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The Biggest Loser Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

This is an interview with Bonnie Griffin on November 16, 2011 about the show The Biggest Loser.

Bonnie Griffin

Question:
When Anna was your trainer there was such an obvious tension between you two and then you had such a deep connection with Dolvett. Can you take us through both these relationship and why were they so different?

Bonnie Griffin:
There were three trainers on the ranch and I can honestly say each trainer had their own way of getting us to the goal that we set. And I think I can honestly say from the beginning I told Anna up on the scale maybe the first and second week that I was ready to take on the second chapter of my life and I knew that she was going to lead me to do it. And Anna did the best with what she had to work with is what I can say. I mean I am a 63-year-old woman, went on the ranch with bone-on-bone knee and I could say with the help of her I was able to fool them all when they thought I was going to leave the first week.

I fooled them and I became the cat with nine lives and I made nine weeks. So she did remarkably well. I mean everybody has personality conflicts but it was just fine. I mean it was just the knee issues that I had some of the things were harder to do than other people. But then when Dolvett came on board I guess he more or less worked around some of my knee issues more than maybe Anna did. But I cannot thank Anna enough. She led me for six weeks towards the goal that I wanted and I will always have her to thank for it.

Question:
What can you tell people over 50 to take charge of their health but don't have a trainer in their life?

Bonnie Griffin:
One thing that I really was trying to get out to people who are considered senior citizens is that many, many seasons I sat and watched Biggest Loser also and sat and ate the wrong things as I was watching all these wonderful people lose weight. So now that I could say I experienced this I know that if you can't walk, like that was my problem before I mean I had bone-on-bone knee and it was a struggle for me.

If you can't do things like that, just the fact of sitting on a chair and getting up and down any way you can find that you can get your heart rate going is a positive for you. You know it's not just about nutrition. You need to get some form of exercise in your life also. And that's what I am trying to get out to the world is that no matter how old you are, no matter what your disability is, you can work around it and do something for your health and welfare.

Question:
What was the easiest and the hardest thing after you returned home from the ranch?

Bonnie Griffin:
I can honestly say the hardest thing was to set up a time and I didn't even have to find a gym because Biggest Loser found one for me. So that was wonderful and I had a trainer there just waiting for me. It was just setting up what time I was going to go to the gym since I didn't have the convenience of just walking from my dormitory to the gym like I did in California.

Going to store was hard for me to just shop again as that was a convenience that was offered to us. We had somebody shop at the grocery store for us. So just getting my food plan together was kind of hard. Once I started doing the gym it just all worked into play. You know it's I'm one of the lucky ones there. I'm retired so I had more time to get my plan set than some of these other people that had to go back to work. So I was lucky in that respect.

Question:
What;s next for Bonnie? I mean what are your goals now?

Bonnie Griffin:
I want to go on trips, I want to see the world, I'm going to Disney World at Mardi Gras time and I don't have to rent hopefully a wheelchair like I did last time. So that is my biggest plan and I want so bad to - I would love to do some motivational talking just to let people see how happy I am with my new life and my healthy body and that anybody can do it no matter what age you are.

Question:
You have a soft spot for teachers. Can you tell us a little bit about where that comes from?

Bonnie Griffin:
My oldest sister Maureen was actually in the convent for 10 years of her life. She was a nun, okay we are catholic. And she spent 10 years there devoting her life, not getting paid to be a teacher to teach our children in this world. And she eventually got out and went to teaching again. I just feel like all of her life she devoted so much time and teachers are never paid enough.

And my warm spot for the teachers on this show was especially for John, he teaches high school, mentally challenged children and you know I have a mentally challenged grandson. That really did something deep to me that I saw somebody that actually taught and put their life out for these children. Becky at one time did teach mentally challenged children and I think now she is teaching seventh grade. So it's just, yes I do have a special spot in my heart for teachers that teach normal children and mentally challenged children. So that was from Day One as I saw I was improving and actually losing, I knew that the money was not my goal. I knew it was a game but that as I succeeded I knew I was already a winner. So that is why I gave my spot up.

Question:
What was it like for you and your family to watch you on TV on this show and how do you feel about how you were portrayed?

Bonnie Griffin:
The good ways I was portrayed I feel very blessed. I don't read the computer I have sisters that go in and read some of the negative stuff and I tell them I don't want to hear it because I feel like I succeeded no matter how old I am. I did what I set out to do there. When my family, we had a premiere party at my daughter's house and it was just so much fun, them watching a part of what I was doing the whole summer I was gone.

