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The Biggest Loser Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

This is a transcript of an interview with eliminated contestant Jennifer Jacobs on March 30, 2011 about the show The Biggest Loser.

Jennifer Jacobs

A lot of people felt that your decision to not bring Brett with you into exile that last week ultimately got you eliminated, but how much of a factor do you really think that played in what happened at the weigh in?

Jennifer Jacobs:
I'm definitely not discounting the fact that it is important to have your trainers with you whenever you're working towards such a great goal. But at the same time I feel as though my demise on the show really led to me pretty much being over trained.

Courtney and I we took Brett's instructions over the phone calls that we did have, the phone call time with him. We checked in with him periodically throughout the day, and then in the evenings and really did the homework that he had given to us. And being that we were on the ranch for 13 weeks we thought that under the instruction of Brett it - we would be able to definitely stay here for yet another week.

And I think really what it boiled down to was the fact that we were so dead set on a goal that we were really the product of over training. Courtney had been experiencing a plateau for a while, and I'm just to the point where I was getting so small that every week it was getting harder and harder for me to lose weight.

Can you expand on the over training part?

Jennifer Jacobs:
It's funny because you know, when you're used to working out six to eight hours a day on The Biggest Loser Ranch, it's funny. Your limits of how far you can go go beyond what you thought humanly possible, but really what I found was the case, Courtney and I, we had a lot of free time, believe it or not, on our hands when we were in Ojai. And all that time was spent either in the gym or some form of exercise. You know, we'd walk two to three miles to the gym, work out, we'd take two spin classes, we'd do sprint intervals, and you know we'd walk back; we'd take hikes.

And we were finding that we were actually hitting our burn at about 2, 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and usually, in my experience on the ranch Jillian had always told us, and Brett as well, if you hit your burn, go to bed. But, it was 2, 3 o'clock in the afternoon, which didn't really allow us to do that, so we kept going. Your body keeps burning those calories, so you know we did make sure that we got enough rest. But at the end of the day, really I think that's really what played a major part in the fact that my body was just willing to give up any more weight that week than it had in previous weeks, unfortunately.

You talked in your Where Are They Now about being a new person. Can you talk to me a little bit about how you've changed and what's changed for the better?

Jennifer Jacobs:
SIt's funny because going into this I was very confident in my - the person that I was, in terms of my morals and ethics. And I was always that person that all my friends went to as a sounding board or support or for help, but I just wasn't happy with the exterior what everybody else saw on the outside.

And for me, coming to Biggest Loser and to be able to transform my body, what I realized from being on this journey is that the person that I was, that outer shell, was not the true person that I really was. And now, what I find myself doing is really living each day as it's a new day because the person that I am today is my true self.

This is the person that should have been out there living, having - you know, having a wonderful time experiencing life all along, and I really am thankful for Biggest Loser to be able to help me to see that. And it's really been almost like a rebirthing for me because I feel like now that I've dropped all this weight I finally fit in where I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb when I was almost 300 pounds. Eeveryday is a new day for me and I'm having to reteach myself how to almost live life and enjoy, really, all of my hard work. So, it's been an incredible journey and it's a really awesome feeling, and it keeps me motivated every step of the way.

Are you pursuing a singing career or have opportunities opened up for you in that respect?

Jennifer Jacobs:
Yeah. It's really funny. Music's been a big part of my life. It wasn't necessarily something that was really brought up that much on the show. But, really for me I've always been motivated by music, my workouts were always motivated by music, and I always gravitated towards types of music that had a great beat and motivational message.

Now that I feel so much more comfortable being in front of people, I mean hell, when you get up on a scale in front of millions of people and can take all your clothes off pretty much and weigh in and show your progress over a certain period of time, I mean really there's no excuse for me to hide anymore from wanting to get up on stage and perform and to sing. Because I find that if I can use music to help me, why can't I take that same gift and be able to use it to help other people and inspire them?

So, I definitely am going to pursue a music career and in the coming months I would expect to see an album of my own music, motivational music with a great beat, a great message, something that people can drop it on their iPod and just jam out at the gym, and really just push themselves during their workouts. So, I will definitely be doing that. Really, nothing, nothing can stop me now from pursuing that dream, and I'm really excited. Real excited about it.

Last night they showed a cast member sneaking a bag of tortilla chips in his room. What has been everyone's reaction on the ranch when that happens? And have there been other examples of cheating on people's diets?

Jennifer Jacobs:
I think one thing to remember is that every person comes to The Biggest Loser Ranch with issues. You know, some sort of, whether it's overeating or lack of motivation or whatever, I can't necessarily say that I really experienced other contestants cheating. I've never really seen it myself, but I do know that at times it's always a struggle while you're on this journey to have certain temptations around you that, whether it's healthy food or unhealthy food. Anything in mass quantity can definitely work against you on the scale.

