Please Excuse my Absence

Vacation was good and a little crazy....got back to face even more crazy. I will explain when I have time to write this weekend and maybe post a pic or two. Thanks for the kind words and patience.


Who is that?!?!

I went in to get a mani/pedi today before my vacation. Hubby and I are going up to Connecticut for five days to stay with wonderful friends we don't see enough. I am pretty excited about it. We are leaving tonight and should be back in 5 days. It will be the peak of the fall foliage and I hope to have some beautiful pictures to share. It will also be lovely to get away from this Florida heat into the brisk fall air.

I sat at a different nail station than usual. It had me facing a wall of mirrors as she did my nails. Every time I looked up I wondered who was staring at me. I have large eyes but the girl in the mirror had small piggish eyes. I have an oval face but the girl in the mirror had a very round moon pie face. She also had chubby little sausage fingers and the beginnings of a double chin. Who is that?


The Biggest Loser Part 3

We kept trying to remind ourselves that we still were up against many other pairs but it was hard not to get our hopes up at this point. They had loved us and told us to start talking to our employers, they really thought that we would be awesome candidates and so did we. It was so hard to try to start making plans to be a part of it while it was still so up in the air. The next day we made plans to make our home video. It was tough to know what we should do or say because we felt we said everything we could in the interview. We decided to just try to show a day in our lives as over weight people and drive home the keep parts of our story. We shoot the video in less takes than I thought it would take but more than the hubby would have liked. Since we couldn't edited it ourselves we had to make sure it was perfect. We took the video and 28-page background checks and sent them off over night to LA. We didn't know what to think after that step. They never said when we would hear from them next.

We thought about it day and night. Even though it has only been 4 days since our call back interview it felt like a lifetime. We finally heard something that afternoon. We got an email from another casting director named Lucy and she said we had made it to the next stage in casting. My heart started pounding, things kept rolling along. Could this be it for us!? She gave us the dates we would possibly be away for the taping of the show and again encouraged us to talk to our employers and get back to her asap that we could get the time off and everything was a go. My employer was a snap. My boss is amazing and we have a great relationship. My company isn't that large so there wasn't a lot of red tape to cut through. My boss immediately said yes and gave me his blessing. For my husband it wasn't so easy. He has a government job and there red tape abounds. The initial reaction from his boss wasn't so great. They seemed to think it was not a valid reason to ask for a leave of absence. His contract stated that he could have unpaid leave if it was a medical reason or if it was a educational endeavor. We decided we could argue it was both of those things if given the chance. Because of the urgent tone of the email we wanted to get back to Lucy as soon as possible. We decided to let her know it was a go ahead on the dates and we would figure it all out later when we got more information.

More waiting, but not for long. A couple days later another email came asking us for more pictures and this time they were very specific. They wanted: one of us at our thinnest, one of us shirtless currently, and one of us at our heaviest. They also wanted any other pictures we thought were important or showed our personality. They remind us that this is material they will use to sell us to the producers. I scrambled to get the task done as quickly as possible. A couple days later, another email comes asking us five more questions about ourselves to answer in essay form. At this point I am beginning to think Biggest Loser will know more about me than my closet friend. A few days after that we got an email asking us to write a bio about ourselves. It gave no guidelines for what the bio should include or how long it should be. It was difficult for me. Should I write one page, two pages? Should I include only things related to weight loss or all the highs and lows in my life? I went back and forth for two days and finally wrote what I thought I should. It was honest and interesting, not too long, but not to short. Pulling all this information from the depths of my mind was both therapeutic and exhausting. I was living life in a constant state of being on pins and needles. Every time I would start to think I may not hear from Lucy again she would email me. She had originally said we would know if we were heading out to LA on September 22nd. I had everything in my life revolving around that day. I wish I had known in Hollywood, these dates are more like guidelines and everything is extremely flexible. On the 20th we were sent an email saying our final step was to get a medical evaluation from our doctor before we got out there. They wanted to make sure we were healthy enough to participant. Lucy said they would also give us extensive evaluations and tests once we were in LA but they wanted to get the preliminary work out of the way since they were in a time crunch. I had to practically cry and beg to get a Doctors appointment as they again wanted the papers faxed over to them ASAP. Everything with them needed to be done yesterday but the latest. We had our physicals and faxed everything over. We were then told to fill out these very long surveys about out activity level, sleep patterns, eating patterns, and emotions. We did not have to send these in yet but they should be pack in our carry on when we fly out to LA. They needed to be ready to turn in once we got there.

The day of the 22nd came and I could barely focus. This was it, the moment of truth. Every time the phone rang I jumped out of my skin. I got an email from Lucy that afternoon saying the deadline was pushed back, not we wouldn't know anything until the 29th...a whole week later. That evening she called me and said she needed some better quality 5x7's of hubby without his shirt on. She said they were making the casting pitch books and videos and needed those to be included. I asked her how everything was coming and if she thought the 29th would truly be the date. She said they were doing there best and that everyone was pulling for us. She went on about how she thought we were great and had an awesome shot. Ahhh, just the reassurance I needed. We are so in.

The problem: hubby had filed an appeal with the leadership at his job to ask for the time off. It looked like we would only have a week once we were told we were going to LA so we had to get this in line now. He appeal was denied. How could this happen? This is meant to be. We were devastated. Hubby knew he had to fight this until the end. He stuck his neck out there and scheduled a meeting with the head of the county. He would plead his case yet again hoping for a better outcome.

