The longest season of Biggest Loser came to an epic conclusion during last night's finale, when opera singer Olivia Ward lost 129 pounds to become the winner of the coveted $250,000 prize and title of "The Biggest Loser" of season 11. While most of the contestants did an AMAZING job shedding thousands of pounds among them, both on the Ranch and at home, I've been rooting for Olivia all along, because she had a unique reason for paring half of her body weight.
Not only did she feel sick health-wise when she came to the Ranch at 261 pounds, but she was also heartbroken. She was diagnosed with the hormonal imbalance polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which is often linked to obesity. If she didn't lose a significant amount of weight, she may not be able to carry a child to term. The 35-year-old and her husband, Ben, wanted nothing more than to become parents in the near future, so Olivia was determined to get fit.
Now, Olivia's story will most definitely help others.
To hear your doctor tell you that you can't have kids or that you'll struggle to have kids is one of the most heart-wrenching things for a woman who's hoping to become a mother. Feeling that you can't do anything else you've dreamed of all your life -- in Olivia's case, that was also being cast in various opera roles that were only being given to thinner women -- is also devastating. But Olivia defied both obstacles. Now that she's won the title of The Biggest Loser, she's earned an amazing platform to share her story with and inspire millions of women, who are struggling just the same.
In fact, this morning on the Today Show, she shared a piece of wisdom with Matt Lauer that I find incredibly valuable:
I think this time, for me, I really worked from the inside out. I realized that weight loss happens in the mind and inside first. And if you’re faithful, then with the exercise and then diet -- that part is science -- the body will follow. For me (before), I just thought I had to grind my body into the ground with exercise and diet without really thinking about what was going on on the inside.
Although that had to be something many of the contestants realized -- especially since Jillian Michaels drills it into their head all the time! -- it's so important for the message to be repeated again and again.
Weight loss is one of the most challenging things for anyone to accomplish. But the reality is that it's more of a mental trick than a physical one. And with some hard work and the willingness to ask for help (a theme that Olivia's amazing teammate and sister, Hannah, who shed 102 pounds, mentioned as a major contributor to success), you CAN get fit, get closer to that goal of motherhood, take out a whole new lease on life. Just like Olivia.
So, congrats to her for showing us that in the most incredible, inspiring way. I can't wait to see the rest of her story unfold.
Are you cheering for Olivia?
Image via NBC