But, I know that if there was an instance where that would have been seen or I would have seen it I definitely would have stepped in and tried to give that person support and help them to see that this is maybe a temporary temptation or an obstacle to get over. And just kind of step back from it, look at what you're doing, and see how it can actually kind of work against you going forward.

And I think that that's the whole energy of the house. If there was something going on like that that we knew about, we would definitely, all of us would step in and try to help out because we want to be able to support one another no matter what. Even if we are against each other - against one another in a competition, it really - this season I think it really just came down to us genuinely caring for one another on the ranch.

If Courtney had fought you a little harder to take Brett for the week in Ojai, rather than doing some of the luxury stuff, would you have given in?

Jennifer Jacobs:
Absolutely. If I had known that Courtney was having that much anxiety around going into this without Brett I would have definitely in a moment's notice said, "You know what, Court, you're right. Let's do this." And it's actually funny because she had brought up the fact that Marci had gone home the week before, and she was feeling very scared because now her mom, who was her support system along the way wasn't there anymore.

And she had to rely not only on us on the ranch the girls to - the girls and the rest of the contestants to kind of support her through that, but she didn't have her mom anymore to really help her through it. And she even brought up the fact that having more phone call time would be great because she could reach out to her mom, and still have that support and that comfort.

And I automatically said, "You know, Courtney, that's great. If that makes you feel more comfortable I am totally fine with that. That would be great." And if she had said the same thing about Brett, 150% I would have been on board with that. And unfortunately, it didn't work out that way and in hindsight it really probably would have been best for us to have Brett as is.

At the end of the episode we saw you working out with your brother. Can you tell me a little bit about him and what his support means to you?

Jennifer Jacobs:
You know, my entire family has actually struggled with their weight since I can remember. And my brother was fortunate enough to actually take off 70 pounds coming out of high school, and he's managed to keep it off for four or five years. And it's funny when my dad and I went away to the ranch, he was a major driving force in our family to help to not only motivate us while we were away on the ranch, but also help to get my mom in shape.

My mom is down 50 pounds. My brother actually ended up, after taking the weight off, he decided he was on a quest to bulk up and build as much muscle as possible, and now the kid jacks. He's done such an amazing job and been such a big motivator for me and my dad that it's amazing how much his energy and his determination has not only affected himself, but so many people around him.

As much as you all were there for each other there were a lot of, alliances and relationships that you built up to protect yourselves from elimination. Can you talk a little bit about putting in all that work, and then going home by default because it actually coming down to the weight?

Jennifer Jacobs:
You know, we made a decision the day that we stepped on that ranch. It was Bob and Jillian forever. We would never waiver. I've got to be honest with you, you could ask me that same question a thousand times over and my decision would never be the same. I am true to Bob and Jillian. I love them to death. They have transformed not only my life, but my father's life, and then have impacted us in such a way that I think it's very difficult for a person to really understand how much that means to us in our lives.

I know in term sort of the relationships that we've built with the people on the ranch, that was something I think that it is incredibly important, I think, when you're going into game, but although there was game play this season, it really - it wasn't something that everybody had on their mind. And you can't help but build those incredible relationships with the people that you are literally sharing your blood, sweat, and tears with every single second of the day.

No matter what way I was ushered off of the show, whether it was by vote or by elimination, just elimination because of the way the game was played, to me the most important thing that mattered was that I had built those relationships with those people. And you know, I said to myself, being the person that probably, I think in the history of the show, has actually changed colors - team colors the most, which I was up to a whopping six different teams during one season.

I think for the most part for myself, I wanted to be eliminated, or I wanted to be tested based on merit. And it's funny kind of be careful what you ask for because the second that that option was handed to me in Week 13, really was the deciding factor whether or not I was going to stay or not, and I did not perform. So it's kind of bittersweet, but I know that I definitely did everything I could to try to stay as long as I can. And I love everybody on the ranch for that and so thankful that they're going to be in my life going forward. I can't imagine living life without them.

We got to see you shopping with your friends at the clothing store. Can you talk a little bit about how your weight loss has affected your life in ways like that, dating and being able to go to those shops and spend time with your friends doing other stuff?

Jennifer Jacobs:
Yeah. You know, I've talked about my journey, losing weight, as almost a rebirth and I'm living everyday with a new set of eyes, and I'm having a lot of first experiences that are really awesome. Because they are experiences that help me to be so grateful and so thankful for the journey that I'm on and how far I've come, and help me to realize that this is something that is so gratifying.