And last night we had a finale party at a very good friend of mine's house and I could say I actually sat there and cried watching Bonnie cry on TV. I was known as the tear bag and I said I am sorry it just comes naturally. It's not something that I - I don't have to press any buttons it's just original

Question:
I wanted to talk a little bit about your relationship with Dolvett and how he was able to connect with you and the last few weeks your weigh ins have been really impressive, kind of the best you had all season. So what was it about Dolvett that connected with you?

Bonnie Griffin:
I just think that Dolvett and I meshed a little bit better. He had a lot of inspirational comments to make after we even worked out I guess it's just, everybody's personality is different. And Dolvett tried like different workouts being I had bone-on-bone in the situation when I tried to walk on a treadmill.

And Dolvett put me on a spin bike and I mean I might not have gotten up on that spin bike but I sure burned a lot of calories just spinning very fast and it didn't bother my knee. So it just was a different relationship but all in all I cannot thank both of them enough for helping me getting through the journey that I accomplished on that ranch.

Question:
Because of your knee I'm wondering if it has improved at all at home and do you plan on competing in the marathon?

Bonnie Griffin:
I have intentions of going up there. We'll see, okay. I mean I have intentions maybe going up to cheer my team on and maybe even trying to start the marathon but I am going to see how much my knee can do.

Question:
The holidays are just around the corner, so I'm curious if you are concerned at all with everything the holidays are surrounded upon?

Bonnie Griffin:
At first I was kind of trying to set my goal a little bit lower just because I was afraid of holidays but I am seeing now that I've been on so many programs and so many diets in my life. And I can remember myself in the past going on the scale and weighing in and maybe losing three or four pounds and leaving the meeting and going right to eating wrong. You know I don't see Bonnie being like that anymore.

The temptations are right in front of me. I guess you can put temptations in front of you always but I have learned so much and I feel so good that going back to the old Bonnie is not what I ever want to do and so God willing I could stay this size and just keep burning. And if I do eat bites of something it's all about in moderation I could see myself maybe trying something that looks absolutely good but just don't eat a whole lot of it.

Question:
What's something that you are looking forward to now that you couldn't do before all the weight loss?

Bonnie Griffin:
My biggest thing that I said on the ranch and I could do this now is I have a two year old grandchild and I couldn't get on a floor and play with her because I couldn't get up. And now I mean from Dolvett making me do these bear crawls on the ranch back and forth, back and forth. I get down on that floor and I just get up like a bear crawl. It's not a problem now.

Question:
What specifically are your healthy eating tips?

Bonnie Griffin:
I eat a lot of fish for dinner and chicken breast. I like to buy the non-processed turkey that the grocery stores originally bake there in the store. It has so much less sodium in it and I like to eat fiber bread and I make sandwiches with a lot of lettuce and tomato on it. And that for breakfast I may eat some egg whites I might eat a thin bagel and then a lot of greens, a lot of green veggies for dinner and for my lunch. So I am not seeming to have a problem with my food intake here back home. And so I'm just taking it a day at a time.

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

Bonnie Griffin:
My biggest challenge was my knee. My biggest challenge was to find things that Bonnie could do that would not aggravate the knee.

Question:
It seemed at the very end just before going into elimination but there were no hesitations on your part about telling everybody that you should be the one to go home. Was it something you had thought about before or was that a spur of the moment decision?

Bonnie Griffin:
It really was a spur of the moment decision because I was sort of excited when I saw that I was getting closer to makeover week and I thought that was going to be a boot to see how they would dress an old lady and make me look better. But it was just a spur of the moment when Becky went under the yellow line with me that was when I made my decision and it was a good decision. I mean I am happier, I'm so happy I did it, you know and so happy I gave Becky a chance to keep going.

Question:
I know there were some really heartfelt goodbyes at the end and such nice things that the other contestants were saying about you. Do you really feel you have made friend for life on the ranch?

Bonnie Griffin:
They will be my family away from home forever. I've gotten so many texts during the show last night just from each and every one of them it just felt so good. The love that we have for each other is something that you just can't imagine could grow within three months. You know, but we all had the same goals and we just really bonded well with each other. And yes it will be family forever.

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