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The Biggest Loser Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

This is a transcript of an interview with eliminated contestant Deni Hill and Jesse Wornum on February 23, 2011 about the show The Biggest Loser.

The Biggest Loser

Question:
Did the parents, as well as Marci, gang up and decide that you were all going to gain last night so that one or two of you could go home?

Deni Hill:
We did talk about it, yes. Yeah, we talked about it and we knew who would be the ones going home.

Jesse Wornum:
That strategy had played out. Yes, that's correct.

Question:
How are you both doing at home? Can you each just quickly tell me a little bit about what you are doing to keep losing at home?

Deni Hill:
I am working out three and a half to four hours a day. I do spin classes, I do Zumba classes, body jam. I have a trainer that works me for about an hour and a half every day, so and I'm just sticking to the diet I was on when I was there. I've upped my calories to 1200, which is where Dr. Huizenga wants me to be, so I'm doing really well. Doing great.

Jesse Wornum:
I'm working out an average an hour and a half or two hours a day six days a week. I've hit a plateau here recently where you know I haven't lost any weight for a couple of weeks, and I'm actually envious Deni that you are able to work out four hours a day, et cetera, et cetera. I have a trainer three times a week and the other three days a week that I work out I'm on my own. I'm continuing with my program and my calorie intake has increased also. I'm doing between 1500 and 1800 calories a day. So since I've been home, though I'm exercising regularly, and I feel great, and I think I'm losing some inches, I haven't really lost as much weight as I would like to, but you know that will come around.

Question:
Jesse, I was really impressed with your walking club that you've come up with. How is it going?

Jesse Wornum:
It is going fantastic. It's in its third week now and I have some folks that I've really targeted and have been on. Others I've let do as they want to do, but I've got a couple of people that I keep in touch with and make sure that they show up. This is the third week. We are progressing along and the three weeks that it has been going I was unable to really get the word out. So now that the word is out, I'm real curious as to what the turnout will be this Saturday morning. We are anticipating some very adverse weather conditions here, so you know it will be interesting. It will be interesting, but it is something that I am continuing with. And I am looking forward to some great results say down the road a year or two with some people.

Question:
Deni, are your grandkids keeping you busy?

Deni Hill:
When I got home, my daughter had another baby. So I spent the week with her taking care of her and her new baby and it was so much fun. She's got - that was here third. And you know what's great is that I have the physical strength now to keep up with them, because they are four and two and I'm not afraid to carry them downstairs anymore. They wear me out, but it's a good kind of wearing out. It's the kind you know I can keep up with, so it's great.

Question:
There's been a lot of game playing on the show and people gaining weight on purpose. What is driving people to do this and how does it affect them psychologically?

Deni Hill:
Well knowing my position for me, knowing my position in the new team being switched, and also wanting to take care of Sarah, making sure that she got to stay, that was vital to me. It was water weight that came off two days later. In fact four more. That was the purpose. To keep her safe and to make sure that you know the other young kids.

For me, I've done absolutely fantastic at home. But you know for them, you know the longer they stay there, the longer they get it mentally. They really get it. Then they will be able to change their lives. Not only their lives, but their generations to come you know. Where my kids are all grown and it's going to help them, it's going to help these kids even more.

So that was my thinking behind it. And yeah, I wish I could have stayed. I wish there would have been some other way. You know I rethink it all the time. What could I have done differently and maybe I would have - you know after rethinking, I might have done something different. I don't know, but it mostly was to say - it was to make sure that Sarah was safe.

Question:
And how would you say this game playing affects the other contestants psychologically in regards to is everyone just only trying to play the game or are people focused on losing weight?

Jesse Wornum:
The focus is definitely on and always is on losing the weight. It was really an eye opening experience for me to get there and see the game playing involved. You know it was something that I learned while I was there. How to influence the scale in a negative way and how one uses that to their advantage.

As Deni was saying, the whole purpose behind everything for me is my son needs that. You know my son needed to be there. And so you know I mean I would like to say it was a glorious act to sacrifice myself, but no I mean Arthur needed to be there period. I could not risk Arthur going home. So at that point in time, like Deni, you know I'm confident that what I learned I can take with me.

