach out. Even my trainers, you know, I still speak to them on a fairly regular basis considering everything that they, you know, have going on in their busy lives. So the show is very, very supportive. It's a good environment.

Don Evans:
Yes, I can say that just because you're eliminated from the show itself, that you're not abandoned. The Biggest Loser continues to support you. They set me up with a gym of my choice, with a trainer of my choice. They also follow up with weekly calls, conference calls with the doctors and the producers of the show to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

They don't just throw you out for lack of a better way of putting it. They're there for you, they continue to support you. They want you to be successful whether at the ranch or at home. And they make an effort to see that you succeed.

Question:
Don, could you talk a little bit more about your discussion with Irene heading into the weigh in. I mean, what was your initial reaction and response to her when she came to you and basically told you that she was going to get you booted off?

Don Evans:
Well, Irene and I and all the contestants got to be really close while I was there, and so I have to repeat I don't think there was any malice. I simply think that she saw the opportunity there to where in her mind she knew that I was prepared to go home at any time.

I've said it before and with some criticism that this was a strategic move on her part. The decision to intentionally gain weight and to ensure that we'd fall below the yellow line and that it was understood that I was prepared to go home meant that she and everyone else in the house was safe for another week. The fact of it is, it's a game. I don't want anyone to think that what she was doing had in any way given me any ill will or any malice. It was simply, it made sense.

Question:
Did you put your heads together and come up with a plan for what each of you were going to do? Was there any discussion or planning involved in that?

Don Evans:
I thought about it long and hard after Irene told me that she was going to do this. In fact, it was already in play. By the time she came to me it had already started. And this was going to happen whether I was involved in it or not. And that was clear. So there was limited discussion between us as far as the fact that what would each one of us do. I made the decision that the game was over. It was checkmate. There was absolutely nothing I could do to make up the weight that I gained the previous week plus any weight gain that she had.

There was simply not enough time and it wasn't going to happen. At that point, my only decision was, was I going to ensure that she was, and the other contestants were safe for another week, and was going to support my partner because Irene was my partner at that time. It's now how I would have wanted it, not how I would have had it if I had another option, but there were no other options. This was the way it was.

Question:
Larialmy, looking back on when you first arrived at the ranch, do you remember what was going through your mind or what expectations you had?

Larialmy Allen:
When I first arrived at the ranch, I was so scared. I didn't know what was going to happen. You know, I'm a huge fan of the show but, you know, I think and a lot of other people think this as well because I get questions asked all the time, I think in our minds or in, you know, outside of The Biggest Loser, people think that it's some type of quick fix, you know.

They don't realize that its shear hard work, you know, and healthy eating, you know. So I was prepared to go in and work, but my God, I wasn't prepared to work as hard as we did, you know. So I was definitely afraid, but at the same time I was ecstatic, you know, I couldn't believe I was there out of millions, thousands and millions of people, you know, me and my husband were there. I just couldn't believe it. So it was definitely mixed emotions, I think between fear and excitement.

Question:
What would you say has been the number one change you've made since being home that you think has had the biggest effect on your weight loss?

Larialmy Allen:
For me, I think the number one change is just my mentality, the ability for me to look at food definitely. I could definitely say before I was a stress eater, and now the way that I think and the way that I look at food is that it's just purely to fuel my body, you know. I don't have to have my calories from junk food and just all kind of crazy fatty foods. I can get it from vegetables and function just fine if not better, you know, because I'm actually seeing that I feel a lot better eating healthier, you know, the healthier food that we've been eating for the past couple of months. So I think for me, just my whole mentality and looking at food differently has been the biggest thing for me.

Don Evans:
For me it's the realization that the lifestyle change wasn't that drastic. I found that a lot of times I would eat for comfort for entertainment. In fact, just about anything that I did with the family or friends would center around food as far as entertainment. The mindset that I now have and I've been able to change my lifestyle and get involved in other things other than eating for entertainment has enabled me to continue this journey, this weight loss. The lifestyle change itself has probably been the biggest thing that I have found, was actually so much easier to do than I would ever have felt that would have been.

Question:
Don. since you've been home and you've lost a lot of weight since you've been home, what kept you motivated? What's motivated you since you've been home?

Don Evans:
You know, my trainer and I have actually talked about this and motivation is kind of fleeting. It comes and goes and I guess the better way for me to put it anyway, after talking to my trainers, it's the commitment. I honestly have such a strong commitment to do this for a number of reasons. One I don't want to disappoint my family, I don't want to disappoint all the people out there who are watching and are candidly probably wondering if I'm going to be able to do this. The commitment that I have now as a result of being able to make so many significant changes, it just continues.

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