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The Biggest Loser Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

This is an interview with Roy Pickler on February 15, 2012 about the show The Biggest Loser.

Roy Pickler

Question:
After Adrian was voted out you were the first to stand beside Daphne when you all got back inside the house. How did you view the Adrian situation and all the drama that went on?

Roy Pickler:
It was a difficult situation. Adrian got caught in a lot of controversy and not all of it was of his doing. I often talked to Adrian about it wasn't a question of what he was saying, he was being honest with people. It was sometimes a question of the timing and he wasn't the only one guilty of that. So I felt for him and I still am in touch with Adrian and consider him a friend.

Question:
Can you tell us how Biggest Loser has affected you and Chris as a couple and how will your lives change?

Roy Pickler:
Two weeks prior to getting voted off Chris and I both had what we term meltdowns, emotional meltdowns. And we went off and worked our interpersonal time together, were doing workouts off camera and when the groups weren't together. And often before the workouts started in a day we were already pretty exhausted by the time we got through our workouts. And I think that led to the group suspecting we weren't giving it our all when in reality we were just tired. So we had a chance to work through our personal issues and it just strengthened our marriage.

Question:
Thinking back to when you first arrived on the show, how different were your expectations from what the reality was?

Roy Pickler:
It met my expectations. It was grueling. And I was out to do two things. I didn't want to leave anything on the workout floor as far as energy so I wanted to make sure I gave every exercise my all. And obviously I didn't know how much that all was because I passed out in the first workout. But it was as difficult as any of us made it and for me it was tough. It was as tough as anything I've ever done in my life.

Question:
What do you think is the most important thing you learned from being on the show?

Roy Pickler:
Right along the same line. I learned that if you really give it your all that you may fall flat on your face but when you get back up you can show the world what you're made of and you'll get another chance to show it again. And you also have the opportunity then to find out that sometimes you can do more than you think you can. So that's what life is all about and we don't need to hold ourselves back ever.

Question:
I had a chance to see your very candid Facebook post this morning in which you said you kind of regretted not communicating better with your team and you're obviously a very skilled communicator. What do you wish you would have imparted to them?

Roy Pickler:
The group was very compassionate and had they known that the wife and I were working out and working through our own personal issues they probably would have understood and I probably wouldn't have been voted off when I was. But the other thought, and somebody had to go home and no matter who it was going to be it was going to be painful. So it was a time when I had some other distractions and honestly in hindsight it was probably a good thing for me to be leaving. So I would have liked to have stayed because I love challenges but some challenges have occurred here at home too so I'm thankful for my time there.

Question:
Can you expand on what the distractions you had?

Roy Pickler:
For my wife it was the thing that she hadn't seen her kids in nine weeks and she missed them a whole lot. She wanted to go home with Bob for that week and have his full time attention. She had asked for that the night before during weigh-in. And so for her the distraction was that whole thing with Bob and Daphne. Daphne had just been home the week before.

So that bothered her and she was having some difficulty dealing with that and I was trying to help her and obviously not doing very well at that. So that was my distraction as it turns out. There was other things going on but that's the main thing. So we had to work through that together and we did it while we were working out and as a result I was exhausted when I came to the workouts.

Question:
Could you tell me about your work with the Boys and Girls Club?

Roy Pickler:
My stepkids all go there. Chris and I have a contracting business and sometimes we find ourselves working later than when the kids get out of school. So we have made arrangements for them to go to Boys and Girls Club after school and then we always pick them up there. But in addition to that, every year I have voluntarily served as a Santa Claus for them. And I love kids and that was an opportunity for me to give back a little bit to the community. Kids have too many negative distractions nowadays and it's just my way of giving a positive intervention in their life. So I have done both of those things and I love working with kids outside of Boys and Girls Club too so it's all of the above and it just fits so well.

Question:
At the end of the show your card said that you hoped to start an outdoor adventure camp for kids. Is that something that's in the works or is that just sort of a hope and dream at this point?

Roy Pickler:
No it's in the works. I have been involved with scouting programs for 25 years and there's a program called Adventure Scouts for boys and girls 14 to 21. I have taken them on high adventure trips for almost 25 years and I'm going to again be restarting that group this summer when Chris gets back from her time at the ranch and then we're going to do that together.

Question:
Tell me about working with Dolvett. How you find him as a trainer and what you really learned from him?

Roy Pickler:
Dolvett is an outstanding individual. I can't tell you how much he means to me. He's very compassionate, very loving, and very skilled. He's a very competent trainer. I think he lacks a little bit in experience but he's coming up fast. And I think our red team this year gave him the opportunity to compete more head-to-head with Bob and win a few weigh-ins and win a lot of challenges and I just love Dolvett to death. He's a great person. And we've stayed in touch since I've left the ranch too.

Question:
You think the red team has what it takes, someone on the red team to win?

Roy Pickler:
Oh no doubt about it. I'm not much of a betting person but I wouldn't put any of my remaining team members out of the running. I think they're all right in there. So I don't know who is going to win it but I know one of them will. In fact I would bet on one of the members from the red team being the overall champion.

Question:
What has it been like since you've been back now that you're not in that strict programming and you're kind of trying to do that more on your own?