And to be able to experience the fruits of your labor, I really use those experiences, such as going shopping with my girlfriends taking trips with them, going out in public and feeling s though I look just as cute in an outfit as the rest of my girlfriends do. You know, I also am in a new relationship. I actually met my boyfriend before I found out that I was going out for Finals Week in L.A. before the season started, and you know, he had a weight problem as well, as did I obviously.

And it was the kind of thing where he was motivated by me going out and proving that I can set my sights on a goal and go after it. And he's lost 90 pounds himself and looks incredible, and now we're really looking forward to having a relationship that is one that's filled with a lot first time experiences together. Whether it's taking part in races or going on vacations where you're active and you take part in things that you never though you could do, whether it's scuba diving or rock climbing, or trying out surfing.

So, it's really almost like the world is my oyster now and I enjoy all of these new experiences. And not only that, but I enjoy having a partner that I can do these things with. Having a best friend that is there for me and wants to take part in these experiences with me because he's having them right alongside me.

If Bob or Jillian were your trainer would you have passed on them at the week at Ojai?

Jennifer Jacobs:
No. I definitely would not have. If Bob and Jillian had been training Courtney and I when we were sent to the mansion in Ojai. I definitely would not have passed them. And the reason why I say that is because my journey on this season, I've been switched back and forth and back forth on different teams. While I love Brett and Cara to death, my first and - my first choice was definitely Bob and Jillian, and because I was switched to the other team so many teams I lost that time with them that I would never have been able to get back.

So, I think that if I had the opportunity and they were my trainers, yeah, I would have definitely opted to have as much time with them as possible, whether or not I thought I needed it.

Do you feel like passing on the trainer was a contributing factor to your departure, or do you think it was over training and no matter who was training you, you were going to be going home this week?

Jennifer Jacobs:
I think that over training definitely played a huge part in going home. Without a doubt because there's no way that having burned as many calories as I did and Courtney did a day, and how much we were taking in, calorie-wise, we couldn't have lost weight. I mean, jif you look at the numbers, it didn't add up.

There are other factors involved. You know, you have stress in the fact that you really can't stop or don't want to stop for fear that you could possibly go home. That definitely is something that can contribute to your body just saying, "You know what, enough is enough. I'm not going to drop anymore weight this week and I'm just going to make you not lose anything on the scale this week."

I still feel as though no matter what trainer we had that would have probably happened. But, I do know that from me and Courtney's relationship with Bob and Jillian, they were with us from the start. And they're really good at picking up on kind of what our bodies are going through or what we're going through, and realizing what's going on, even if we don't realize what's going on. So, I think if anything Bob and Jillian would have had a better pulse on kind of where our bodies were at because they've worked us with longer. They've worked with us more.

You got really emotional when you spoke about how much The Biggest Loser has meant to you and how much it's changed your life. Looking back, did you ever imagine that this would be such an emotional journey and emotional goodbye for you?

Jennifer Jacobs:
You know, looking back at it when you start this journey, you can't even wrap your mind around or wrap your head around how hard you're going to be working to get to this goal that you have. And I remember the first day that Alison told us that we earned a spot on the ranch. I was thinking to myself, "I can't even imagine how I'm going to get down to my goal weight and walk across that stage at Finale in a tiny little dress. But I know, and if I trust the process and I trust that if I'm determined to get there, I'll get there."

I know for myself the physical aspect of this journey, I thought was going to be the most difficult, but that is by far the easiest part. For someone that had never been skinny or never been at a healthy weight, this part of the journey, the emotional and mental portion of the journey, it is the most difficult strenuous, stressful, taxing part of it because you're told how to handle your workouts. You're told how to burn the calories by your trainers.

But as a result you have this amazing body that is almost that of an athlete and you're able to do things in your life that you've never had the chance to do before, and it takes a little while for your mind to catch up with your body, especially because the weightloss is so rapid that it's a big shock. It's a big, big, but wonderful thing to have to work towards getting used to, and I think that's been the hardest part of the journey. And I think that's been the hardest part of the journey. It's really teaching myself everyday that this is a new lifestyle, this is going to be how it is for the rest of my life.

You've had a lot of success at home, but is there anything that you still struggle with?

Jennifer Jacobs:
You know, coming to Biggest Loser you were leaving all of those temptations and distractions of just the stresses of everyday life. And you're one person when you leave, you go through this incredible journey, and you transform and come back to the same exact lifestyle that you left, but you are a different person.

