Last night on The Biggest Loser, the four remaining contestants returned home to have their new leaner bodies ogled by their families ... and to do some good hard thinking about the reasons they got to be 100-plus pounds overweight in the first place.
It seemed some of the contestants were doing more reflecting than others. The still unemployed Patrick vowed to make claiming the $250,000 prize "his job," and Ada set a goal to crush season seven contestant Tara's time (4:56) in the final and ultimate Biggest Loser challenge: running a full marathon.
Meanwhile, trainer Jillian Michaels barged in on Elizabeth at home and called her out on immediately moving in with her boyfriend ... presumably to avoid standing on her own two feet. An impromptu inspection of Elizabeth's freezer, stocked with nothing but processed meats and ice cream, led to a confession that her gym sessions had become intermittent, and she was having a hard time balancing life with weight loss (join the club).
Host Ali Sweeney was quick to point out in a video to the at-home contestants that less than 1 percent of the population has run a marathon ... and every season I'm left wondering if these people are physically ready to put their bodies through that 26.2-mile test.
It never fails: I watch the contestants cross the finish line -- the same people who couldn't climb a flight of stairs just three months ago -- and then I start wondering why I'm sitting around on the couch watching reality TV. Is there any show that makes you feel guiltier -- and question just how hard you're working in every aspect of your life -- than The Biggest Loser?
Still, I always appreciate the episode when the contestants return home after months at the ranch, because -- finally! -- they're put to what I consider a far more difficult test than six-hour workouts, maniacal personal trainers, and, yes, even running 26.2 miles: losing weight while juggling the demands of spouses, kids, jobs, bills, and daily life.
Ada found herself grazing in the kitchen more often when she didn't have anyone to watch over her shoulder, and Frado and Patrick couldn't help but wonder if they'd really be able to ward off obesity for the rest of their lives. It's something I still think about every single day, and call me crazy, but I think reality shows should actually reflect reality from time to time. It's nice to see (some of) the contestants making a concentrated effort to face the pressures of daily life while still remaining committed to their weight loss goals ... and not being afraid to acknowledge when they falter.
That's why I'm still Team Ada all the way ... especially after she did successfully beat Tara's time and set a new marathon record for women on the show (4:38). Even though she surprised everyone by only losing 12 pounds at the weigh-in back at the ranch, she had the courage to own up to her struggles with sticking to a strict diet and workout regimen at home.
After six weeks away from the ranch, Patrick blew up the scale with a 35-pound loss, Elizabeth dropped 15 pounds, and Frado -- who trainer Bob Harper commented is no longer "the game-playing Frado," shed 27 pounds.
Now America has the opportunity to vote for the contestant who will compete against the men at next week's live finale. There can only be three contestants vying for the $250,000 prize and title of The Biggest Loser. You can cast your vote here, or by texting "Ada" or "Elizabeth" to 33088 (just be careful; it's 99 cents per text).
You all know who I'm voting for ... who's getting your vote?
Image via NBC