You know it appears like we are gaining weight, but there is no weight gain. All of the work that has been put into losing the weight is still there. You know here again, I don't know about Deni, but I'm sure that she probably wasn't aware that you could drink a couple of waters before - a couple of some glasses of water before you step on the scale and make it look like you've gained some weight when you haven't.

Deni Hill:
I had no idea.

Jesse Wornum:
You know you say game playing. Yeah, it was that game playing aspect that was something that's not new. That's not new at all. The only thing that's new is the magnitude in which it has played out for the audiences to see at this point in time because of all of the pluses that have come up you know. But there have been minuses that have come up that are greater than what you are seeing.

Deni Hill:
I believe these contestants are really there for the right reasons. They are there to get healthy more than they are for the game play - most of them. And I'm really proud of all of them and the effort that they are all putting in. And especially what Moses said on the show last night. That was a good point you know. I just know that all of us - that week, all of the girls were sick. They all had terrible, terrible colds and weren't able to work out as hard as we'd like to. So we just - you know we felt our chances of winning that week's weigh in were very, very slim.

Jesse Wornum:
Yeah and I will have to say it and I will say it again. You know it was not something that I agreed to easily.

Deni Hill:
Or wanted to do, right.

Jesse Wornum:
Nor wanted to do. I mean I will be honest with you. I was dead set against it all the way, and a scenario played out in my head that just could not happen. My biggest fear would be that I would finish just above the red line and Arthur would finish just below the red line. And in that scenario, he's going home and then they are sending me home. So as far as I was concerned, that could not happen. So that's the reason why I did what I did.

Question:
Could you speak about the conversation that you and Marci had and why the decision was that it would be you Denise specifically that would gain the weight. And was Marci ever a legitimate option for the weight gain and to go home or was that something that you stepped up to?

Deni Hill:So my focus was on okay Sarah has been switched here too. You know if I go, will you protect her and Marci did promise that they would. So you know that was my reasoning. Knowing the situation, knowing the chances that I had of surviving, and you know knowing - and Marci felt the same way about the kids. She promised she would go home before Sarah. So you know if I rethink it, maybe I could have done it this way or this way or if I had gone to get immunity, that would have left Sarah vulnerable and I just couldn't do that.

You know I was the consistent top loser. I was consistently in the Top 4 people in the whole ranch in losing weight, and so I did have a chance to get immunity. If I had really, really worked at it, I could have probably, but that would have left Sarah vulnerable to be voted off. I just couldn't do that. So I took the promise.

Question:
And Jesse I was hoping maybe you could speaka little bit about your relationship with your son on the ranch. How was that different than before you had spent your time there? And also, how much did he talk to you about his decision-making process when he did switch Denise and Sarah over onto the team?

Jesse Wornum:
Well Arthur and I have had a close relationship all our lives, a relationship that was only strengthened you know by our time together since we started this journey. You know I like to refer it to we had a relationship built on rock. As a result of The Biggest Loser, we now have formed diamonds you know. I mean we have a great relationship.

Now that relationship has boundaries, and no he never did discuss any of his thought process to me prior to doing whatever it was he did, okay. Now afterwards, you know I would voice my opinion to him in the privacy of our room as to what I felt you know his actions were, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, but of course at that point it's too late. And you know here again, you know I respect what he is doing. I have raised him to be a man and to do the things that he sees you know the way he sees them and to you know be himself and have the courage of his convictions.

So you know though I may have seen and done things differently, you know I most certainly respected and listened to his reasons why he did what he did. Often times I did not agree with what he did and I would indicate that to him, but as for standing behind him for what he did, I'm also going to do that.

Question:
After the weigh in, Moses said he thought as a dad that you did your kids a disservice for throwing the weigh in and I was wondering how you felt about that statement?

Deni Hill:
I really understood what he was saying. I mean when he said that, I said, "Oh wow, that's awesome," because I was really doing it for Kaylee too. I was really worried about Kaylee. But at the same time, what Moses said made perfect sense. My gosh you know don't teach them to quit. Teach them to push harder, which is what he was doing with Kaylee getting her up early in the morning. I had no idea he was doing that, which is awesome you know as a great example.

