Name: Ryan R. Rodriguez
Age: 29, until Aug. 30th
Starting Weight: 374 lbs.
Eliminated Weight: 302 lbs.
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY, (currently live in Jackson Heights, NY)
Occupation before leaving for the show: Attorney
1.) What was your big turning point -- either during the show or before that made you realize you needed to lose weight? Obviously, the birth of my daughter (on March 15, 2007) got me thinking about the future. So often in life we live day to day and we don't think long term. Sofia's arrival definitely made me appreciate the fact that I want to have as much time as possible with her and make the most of that time.
Also, about a year before getting selected for the show my doctor put me on high blood pressure medication — at twenty-eight I was dependent on medication, and though it may sound a bit dramatic, that forces you to think about your own mortality.
Lastly, while on campus, I realized early on just how physically limiting my weight had become. Even the most basic exercises Bob had us do were torturous — something as simple as going from a standing position to lying down on the floor and getting back up was an ordeal.
All of these things made me realize that I needed to get my weight under control and my health back.
2.) What is one thing you wish you had known before going on The Biggest Loser? I wish I knew just how hard it would be physically. I anticipated that my time on campus would be difficult emotionally, but I was not prepared for the physical challenge. Even after hearing from those involved with the show that we would be working out for five hours a day, I was not prepared. Though in hindsight, I guess no amount of information can prepare you for what five hours of exercise feels like. Also, it wasn't so much that we were working out a ton in one day, so much as it was that we were doing it day after day with virtually no rest. Early on it became a grind.
3.) If you could have done one thing differently during the show what would it be? My time on campus was blast and a truly life altering experience, and I can't say that I would do much differently. The only thing that I can think of has to do with game play and not the overall experience. Given the chance to do it all over again, I may have tried to get closer to some of the non-blue team members. Building some alliances across team lines may have kept me on campus a bit longer. That said, I think the relationship the blue team had was special and it without a doubt enriched the entire Biggest Loser experience for me.
4.) What do you think your biggest weight-loss obstacles will be now that you're dieting on your own? Despite, working really hard for our results on campus, we were living to some extent in a fitness bubble. There was NOTHING else to do on campus but focus on our eating and workouts. The real world is not that way — it is filled with distractions, both good and bad. Being away from your family for so long makes you just want to spend as much time as possible with them, so once I've gotten my morning workout in it is extremely difficult to drag myself to the gym for my evening session. In contrast, on campus when I was bored I went to the gym because I had nothing better to do. At home there is always something I'd rather be doing, even if it's just watching a Met game.
5.) What advice can you give other people who are hoping to lose extra pounds? It kills me to write such clichéd ideas but there all true. My best advice is to approach your weight loss/fitness plan without the option of failure. Secondly, we never know what we're capable of until we try. Everyday Bob, pushed each and every one of us to the brink mentally and physically, and we are all better for it. Challenge yourself everyday — challenge yourself to go a minute longer or one mph faster on the treadmill, it keeps things interesting and you’re guaranteed results that way. Also, I think anyone starting a weight-loss program needs to focus long term. Don't beat yourself up for having bad food days or missing a gym day. It's not so much about having good days, but about having good weeks, good months, good years and a great life. Lastly, and maybe most important is that you have to be ready for it. We all know we should eat well and workout, but it’s hardly ever fun so we really need to commit to a new lifestyle to reap the benefits of mental and physical health and longevity.
6.) Who do you think will make it to the end of the show and why? At the time I left campus I thought that Bill, Neil, Isabeau and B would be the final four. Bill, because he had amazing success early on and he worked harder and longer than anyone else on campus. Neil, because he had also lost a ton of weight and yet he was still the heaviest person on campus. Isabeau, because she managed to still be around when I was voted off and till that point I felt like she hadn't given a 100% effort, so I expected that when she did turn it on she would have great results. B, because he had steadily improving numbers and because he had Kim all to himself.
7.) What is one thing that happened behind-the-scenes that no one would know from watching the show? I think the viewers at home could never appreciate just how close the cast became and how quickly it happened. Also, I think that even in two-hour episodes it is impossible to understand just how hard we all worked to get the big numbers on weigh-in day. Lastly, there were so many jokes and so much drama (like the argument between Jez and Bill) that will never make it on the air.