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The Biggest Loser Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

This is an interview with Joe Mitchell on November 9, 2011 about the show The Biggest Loser.

Joe Mitchell

Question:
Can you share your feelings about being betrayed by Vinny and Antone last night?

Joe Mitchell:
The Biggest Loser has really been an amazing experience. And unfortunately part of it is a game. And we signed up for it; that is kind of the deal. I talked with Vinny yesterday and we laughed about it. And I consider Vinny a dear friend of mine. It's just part of the process. I don't hold any grudges or I was a threat and I understand that and so it's okay. It truly is.

Question:
How was your experience having Bob and then Anna? Did it play a part in your downfall?

Joe Mitchell:
I will say unequivocally that the trainer had nothing to do with my downfall. It was hard leaving Bob. Bob helped me in so many ways. He showed me that weight loss was possible. And I always will appreciate that he showed me it was possible. Anna made me believe that I could do it. Anna, to me, was an amazing trainer. She has affected my life, my family for generations because she fixed my thinking and she truly made me know that I could do this and that helped prepare me to go home. I was so fortunate to have Bob and Anna both. I had a tremendous week the week before and sometimes your body just takes a break and that's what happened.

Question:
Having had a chance to work with the other trainers and Bob what you found to be so valuable from Bob and maybe what you ended up surprising yourself and learning from the other trainers as well?

Joe Mitchell:
Bob knows this game better than anyone. He's been with the show from the beginning. He was tremendous in the gym. And it was the first time in my life that I had ever really lost weight so it was just natural to have that dependency to think if I lose Bob I've never been able to do it before; I won't.

And that was the whole thing when all of us went through this to an extent when we had our trainers changed. But like I said Anna got in my head and made me realize that, yes, I can lose weight but it was me that was doing it. And she did so much to drill into our heads that really at the end of the day the only person you can count on is yourself. And that did so much to get me ready to go home. I had no fear because she's fixed that part of me. And I appreciate that so much. And she prepared me for that.

And Dolvett was just amazing. I've got to work with him some on camera. And on dark days they didn't do a lot of filming but Dolvett and Anna they will work you out; they didn't care whose team you were on. They were there to get you healthy. And we just had three tremendous trainers. And I appreciate all three of them. I truly do.

Question:
What you did maybe take away from Devon that you're implementing at home with your own healthy cooking now?

Joe Mitchell:
I told Devon this when I met her that I was a fan of hers before I met her. When she had her TV show, which she would do her quick and easy recipes, my wife had went in the hospital and was pretty much bed ridden for a couple weeks. And that was the only time in my life I ever cooked.

This was like three years ago and I was taping Devon's show trying to see how I could do something quick and easy to feed the family while my wife was in bed. And I told her that. I said she helped me at that time in my life. But she was just such a sweet genuine lady and I really enjoyed getting actually to meet her.

Question:
What was the hardest and the easiest part about returning home been with your wife?

Joe Mitchell:
The easiest part was just to be back with my family and kids. It was just so good to see them. And I was afraid my little man, my son, wouldn't remember me. And it was so funny because when they came to the airport he just comes running up to me, grabs my face and just says where have you been daddy? And so it was just so good to be home with them. I've been fortunate the transition hasn't been that hard. I mean, like I said, I may sound like a broken record but Anna did so much to my thinking that I was prepared to make this change. And, yes, I do a lot of planning now. I've got to make sure

But the hardest part is just making sure you plan your day before your day begins so that you don't have to come in to making quick decisions on what to eat and where to eat. And hopefully you know that morning where all your meals are coming from before the day even starts. And that's probably been the toughest.

Question:
Who do you think will win the show ultimately? Why?

Joe Mitchell:
People ask me all the time and I don't know, I truly don't. I know who I'm pulling for and I grew so close to Sunny and Ramon while we were on the show. And I love both of those guys. And I know my heart is with those two, but I don't know; I don't know who's going to win this thing and who's going to be even in the final three at this point. But I know it'll be an exciting battle, I guarantee you.

Question:
What are your healthy eating tips?

Joe Mitchell:
A lot of people ask me this all the time. And the first thing I tell people is first and foremost you have got to be documenting every single thing you do. And that is the one thing I've probably done even better since I've come home is there are so many great iPhone or Android apps you can put on your phone. But you've got to document everything you are eating so that you're not lying to yourself. You have to know what's going in. And that is my number one tip I tell people. Because people can fool themselves and they eat a lot more than they think they do. And that was my problem.

And the second thing I tell folks is again is plan. You know, don't ever have a meal by accident. You know, know what your game plan is even if you are going out to eat, if you're going to go somewhere you've got to know in the back of your head what you're going to do when you get there so that you don't make any spur of the moment choices that are going to put you behind as far as weight loss or what your body needs.