In my situation however, knowing you know where I stood in place of the black team knowing what would probably happen, you know it just made it easier for me to make my decision to save Sarah. So for me, you know I'm in mother bear protective mode not wanting her to be voted off or to go under that red line. It's easier as a mom to sacrifice myself.

So it's a tough one. I mean you know if we could have done it over, probably Jesse and I would say, "Hey, let's work as hard as we can, lose as much as we can, and try to win this weigh in." But as things were playing out, it wasn't looking like that was going to happen. So I absolutely respect what Moses said and I'm sure Jesse you probably felt the same way with you.

Jesse Wornum:
Well I will tell you that I respect what he said, but that's his opinion. And he is entitled to his opinion and he can - you know he can say and do what he wants to do and I'm going to do and say what I want to do you know. And I need not justify my actions to anybody. My actions only need to be justified by me and I'm the only one I need to answer to. So Moses, thank you. Have a nice day.

Question:
And Jesse in the conversation that you had in the house about throwing the weigh in, you seemed to get fairly upset. What was behind that? What was really bothering you?

Jesse Wornum:
Well I was very upset. Because like I said, you know the point I was trying to make was you know people were talking about well you know we're going to do this and we're going to do that because this person needs this and this person needs that. And then the parents were stepping up saying you know I'm going to fall on the sword for any of these kids here for this, that, or the other reason. And so now everybody is looking at me wanting me to fall in line with the other parents. Basically Deni wasn't there at that time. I'm talking about Jay and Marci in particular okay.

Now you know they were talking the talk. I don't say something unless I'm doing to do what it is that I say okay. So I'm not going to tell them that I'm going to fall on the sword for them when in fact if the situation presented itself I may not do that because I would evaluate the situation. And here again, I'm going to reserve my feelings and my opinions for me. If I feel like I need to be there more than the quote/unquote younger person that's at risk needs to be there, then I would not do that okay.

But here again, if I'm saying that what my actions are going to do what is best for the people involved, then why are you automatically putting me away when in fact Marci is in a much better position to leave here than I am. But yet nobody is even considering that and that made me angry. That made me very angry because it was clear. It was very clear who the next one to go was going to be regardless of how they situation played out. So all I'm saying is that's fine. I love you anyway, but let's call a spade a spade and don't piss on my shoes and tell me it's raining.

Deni Hill:
Good for you Jess.

Question:
Deni, after it was announced you were not the biggest loser, you said you were the biggest winner. Can you elaborate on that?

Deni Hill:
Going to the ranch was like getting the golden ticket. I learned so much. I got to train with both sets of trainers, which was a great blessing that I have to thank Arthur for. You know if I hadn't been switched, I wouldn't have got to know Bob and Jillian who are amazing. Cara and Brett are amazing. So I really got the best of both worlds. And just knowing that Sarah would be there longer you know was such a blessing.

You know I've done so well at home. I've learned so much that how can I not be the biggest winner. You know to have such a great family now. I love those people there. I love those contestants. You know just being with them was such a blessing that for me I felt like at that moment that I was the biggest winner.

Question:
Your decision to go to the ranch rather than your daughter's wedding was the right one for you?

Deni Hill:
For me because think ten years down the line. I will be alive for my grandkids. I will be physically able to keep up with them. That's where I am right now. I can do so much more right now. I'm so excited. She will probably get mad at me, but I'm going to say it. She is pregnant. And this isn't Sarah, this is Lauren, the one that just got married.

I'm going to be here for her kids. You know I am going to be physically able to do things with them that I would never have been able to do before. So yes, I think it was the greatest wedding gift that Lauren could give to me and I could give to her in the long run. People may not see it that way, but for us, it was. And as hard as that was to miss it, yes it was the greatest gift as well.

Jesse Wornum:
Deni, it makes me feel so good to hear you say that. I want everybody to know. I got a great big old smile on my face.

Deni Hill:
I love you Jess.

Jesse Wornum:
And just a nice little place in my heart for you Deni. I love you.

Deni Hill:
And what I admire about Jesse. Jesse is willing to say what he's feeling. And that's what I love because I had those feelings too, but I wouldn't voice them like Jesse does and that's what I'm so impressed with Jesse. You know he really kept me going. He kept me going. He kept me exercising. I would look at him and I'd say, "If you can do this, I can do this." He's just the best.