Roy Pickler:
It has been quite a wonderful journey out here in Middlebury. The town is a small Amish community and I guess my beard makes me stick out like a sore thumb. And so every time I go for a bike ride or a run or a walk I get people honking and waving. So it's a big lift for me to be seen out in public and working out. And a lot of people come alongside me. There's quite a few people in the community that work out with me on a regular basis. And I want to help people make that first step so it's all welcome.

Question:
You won your age division in a race recently here in Elkhart. How did that feel to cross the finish line and then find out that you had won and that you could do that when you said you hadn't run in however many years?

Roy Pickler:
I think it has been 27 years near as I can figure. It was a pretty big surprise. I barely was able to finish the race but I did so with probably the last 1/4 or 1/2 mile running. I did walk on several occasions and met some amazing people but then had to struggle to get to the finish line.

And while I was resting I saw them bring the race results out. I just thought I was going over to get my race time and then to see my name in bold and a #1 beside it, I thought how can this be? I think it's because there was only one person in my race division honestly but it was still fun to be able to say that I won first place.

Question:
Perhaps you didn't explain to your team members as much as you might have about what was going on but it still seems kind of surprising that even if they thought you were distracted or not working out hard, you still lost nine pounds. So was that kind of farsighted of them to lose somebody from the team who could help still deliver big numbers even if he was having a distracted week?

Roy Pickler:
I don't know what goes on in other people's heads and I don't like to speculate on that. But it wasn't until I saw last night's episode that I realized that those thoughts were going on and I'm not ready to judge their decision making on that. I understand where they came from now and I'm glad I understand that because it did appear to be a pre-thought out plan. It was unanimous. Everybody voted for me and I hadn't received a single vote before that date. I wish that we had a chance to talk about it just from the standpoint I'd like to clear up any misunderstandings but that's at least as much my fault as any of them and I still love every one of them.

Question:
Wouldn't it have been smarter for them to possibly lose somebody who wasn't losing as much weight, like perhaps Kimmie?

Roy Pickler:
Possibly. An engineer's mind, I'm an engineer by education and in an engineer's mind that's a logical first approach. But it was also obvious that as we went through other eliminations is that I don't have the same line of thinking as some of the rest of my team members. I think there were only two occasions where I voted with the majority of my team and this was quite a ways down the road. So I had a unique perspective and we didn't get a chance to share those often and so I was surprised they voted for me but it was the first time.

Question:
Could you tell us the story of how the whole Santa persona. How did it get started that you kind of assumed the Santa persona?

Roy Pickler:
A number of years ago I was working for a company here in Elkhart and I was leading devotionals. And the company I was working at, they had a devotional every morning of the week and I was asked to lead a devotional one morning. At the same time I was at home that evening preparing for that, I really didn't know what I was going to talk about, my wife brought up the fact that there was a Christmas party that they had in previous years and companies had offered up presents for kids in disadvantaged groups and did I have any ideas how we might be able to have a Christmas party for disadvantaged kids.

Because I was working on this devotional I thought well maybe I could bring it up in a devotional and get some support. I did and I didn't have a beard at the time but people asked me if I would be the Santa and I said well sure, I'll do that and I had to rent a costume and a beard. And I enjoyed it so much that later on when I was asked again to play the role I started growing my beard out and then I found out I had a curly white beard that fit the image exactly. So that's how it all happened. It was kind of coincidental.

Question:
Do you think you got and stayed complacent about your weight because you were Santa to so many kids and you were making them happy in that persona?

Roy Pickler:
Yes that was my excuse coming onto the ranch. I could always eat because I was building the Santa persona. But on the other hand, now that The Biggest Loser has gotten ahold of me and I have lost some weight, now I'm going to be portrayed as the healthy Santa. And since they have helped publicize that I'm just thankful for that and now I'm going to do a long life healthy Santa.

Question:
Do you have a goal weight that you're aiming towards for finale?

Roy Pickler:
I have lost let's just say most of my body fat. I don't know what I can get down to. And so what I have decided is I'm just going to try and get as lean and buff as I possibly can before the finale and at the current rate of weight loss I'm sure I can do that. My trainer says if I don't win the prize I will be the buffest Biggest Loser in the history of The Biggest Loser. So that's what my goal is. I don't have a specific number in mind but if I continue working out like I am, and I intend to do that for the rest of my life, I will be lean and buff. Overall since leaving Middlebury I have lost 92 pounds as of last weigh-in. I'm hoping that I can make that 100 pounds here within the next week or so. We'll have to see. I like round numbers.

Question:
When you're around kids like what do you tell them to get them to stay healthy and exercise?

Roy Pickler:
One of the things we heard at the ranch often was that if we had exercised at the level we were at the ranch that any of us were at a level that we could become Olympians. So when I see young people that are able to outperform my athletic abilities I tell them the same thing, that any of them could set their sights on the goal of being an Olympian and they could do it. So I am trying to encourage people to raise their sights. They can't achieve that unless they start early in life. So that's my message is let's not only work out to stay healthy but let's reach for the stars. And I'm hoping I'm making the impact, I think I am.

Question:
You've been around Middlebury and it has been overwhelmingly positive since you got back?

Roy Pickler:
Very much so. I get encouragement everywhere I go and I guess you can't have a white curly beard through Middlebury, there's a lot of Amish here but their beards are a little different, without being recognized readily. And so I enjoy that status.

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