The Biggest Loser: Everything's Bigger in Texas

On this week's Biggest Loser, our remaining seven contestants spent some time in Texas. I don’t know about you, but when I think about Texas, I think of those places that serve burgers as big as tires. The ones you win a prize for finishing. And apparently I may not be far off: According to the show, Texas boasts five of the ten fattest cities in America.

And so our the Losers traveled to the Lone Star State to motivate its residents to make healthy lifestyle changes and to invite them to participate in a 5k run. (That’s 3.1 miles for those of us who've forgotten the metric system.)

The Texas sojourn really showed three things:
1. Our remaining contestants are genuinely nice people. I’d rather watch them in their sweaty gym clothes than have to sit through the bitch-fest that is the Real Housewives any day.
2. This show means an awful lot to people. The contestants were greeted like rock stars. For most of us, The Biggest Loser is mildly voyeuristic entertainment, but for significant numbers of overweight and obese people, it’s a lifeline that really does motivate people toward positive change. Best quote from last night's episode, uttered by someone who participated in the run: “I can’t even walk through Wal-Mart and I just finished a 5k.” And that is as sappy as I plan on getting.
3. Wrestling calves is harder than you think. In this week’s challenge, the contestants had to chase a bunch of calves around a ring and herd them into pens. The person with the most calves when time was up would win immunity, no small prize at this stage of the game. Now just close your eyes for a minute and picture seven very large city slickers running around in the dirt, chasing cows. Yee haw!

With Sam’s help, Koli won the challenge. The pair pulled off some impressive cowpoking for two Californians—a good thing, since Koli only lost one pound by weigh-in and would have fallen below the yellow line.

In the end it was Sunshine, the weepiest 24-year-old on the planet, and her beloved dad O’Neal who were up for elimination. After intense blubbering from Sunny (I like her, I do, but she needs to work on her emotional fortitude), O’Neal stepped forward and all but commanded the other contestants to vote him off. “I don’t want Sunshine to get a single vote,” he said.

The resulting elimination seemed more like O’Neal Appreciation Day than anything else. The contestants each had a chance to talk about what an inspiration he's been, and how much they love him. They're all just really nice people and their friendships seem true and heartfelt. Not to get all Sunshine-esque, but it sort of made me cry. And that—really—is as sappy as I plan on getting.

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