Jesse Wornum:
Thank you.

Question:
Jesse, Arthur in particular. You said it was up to him. Now that you are gone, what makes you think he has what it takes to succeed without you being there?

Jesse Wornum:
All he needed was a little push. He found that little push in himself when he initiated his journey. His journey was initiated at the point in time when he realized he was 650 pounds and he had to do something. And from that moment on, he's been doing what he needs to do. By God's grace, we got on The Biggest Loser. That is only a plus. So all the support I was able to provide for my son while I was there was just gravy. He is going to be fine by himself. Because you see all of that stuff that he had is already there and he is beginning to pull it. He has already pulled most of it out to the front and he will just continue to do that. He is a dynamic individual who is realizing just how dynamic he is, so I have no problems at all - no worries.

Question:
What has the experience of being on The Biggest Loser done for you not just physically but emotionally?

Deni Hill:
For me emotionally, I mean so many things. I have great breakthroughs with Jillian, great breakthroughs with Cara. You know being able to box and have her tell me, "You know you are a natural athlete," it emotionally built my self-esteem. It made me feel so good about myself. It was just fantastic. I feel so much better, so much more confident. I think it has help emotionally as much as it's helped physically.

Jesse Wornum:
Okay, yeah I thought somebody was going to say something. For me, you know the time on the ranch was much needed for me in my journey in my life at this point in time. The amount of time that it allowed me to spend and focus on myself and to look at that inside of Jesse was tremendously valuable. My emotional make up now has been improved 100%. You know I now know that I have choices in each and every moment of my life. And you know I may not get it right 100% of the time, but 90% ain't bad and I will take it.

Question:
Were there challenges that you faced when you first got home? Was there ever a point in time where it was difficult to stay motivated?

Deni Hill:
Yeah definitely. For me coming home, there was a lot of anxiety. I have to work out, I have to do this. And what happens when you are an emotional eater is you eat you know when you feel anxiety and it comforts you. Well that's gone now and now where do I turn you know. And so it's learning to find different ways to get rid of that emotional comfort that I need. I have to find it in other ways other than eating. And that's still a journey. That's a process. I'm still working on it, but I'm feeling a lot better than I was when I first got home.

Jesse Wornum:
Well for me it's like you know welcome to the real world. You know there's a whole lot of things that were going on and a whole lot of people that made it possible for me to leave. Now that I'm back, all of those things are right here. Now the beauty of it is this. You know I now look at all of the challenges that I have and look at them as opportunities. And since I have so many challenges and so much stuff to deal with that I won't even go into, all I say is that I have a whole lot of opportunities to just get a whole lot better you know. You know because it's tough. It's tough.

You heard me say earlier that you know I'm getting an hour and a half, two hours of work out in a day, and you know most of that is coming in the morning you know. I mean once the day starts, I mean it's consuming you know, but you know we never get any more than we can handle - never, ever, ever. You know and that goes back to the time that I was able to spend there to dwell and get into me.

And so yeah, there's a thousand challenges out here for me. There's no question about it. But I will deal with every one of them and I will be stronger on the other side, and I just look forward to that. You know I mean an oak tree doesn't come in oak you know unless it's been push by the wind and the snow and all that other kind of stuff, so that's my time. This is my time now and I just love it. I'm going to eat it up.

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

Deni Hill:
I think for me it's that I need to take time for myself. And the more I can feel myself, the more I can give to others. If you can't take care of yourself, then how can you take care of other people? So I really learned that I do need to focus on me, do what I need to do, and then I can help my kids. I can do so much more if I've taken some time for myself.

Jesse Wornum:
For me, it's been the true realization of the physical aspect of things and the idea that yes I do need to take care of myself and my health is very, very important. You know as my health improves, then it makes it possible for me to do all of these other things that it is that I want to do. I've just come out of here with so much - how do I say this? I mean I know that everything is going to be all right now, and this knowing you know came from this experience. You know the thought has always been there, but until I've experienced it - you know until I experienced it, I didn't know it for sure. Now I know it. I know it in the deeper inner recesses of my soul that everything is going to be okay.

