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The Biggest Loser Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

This is an interview with Jessica Limpert on November 2, 2011 about the show The Biggest Loser.

Jessica Limpert

Question:
You got a lot of grief from Anna when your relationship with Ramona was revealed last week. From your perspective how do you think the relationship both helped or hindered your performance in the gym?

Jessica Limpert:
Anna did give us a lot of grief. But in the end she kind of saw the same thing that we were trying to prove this whole time. But people are going to doubt us because of the situation that we're in. But we push each other so much. Ramona and I want to beat each other and everything. And we want to push each other even harder every single time we're together. And we really use the grief that we got from Anna and anybody else as even more motivation to push us even harder to prove everybody wrong because as individuals we're strong and we're if you want to say big threats but together we're going to be even stronger. And we're going to kick some butt.

Question:
Tell me about this Pittsburgh Steelier's hookup. How did you come to workout with them?

Jessica Limpert:
That was the coolest thing. I have a sponsorship through Cannondale Bikes and my rep is also friends with some of the Steelers. And she had hooked me up with the athletic trainer's phone number. And I really just made a couple calls, told him the situation that I'm a Pittsburgh girl and loved the Steelers and I'm looking for some (my) workouts and within no time they were there and by my side and pushing me even harder as I was on the ranch. So it was a nice welcome home.

Question:
It must have been devastating to have the Red Team pulled apart and losing both Ramona and Vinny. Tell us how difficult it was to go through and to rebuild on a new team?

Jessica Limpert:
It was probably the hardest part of the season because I had such a strong bond with both of those boys. We were together 24 hours a day literally doing everything together. And with the flip of a switch they're gone and now I've got John and Bonnie. And but unfortunately I signed up for a show that this could happen so I had to be okay with it. And I was here for myself; I wasn't here to work with certain people.

And so I had to remember that focus and remember that regardless of who's on my team I've got to push to make sure that we win or that I stay. And that's exactly what I had to do so during that week we had to reestablish stronger bonds between myself and John and myself and Bonnie. Which Bonnie and I are close to begin with so that was an easy transition for me.

Question:
You've spoken several times about self esteem. Can you share losing it as well as gaining it back, it's such an important issue for so many young women today.

Jessica Limpert:
I think when you lose your self esteem as a woman who's in a size 22 pants weighing 254 plus pounds, self esteem's almost gone. And you lose it over time and you don't realize that it's gone until you get to the point where you don't find hope and you don't feel happy. And you don't even feel comfortable walking by a mirror let alone a window because you see your reflection and it makes you feel even worse.

And and it took so long for me to realize that but then I did and that's what kind of sparked me to be able to change that and to try to rebuild. And from losing that weight and gaining the confidence and learning to respect myself and have a better self esteem of myself because I realized how important that it was that unless you love yourself and feel confident about yourself you're still a weak person regardless.

You know, you have to have that building block behind you to be successful. And that's exactly what I did while I was at the ranch each and every day I had to deal with issues emotionally and mentally and build myself to be a strong person not only on that side but as a the physical side. And that built the self esteem and that showed me that I am worth it; I am worth the time and I am worth the respect and I'm going to demand it from now on.

Question:
What was your take on why they decided to vote for you instead of Bonnie?

Jessica Limpert:
I gave Joe a lot of grief last night about that too. You know what it comes down to strategy. And I said no hard feelings and I really do feel that way because if I were on the other side of the bench and I had to vote for somebody else or in this case Bonnie I would pull the same thing. You've got to protect yourself at that length of the game. And you want to get the bigger competitors out because you know you can beat the other ones or you know you're a little bit stronger. So I totally understood that. I mean, it really stunk that I was the one that had to go home but to be going home as a threat or a big competitor I'm okay with. I'd rather do that than go home because I was weak or annoying or that they didn't like me.

Question:
What is it like to sit there and listen to your boyfriend just gush his heart out on national television calling you the love of his life?

Jessica Limpert:
It's very hard to take because I have said from the beginning I'm a very private person and a lot of this stuff is hard to share. But on the flip side, like we met on the show and it makes sense and that's why wanted to share it with people because I think it gives people hope that once you feel good about yourself you can do that. It's very strange and it's very weird to me when he says I love you on TV. But it's very real. And I hope people can see. And and I'm okay with it. You know, at first I was like oh my god did he really just do that? But at the same time I'm like I love him too and I want everybody to know just like he does. And we're okay with it.

Question:
When they showed you giving piggyback rides to Anton and then was it Larry Foote, how could you stand upright afterwards?

Jessica Limpert:
What's funny and they didn't show is that at first they Bob said all right Jess, get on Anton's back. And I'm like no way, like there's no way I'm going to break his back, you know. And then on the flip side he wanted Anton on my back and I'm like you are on something because he's huge and I'm not as big as him. But you put me up towards a challenge and I'm going to take it. Loved it, like that was one of my favorite parts. And I felt cool. I loved when I finally was able to figure it out and get him on my back and run with it.

Question:
In training for a marathon do you have any set protocol as far as mileage that you aim?

Jessica Limpert:
I do. I actually went home and I found myself a marathon trainer, Suzie Albert, who works over at Deans in Marysville. And she's a super-duper trainer. She's run crazy ultra 130 miles herself. So she put me on a strict three-day a week training schedule. And we would do a three mile run our first run which was crazy. And then in two days then we ran five miles and then on Sundays were our long runs and we would do anywhere from 8-14 miles. And each week we increased that by like an extra mile. And, yeah, thanks to her like there's no way I would be able to do what I can do now if it weren't for her putting me on this schedule and making me do it every three days at 7:00 am.