Question:
What would you say was your biggest challenge on this journey?

Joe Mitchell:
The hardest thing was just being away from my family. I mean, we are a very, very close knit group. I mean, we always kid ourselves and call ourselves the Mitchell Four and that was the hardest part was not having contact for that long of period with my family. But it was very worth it. And I had nothing but incredible support from them the whole time. But it was good to be back with them.

Question:
What went through your mind when you heard about the twist with the trainers choosing one person to weigh in for each team?

Joe Mitchell:
I knew Sunny was nervous about it because her weight loss had kind of been up and down. I knew she worked hard. I knew Ramon worked hard. But I knew Sunny didn't really want to be there because she was concerned because she had big numbers and then maybe not so great numbers at times. Ramon emotionally he was upset. And we knew how emotions and stress can affect the body. And I just kind of felt like hey, that's fine, I'll be happy to step up and do this and I'll do my absolute best.

But although I can say from the bottom of my heart I wouldn't have cared if she'd have chose Ramon or Sunny. I had total confidence in both of them. They're extremely hard workers and they did nothing but ever just bust their butt on that ranch. So it was just one of those weeks that our bodies took a break and that's just part of it at times unfortunately. Mine came at the wrong time.

Question:
What did you say to your fellow contestants to try and get them not to vote you off?

Joe Mitchell:
I was in the worst position possible. Sunny was probably my closest friend on the ranch and is to this day. I've said many a time, and I do feel she is a sister to me; she truly is. And I You want to fight for yourself to an extent but it was the worst person in the world I could have been fighting against because either way it was going to be a bad night; either I was going home or Sunny was going home and it wasn't going to be good either way. It really wasn't a lot of deliberations; everybody kind of knew where we stood and we knew how close Sunny and I were. And it was, like I said, it was just my time and that's okay.

Question:
You said that Anna fixed your thinking which is a really big concept to wrap our minds around. Can you just tell me a little bit more about what you mean by that?

Joe Mitchell:
Anna would just say over and over again to Ramon and to Sunny and I how you are doing this; don't you get dependent on or me or Dolvett. And she said it over and over again until the point it was almost a joke. But then we realized what she's saying is she's letting us know you lost this weight; Bob didn't lose it. You can't be dependent on Bob. And you can't be dependent on Dolvett. You did this. And that is where she fixed my thinking is she made me realize that yes, I lost this weight. And it was me that did it.

I never had to seek anybody's permission to continue. I could just, when I went home, I just had to do what I was trained to do. And truly she was phenomenal about that. And she's such a strong woman that you realize that her mindset I think is because she was a tennis player. You know, for many years all she could count on was herself; she didn't have a team to play with. And I think that's why. And it did, for whatever reason with me it clicked and fixed it. And I can't thank her enough.

Question:
What do you say to all those people who think that they actually can't do it on their own?

Joe Mitchell:
I was there; I can get it, I get it 100%. But the funny thing is we did nothing on this ranch that I could not have done 20 years earlier. I mean, that's the sad part but it's the reality. It is simply eating the right food and doing the exercise. And so you you've got to realize that it was such an incredible blessing to be given this opportunity to go on this ranch. But I could have done it years ago. I mean, I could have been riding coasters years ago. And that was part of my thinking. And I just had to fix that part of my thinking. And I would just tell people is just realize in your deep heart of hearts that you can do this. And just take the simple steps everyday. And it's worth it; it is so worth it. I wished I had not waited to get on the show to fix this because it was years I wasted I wish I hadn't.

Question:
What have you been able to do and enjoy now physically that your weight is under control that you weren't able to do before?

Joe Mitchell:
So many things. It's crazy because I used to wake up every morning and it would take me 10 minutes before I could really get to moving because I would hurt or my joints would hurt or this would hurt. And I just thought it was because I was 46 years old. And it had nothing at a lot do with that. Because now I wake up and I'm immediately out of the bed. And I'm ready to go. And which helps when you have a three-year old son because he doesn't give you that 10 minutes to warm up; he is ready to go now.

And things like the other day I went to go play tennis with my daughter. A friend of mine asked me if I wanted to go play tennis. And the first time I ever stepped on a tennis court and played it was with Anna Kournikova. And I had to laugh and I was like well I kind of have a high standard of who I play with because if you won Wimbledon I'm not sure I can play with you.

But I did. I went and played with my daughter. And, yes, neither one of us are probably playing Wimbledon any time soon but we had a great time. And that never would have happened if it hadn't been for the Biggest Loser. And little things like that; being able to just go for a walk with my wife and not hurt or keep asking can we go home now, can we go home now?

