Photo Credit: Trae Patton/NBC
In last night's episode of Losing it with Jillian, Jillian teaches the Vivio family how to connect while she trains them about a healthier way to live.
In Springfield, Tennessee, Mark and Laverne Vivio rear their four sons big-and-beastly and they’re all over 6 feet tall. So what is mom feeding all of them? 11 strips of bacon for lunch or squishing two burgers together were pretty standard for the Southern football loving family. It’s no wonder why Mark the father was on his 11th heart procedure in the past year or why their 14-year-old son, in his father’s shadow, weighed in at 330 pounds.
Though the parents have four sons- twins Caleb and Jeremiah away at college, Jed, and Elijah the youngest- the episode focused primarily on the parents and Elijah. Mark learned parenting from his father, a suck-it-up-emotions-are-for-sissies-never-say-I-love-you-football-isn’t-a-choice kind of man. The result? The hardest working family we’ve seen so far. But it’s not an all roses approach, as Elijah feels ashamed, can’t recognize his accomplishments and calls himself a failure. He’s tormented at school and doesn’t want to play football like his brothers. But in a family where football is the only way to get their father’s attention, Elijah feels like the outsider.
Mark built a bridge on their property and three months later it was wiped out in a flood. The family calls the bridge, "the downfall of man," because they see it as the start to all their problems. Mark tore his ACL unknowingly during the construction and when he went to get it checked out, they found he had heart problems. He had to close his roofing company and start driving a bus to support his family. Financially was the only support he knows how to give, but Laverne has to pick up the reigns for him. Since Mark had surgery right before Jillian comes to change their ways, she can’t work him out at all. Her plan was to get his emotions and mentality in shape. There was a current of emotions under the surface; it’s no wonder their bridge got wiped out.
The family was tough and hard-working, a nice change in pace from some of the other episodes. They could keep up with Jillian, and she didn’t look so tough because of it. I was a nice change to see her nice side. A great moment in the episode was when Jillian went to Elijah’s school to meet with his class. Elijah felt like the only kid who ever got teased, but Jillian asked the class to raise their hands if they had ever been targeted. Every student raised his or her hand. She taught them to own up to their strengths and to have enough respect for themselves to tell the bullies when he or she has crossed the line. If you weren’t smiling on Elijah’s behalf at that point, following that break through, Mark tells Elijah how proud he is of his son and sincerely says that if he doesn’t want to play football he doesn’t have to.
It was a very heart-warming to see the family learn from their failures and re-build their bridge-both figuratively and literally. The connection Jillian makes with Elijah gets to the heart of all the family’s problems. Mark learns he can show emotions and how to connect with his son. Laverne learns she needs to set the example by being proud of her own accomplishments and Elijah learns a huge lesson in confidence.
When it was time to reveal the family after two months, they were all grinning ear-to-ear. Mark lost 56 pounds, his blood pressure was under control and the walls he once had built so high were demolished. Laverne lost 31 pounds and weighed less than she did on her wedding day. Elijah changed remarkably at 50 pounds lighter and as a new member on a swim team; he held his shoulders high. The family really does look amazing. They rebuilt the bridge, dedicating it and renaming it as, the "Strong Foundations, New Beginnings," bridge.
What did you think of last night’s episode of Losing it with Jillian? Chime in below.