Question:
We saw the Steelers helping you train for the marathon. What did they have you doing?

Jessica Limpert:
I did some running drills with Ike Taylor and what we were doing were sprint runs for about 25 minutes. And it's actually what he does on his off days. And so we were running pretty fast at like 9.0 speed. And we'd run for 30 seconds and then take a breather for 30 seconds then kept doing that. And then I got tossed over to Larry Foote where he was doing a lot of running fields with me, a lot of speed work because you've got to get your speed work done as well as your defense. And so both of those together really got me going.

Question:Jessica Limpert:
I will definitely be back in December. I did have to unfortunately start back to work. I'm a little poor so I had to go back to work so I could afford the food that I need to eat. But, yeah, I am back out here working.

Question:
What was your conversation like with Ramona after you got voted off?

Jessica Limpert:
We got a unique situation. Normally you do not talk to other contestants once you're voted off. But we were pretty upset so they made a little exception for us and it was more of a motivational talk between us. You could see on TV that we love each other and it's sad every once in a while. But when we were talking privately it was you need to stay motivated. And he reminded me of what was at stake and that I needed to go home and work off my butt for this marathon. And I reminded him that I might not be here but I'm in your head and you'd better be working hard and you'd better be kicking Sunny and Joe's butt. So it was more of a motivational talk than anything.

Question:
What has been your diet and exercise routine that you've been working on at home?

Jessica Limpert:
I'm back in the real life but I'm trying to stick to the ranch life. It's very, very healthy, it's very common sense. It's eating every 2.5-3 hours and maintaining a good caloric diet. And I'm spreading that over evenly throughout the day and I'm making sure that I get five meals a day. You know, eating my proteins and my fruits and vegetables, lots of green vegetables. And I'm trying to work out; I'm not doing as much as I've been on the ranch which is typically eight hours but once you're back in the real life it's hard. So I try to get in about four hours a day. And I'm still battling the injuries that have actually gotten worse so I'm really stuck to riding my bike so I do the bike all over town.

Question:Jessica Limpert:
From the beginning I did not want to have any regrets. I didn't want to go home having a regret that I could have done something differently. And I really don't. I mean, honestly this past week if I would have worked a little bit harder, if I would have put in an extra hour, if I would have worked and lost an extra pound I could have been possibly the Biggest Loser this week which is tough to swallow and that could have saved me. But at the same time I have enjoyed every moment. And I put in 100% every moment. And I can't look back and regret anything. I think it was a fantastic experience and I would do it again.

Question:
What's the most important thing you learned during your time at the ranch?

Jessica Limpert:
The most important thing is you have to have focus on yourself. You know, and I know that was brought up quite a bit especially once the relationship was about to surface. But I take home I have to have respect for myself. I have to remember my goals. And I have to put myself first before anybody else. And so I feel like I'm at the goal and I feel good. And that's exactly what I do; I live by saying hard work and dedication every day of my life. And I take him with me every day. And that's what pushes me to be a little bit stronger and a little bit more focused every moment of every day.

Question:
Before you left the ranch you said you were a little nervous about going home and being away from the whole ranch. Was it easier than you thought or did you face some challenges back at home?

Jessica Limpert:
At first it was a nice transition. I'm very, very, very fortunate for my family. They put me in my house; I didn't have to worry about the bills and my sister took care of me financially. And that's a big battle in itself. I think more than anything it was trying to remember to be accountable for myself to continue my food journals and to make sure that I'm still eating every 2-3 hours and making sure I'm hitting my caloric burn. And I think that was the hardest thing at first because I don't have anybody else around to push me; I don't have anybody doing the same thing as me. So I had to remember that it this is still going on and it's still just as important as it was when I had the 14 other contestants by my side. So that was probably the biggest and hardest readjustment.

Question:
What are some things that you're looking forward to doing now that you've lost the weight?

Jessica Limpert:
I've talked a million times about this bucket list. That's exactly my plan. I want to continue to get healthy and then I want to start crossing those things off. I want to go skydiving. I want to go bungee jumping and rock climbing and everything that I was never allowed to do because I was too big I want to do it. And I want to help others get to that point too. I'm also in the point I love to do charity work and I'm looking into possibly getting a foundation started to help fight childhood obesity. And those are my plans for the next year. I really want to get that off the ground.

Question:
They never really showed anything about your injury on the show and I was just wondering if you could tell us a little bit about what you were dealing with?

Jessica Limpert:
They actually didn't focus on it which is cool with me. But as many people saw there were so knee braces on my knees. I did have stress fractures on my left knee. And I was actually told by Dr. Huizenga that I wasn't allowed to walk. But he kind of knew that was not going to happen. So I was stuck in the pool with Jennifer for a little while and the spin bike. And that one challenge you saw I was beating the spin bike up pretty good. I was stuck for quite a while. I've actually kind of reinjured them with the running. So I'm just battling with stress fractures and it's something very typical especially when you're overweight and you go very hard and a lot of pressure on your joints. And unfortunately it's going to take a little while to recover but that's all it is; it's nothing super exciting.

Question:
It was obviously a part of your story and you say you're okay with them not showing it. Why do you say you're okay with it?

Jessica Limpert:
Well I know they focused on Jen's and I didn't want the whole show to turn into another avenue of injuries. But so I just kind of wanted it to be like a representation that obviously Jess had something wrong with her knees or she wouldn't be wearing braces. But she's overcoming it and she's not using that as a crutch and she's not using that as a focus. And I wanted that to be pretty prevalent in the sense of I used to cry, oh my legs hurt or my feet hurt; I can't do this. But I'm like all right throw some bandages on me and let's go because I'm out of here. So that's the avenue I was trying to take.

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