So, Iwhat's been really tough is just, especially in this period between now and the Finale I really am determined to finish out this journey that I started on the ranch here, and then finish it out here at home. But, I think it's difficult because you've changed so much and you've come home and everybody around you, and your life is still very much the same.

So, it's really dealing with those people that either have kind of sabotaged you in the past or gotten in your way or obstacles that you encounter in life or distractions that you have around you, temptations of food, those are the things that are the most difficult part. And I think when stuff like that starts to creep into my head or I feel like I'm losing control I just have to continue to remember what life was like on the ranch. And bring my mind back to what it was like to literally eat, sleep, breathe, live, diet and exercise, and not let the chatter and the energy from the people around you take you away from all that focus and hard work that you're putting towards your goal.

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

Jennifer Jacobs:
One thing that was my mantra on the ranch and something that I always said to myself nothing is impossible, you just have to reach for it. And I came to the ranch somebody that didn't feel like they were able to do anything of any significance. In their life they didn't believe - I didn't believe in myself. I was scared of trying to achieve a goal that I had gone towards so many times in my 28 years on this earth, and I think the one thing that Biggest Loser taught me is to definitely believe in yourself.

No matter how hard or how impossible that goal might be, it - all you need is just a flicker of hope inside of you that you can go towards something and never lose sight of the end result. Never lose sight of the goal because once you put your mind towards going somewhere, if you can go there in the mind you can definitely go there in the body.

And that's why I used that mantra never feel - fear the impossible. Nothing is impossible, just reach for it, because it is something that is so true. And I have to be honest with you it took me a long time to figure that out, but I am so thankful to Biggest Loser for helping me to see the potential in myself and the strength and the drive to achieve anything I put my mind to.

Thinking back to when you first arrived at the ranch, how different were your expectations from what the reality actually was?

Jennifer Jacobs:
I went into my Biggest Loser experience not knowing what to expect, except I would be working out non-stop and eating well. I thought that the physical part of the journey was going to be hard. I thought it was going to be the hardest part of the journey, and you know what, it's funny. I never thought that I would become a better person for it, emotionally, mentally.

But I feel as though I was able to take off the physical weight and start to peel away the layers of who I was and get down to kind of why I made the poor decision to why I made the bad decisions, and how I was going to turn them around and change them. And I never realized how much my mind had kept me - held me back in the past and it was just really incredible to see that. It was really that I - not only was able to make my body stronger physically, but also you know my mind as well.

So, that was definitely one thing that coming onto the ranch I had no idea how it was going to affect me, but it has definitely strengthened me and made me the person that I am today and I'm very thankful for that.

You always appeared to be one of the strongest, more determined contestants, but you say you came to the ranch broken. How so?

Jennifer Jacobs:
You know, I came to the ranch as somebody that knew that they had always wanted to lose weight. I had always wanted to lose weight but I think the missing piece was that I never believed that I could do it. I never believed that I had it inside me. And I think also I was afraid to shed this extra weight that I had because if I couldn't use my weight as an excuse then that was a shot at my character or my personality or the person that I was inside. But, I think through this experience that physical weight came off, those pounds came off and I was able to uncover the body that I had within, and be able to show that on the outside.

But I never imagined the workout that I would have to go through in my mind to realize that I am just as deserving of this opportunity as any other person that wants to change their life. And I think really I came to the ranch a person that always knew that they had some sort of strength in them, but I didn't realize the depth of how far I'd have to dig to find that person inside of me.

And now I am really starting to enjoy living a life of health and wealth and vitality, because my life where I was unhappy and I just worked because I wanted to pass the time because I didn't have that social life that I wanted to with my friends because I always felt uncomfortable going out. I didn't have that boyfriend. I didn't have that relationship. Now, it's like I look forward to every single day living and being in the moment and being present, where when I came to the ranch I was just literally waking up in the morning to the pass the time through the day and get through to the next one.

So, I think that's kind of how I've changed. I am so in the moment right now and enjoying my life and where it's heading, opposed to just trying to pass the time.

How does a person go from six to eight hours a day exercising to the real world? What does a day in the life of Jen involve now?

Jennifer Jacobs:
I am very lucky in the respect that I am not currently working and I do also live above my gym. So I wake up in the morning, I go for a run, I come back in and eat breakfast. I have another workout that's either an hour or two of cardio, come back upstairs, take a nap, go back downstairs workout, take a spin class usually, and then I usually rest for the rest of the afternoon. And then, then in the evenings I do a couple of hours of cardio back in the gym and finish it off with another couple of hours of walking in the evening. So, I pretty much am living the same type of lifestyle, in terms of exercise and diet-wise as I was on the ranch, but that's definitely something that I couldn't do if I was working full-time right now.

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