Local resort uses "Biggest Loser" model
One of NBC's biggest shows is now spinning off businesses, including one where you can bypass the audition line and have the "Biggest Loser" experience, at a destination resort.
On a show where big weight loss determines who wins, Jerry Hayes from The Biggest Loser's seventh season holds a series record, losing 177 pounds.
"That is the biggest loss for anybody ever on this show and I am extremely proud of that. 151 pounds at home," Hayes said.
His 63-inch waist dropped to a 36, but mostly away from the ranch. Jerry and his wife, Stella, competed as a couple and were among the first to be sent home.
"Stella was there one week, I was there two weeks," Jerry said.
The first two weeks of any diet are the key time to learn about nutrition, exercise and emotional eating. At home, Jerry and Stella kept up without the world watching.
"It's hard and there is no way to hide it and then the camera pans from your head all the way down to your toes and back up your toes to your head while you are just standing there, pretending you don't see anything or anyone. It's hard," Stella said.
The resort's chief executive, Larry Bond, says the voyeuristic camera is about the only thing missing from the Biggest Loser resorts.
"We really create a community here, just like the show," he said.
The Biggest Loser programming is at the Eaglewood Golf Resort in a western Chicago suburb.
Days are filled with seminars and workouts with trainers.
"It's very difficult, but it's great, though they modify it for everyone, you know. Every person is a different size and so they modify, but it's very hard," said Jay Jacobs from New Jersey.
There are five workouts a day during the one-week minimum stay. Always in the conversation is talking about how guests will stay active at home.
"You only need to do one a day, but we are going to have you do five a day, so that when you leave, you are going to say, 'One a day? That is nothing!'" said trainer Paige Corley.
Corley showed a 20-minute, high-intensity workout you can do anywhere. Three sets of five moves for a minute each, with ten-second transitions.
"So here is the hard part. When you are at home and you don't have someone saying, 'Okay, go!'" Corley said. "Because I am here saying 'Go,' so that is something that you do need to develop."
Weighing in is part of the program, but the beauty is that you don't need to do it in a sports bra on television and the results remain private.
The average first week weight loss at the resort is four pounds for women and seven pounds for men. Part of the formula is the food.
"The breakfast, about 300-400 calories, lunch 400-500 calories, then dinner about 400 calories. Two snacks and two pieces of fruit," said Chef Cameron.
No alcohol, no caffeine, but there is always dessert and recipes to take home.
"The average American goes on 4-5 diets a year and, unfortunately, the reason they go on 4-5 diets is because they yo-yo and they haven't been provided the correct information about how to have a long-term, healthy lifestyle," Bond said.
Good sleep is part of weight loss and at the resort, you will crash in a four-start hotel room. On the show, contestants compete for a $100,000 prize.
"Unfortunately, there is 50,000-100,000 people who apply every season on the show and, of course, there are only 15-24 people who get to be on the show," Bond said.
Guests pay $2,995 a week.
"What is really great about it is when you leave here, you find that you are capable of doing much more than you ever thought you could do," Kim Jacobs said.
"You believe in yourself and then you can trust the process. That is what they are teaching you here and you can change forever," Jerry said. "It's worth it. It's worth it. You can change your life, it changed ours."
Guests leave with online support and are encouraged to keep the connection with their group.
The other Biggest Loser resorts are in California, Utah and New York. Bond said the Midwest was a targeted location because of the high obesity rates in this part of the country.