Question:
What was the most difficult thing about going home after having spent all the time at the ranch?

Deni Hill:
Facing reality; facing life again. You know for me, it hasn't been the food, it hasn't been the eating, it's just you know the things that life throws at you daily. You know just life; the things that happen. At the ranch, we have 100% of our time focused on exercise, and eating right, and learning more about ourselves. And then you go home like Jesse said and life hits you, but I think for me that's been the most difficult. Just having to deal with the every days.

Jesse Wornum:
Yeah, that by far and you know we look at things and we want to say it's difficult. But you know when it's things that you have to do, yes there is a degree of difficulty involved you know. And yeah, no matter how you say it, it's just living. I have a business that I have to save and pull back around, and it's a very demanding process you know. So that has been probably the hardest part - how do I give my business what it needs and still give my body what it needs. And now I'm learning that the body actually has a little more importance than it had before.

Before, paying all of the attention to the business and all that other stuff got my blood sugar levels all out of control, by blood pressure all out of control. And now that I have my health, and I no longer need any of those medications, and I have my blood sugar in control and I have my blood pressure in control, I have no intentions of going back and so I'm able to check myself. I'm able to check myself and make sure, so that's been the most difficult part. Does that make any sense?

Question:
What was one of the most important lessons that you guys took from the ranch and incorporated into your daily lifestyles?

Deni Hill:
That would be the eating for me. Well both; eating and exercise. You know that's what I've incorporated that I didn't do before you know. And I look at every label; I look at the sodium levels in food. I'm looking at the ingredients and I'm trying to put things in my body that are going to make me feel good and be healthy and strong, and a lot more organic foods, a lot more vegetables and fruits.

And you know that's been the greatest gift is really realizing what a lifestyle change is, because I've been on every single diet you could imagine, but they weren't maintainable. I'm just eating healthy. I'm not saying I can't have that because of the calories. It's more I can have this; it's healthy. You know this is the best orange I've ever had. You know fruits are like candy to me now. You know this is the best apple I've ever had. That's been so much fun. I love the way I'm eating and I love the exercise. I love the way I feel after I exercise, so that's the greatest thing I've taken away.

Jesse Wornum:
By far, the eating is definitely way up there on the scale. And you know the beauty of the program is even though we've come home, they really have supported us. I mean for me as a single person, I don't plan as many meals as I would like to. So the fact that they have provided me with some quick meals through the eDiet folks, I mean that has been amazing you know. And you look at some of the things that are going on in my life and just being able to grab some of that stuff. And when I'm not making my salads and cooking my own chicken and stuff, it's been a blessing. It's been a blessing. I know how important the food is now. And I do thank the program for allowing me to have an outlet when I'm not able to apply the knowledge that I have learned with the food.

Question:
Deni, how do you deal with emotional eating? Because you said it has been a problem for you and I know it is more of a problem with women than with men.

Deni Hill:
I find things that I really like you know and that's this is my treat. But you know I'm learning to exercise instead you know when I'm really feeling down. You know I could just go out and run around the block and feel better. I'm learning to breath. Breathing exercises are really good. Seven seconds in and hold it and seven seconds out. That really helps me to feel calm when I'm really starting to feel anxiety. Breathing really, really helps so I'm still looking for different things, but that's been helping me a lot breathing and then just walking it off. So if you have any good suggestions, it's a learning process.

Jesse Wornum:
That is often what I've done. Oh for me it has always been an issue, the emotional eating. And you know I don't suffer from it as much as I used to, but I think that's simply because I choose not to. I think that that came directly from the ranch. The one thing that you fail to realize is that ranch allows you everything and anything that you want. That kitchen is wide open 24/7. And you know when you find yourself not going there when you can, there's strength in that. There's a whole lot of strength in that and we ge4t that.

And so I think that is a huge thing. That is a huge thing. Maybe you know you can say that it was because there were other people there watching you, but that's not true. That's not true. I mean I stayed out of that kitchen and I didn't do that emotional eating that I would have done at home before. And now that I am home, I don't do it now. And I think it was just something that I learned there.

Deni Hill:
People ask me all the time. They don't realize that we do cook for ourselves and we could overeat just as much there at the ranch as we can at home if we choose to.

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