Question:
I know you have a very regimented diet now but everyone has their cheat day or their cheat meal; what do you still let yourself indulge in?

Joe Mitchell:
Frozen yogurt; I love frozen yogurt. Manci's is where I go. That is my cheat. If I have a cheat day every 8-10 days I'm heading to Manci's and I want some frozen yogurt. I don't add all the candy and all that on it; I still with the fruit and things like that. But that was something I used to eat all the time. I mean candy bars and these things I ate everyday. It has to happen and unfortunately this isn't something people want to do but I had to retrain my taste buds. I had to retrain what tasted good to me.

We had a birthday party for my son, he turned three a couple weeks ago. And, you know what, I had a piece of cake. It's my boy's birthday, I'm going to have a piece of cake. But I planned for it and I made sure I knew okay this is his birthday coming up in four days and I'm going to get an extra 5-10 minutes of cardio every day just to make sure so when that time comes I'm going to enjoy this cake and I'm not going to feel guilty.

But I'm not going to also eat it everyday and things like that. So you plan for those treats. And that is and that was another thing that Anna stressed to us all the time and even Bob said the same thing, food cannot have control over you. You've just got to realize there is a time and place for things. And as long as you are 80%-90% of the time eating right then there are going to come those times. And when they do come you've got to enjoy them and enjoy that moment but then move on. And that's kind of my mindset now.

Question:
Do you have a goal weight that you are trying to reach?

Joe Mitchell:Question:
What would you do if you did win the at-home prize?

Joe Mitchell:
My family have already told me that the first thing is they've been wanting a trip to Hawaii so I think we would have to take that because my family sacrificed so much for me to be there. We sold my truck, the only truck we had we sold our truck. And my wife went back to work and these things because they were supporting me. And that's invaluable to have that kind of love and support from your family. Nothing but gotten better since I got home. So definitely a good trip with them to reward them for their commitment to our goal here.

Question:
Do you have any secret weapon foods for weight loss?

Joe Mitchell:
My biggest thing is when I get to the gym I don't ever do the same routine. One of my secrets would be is you've got to change things up all the time even to the point that don't do if you're going to do 30 minutes of cardio don't do 30 minutes on elliptical do eight minutes on elliptical and nine minutes on a bike and six minutes on a rowing machine and just change it up constantly; don't let your body ever adjust.

And that is what I find gives me the best burn because my body can never get used to anything. And I change up the times all that stuff. I'll do three 10s or I'll do a nine, eight and seven or whatever. But I always make sure I go station to station and hit it as fast as I can, as hard as I can but always changing things up definitely is a big secret for me.

And then as far as foods I never ate fish before I went on the show. I love tilapia now; it's a great source of protein. And Greek yogurt is definitely in my refrigerator; I've got a lot of it. And one of my favorite deserts I have now is I'll take some Greek yogurt with a little bit of cocoa powder, just a little bit, and a couple packs of Truvia, mix it up. And man I am happy. I mean, that is a good chocolaty treat that definitely satisfied me yet it's got a lot of protein and I don't have to feel bad about eating it.

Question:
What would you say is the greatest lesson you've learned from your time on the Biggest Loser ranch?

Joe Mitchell:
I think the greatest lesson is just that this is so worth doing. I should have done this years ago and that it's so worth doing. And that the best lesson is the fact that you can do it; all you've got to do is just believe in yourself. And that is the bottom line you've just got to believe in yourself and you can make things happen.

Question:
Was it a bit awkward working out with Ramon after Jessica was voted off? And did you guys ever end up having that discussion or talk?

Joe Mitchell:
We did, we did. From the bottom of my heart Ramon is probably my dearest friend, him and Sunny, from the show. I love both of those guys so much. I talk to them a lot. And ironically and not at the same time not ironically the first person I spoke to when I was sent off the ranch was Jess. And Jess and I talk about every other day. I care deeply about those guys.

It was just a matter of Jess, Ramon and Vinny were on the Red Team and were aligned and I knew that. And Antone and Sunny and I were aligned. And that had nothing to do with friendships. But we did talk. And Ramon was upset and I understood him being upset; I got it. I was upset; I didn't necessarily like voting Jess off. And if I was in Ramon's shoes I would have been just as mad and I understood that.

We talked about it. And I explained to him it was the fact that I was doing everything I could to keep the Blue Team there. It's one of things that if I could go back I probably would change. Probably nothing; I would change that vote; that was a mistake I made. I do definitely consider Jess and Ramon both some of my dearest friends. And I'm just excited for their future because I know it's very good.

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