The 29th came and we were given the fateful news. Lucy called me, which I thought was sweet. They said they would call us if we were on, and we would hear nothing if we did not get picked. Hubby and I were not going to LA. The sentence stung as if I had been in a swarm of angry bees. She explained that everyone loved us but that the producers really wanted people who had at least 100 pounds to lose. Hubby who is 6'5'' and 305 pounds truly couldn't have lost more than about 80 pounds, if that. In the end they wanted someone heavier. When I called hubby we had a good laugh. All his life he has struggled with is weight and now they were telling him he wasn't fat enough??!? Oh the irony.

I felt so many mixed emotions. I felt so disappointed. I felt this was my chance. It was a once in a life time opportunity and I wanted it so badly I could taste it. Every step in the processes had gone so smoothly, everyone kept saying how much they loved us. We made it through every stage of the game, and yet they still ruled us out. It was tough to swallow, and yes, I did have a big cry about it. The first thing my 12-year-old sister said to us when I told her was "Oh no! You won't be on TV now?" But for me it was never about being on TV. In fact being on TV shirtless trying to exercise is not my idea was a great time. It was about hope. Hope that I would finally have help. Hope I would get this weight off once and for all. Hope I would gain my fertility and have a baby. Hope hubby and I could get healthy together and live the life we were meant to live. I did have to mourn the loss of missing out on the biggest loser.

I also felt a bit relieved. We got the final word back on hubby's final appeal the day before and they had again said no. At this point there would have been nothing else he could do. If they had picked us he would have had to quit his job or we would have had to say no to the opportunity. It would have killed me to say no to the biggest loser and I feel I could have resented hubby for it even though it is not his fault at all. I would have been bitter. I could never have let him quit his job though, he loves it, he is so good at it, and it is a great job that is not easy to come by around here. So in the end, maybe I was spared.

So that's it. All the drama and jumping through biggest loser hoops is over. Just as quickly as everything started, it faded away. Now I stand alone again. It is up to me, and me alone to make the change. Agirlworthlosing is not the biggest loser.


The Biggest Loser Part 2

So, the next day I was at the in-laws house for dinner when I got the call. "Hi, this is Penelope from the biggest loser, I thought you were really great yesterday and I would love to have you come for a call back tomorrow afternoon." I couldn't believe it! After all the people she saw that day, after us how did she even remember what we said? I called my boss immediately and said I have an appointment I couldn't miss. I got the day off and started working on all the things they asked us to being to the call back. They wanted more pictures. They wanted props that could help us sell ourselves. They wanted us to have an new much much longer application filled out and ready. It was already 9pm and we had to finish everything by 1pm the next day and drive down again. I was running on adrenaline and stayed up half the night. Hubby was working so he couldn't even be there to help.

The next day we headed out and couldn't help but be excited. We were told to call Penelope when we got there and if she didn't answer then they were in another call back and we should wait in the lobby. We called and left a voice mail that we were there. We waited in the lobby for what felt like an eternity but it was probably about an hour. Finally Penelope called and said she was sorry they were running late but we could head up to the room now. In the room was Penelope and the male casting director from the casting call. His name was Dean. They greeted us and ushered us into the hotel suite. In the sitting area of the room there was a camera set up across from a couch. We chit chatted while they adjusted the camera and lighting. When they were done they asked for our pictures and second application. Dean held the pictures up to the camera and asked us to talk about each one. Then came the interview. Dean asked most of the questions while Penelope took notes. I thought it would be weird to talk to the camera but I just focused on Dean. He was so warm and fun to talk to it felt like any conversation I would have with a friend. The interview lasted a little over 2 hours. We talked about what seemed like everything. When we first become overweight, what our relationship with food is, how our weight affects our marriage, our fertility issues, how our weight affects us at work, our families, and more. It was a very in depth and emotional process for me. It was nice to have hubby by my side. One of the most touching moments was to hear him talk about how much he wanted to help me get to my goal weight because he wanted me to feel as beautiful and wonderful as I really am. He also got a little teary as we discusses my health and how doesn't want me to have to deal with obesity related illnesses down the road. By the end of the interview I was emotionally drained but we had a fabulous time. They hit stop on the camera and Dean said "I think you guys are perfect! You have an excellent shot at this, you need to start talking to your employers about getting some time off." Penelope handed us a 28 page background check form that must be completed for each of us and turned in 7 days from then. They also said we needed to make a home video that they would use to pitch us to the producers. They gave us the address and a special code word to put on our package to make sure it was pushed up to the top. We were told to keep everything confidential and only tell people you needed to know. They wanted to keep the contestants identities a secret.

We left feeling on top of the world! How could it have gone any better?

To be continued.

The Biggest Loser....I can finally talk about it.

Well as you may have noticed I have been spinning my wheels and getting nowhere for a few months. This was exasperated in August because I tried out for the biggest loser. As a fan of the show I always thought how cool it would be to be a part of it. Getting to spend weeks on nothing but health and fitness is a dream. No outside distractions. No excuses. Hard work, and lots of support. When I heard in early August that they wanted teams of two and were holding auditions only a little over a hour from my home I thought it would be fun to go try out. My husband is also trying to lose weight and who could make a better team mate than him.

We packed up the car Saturday morning and headed out to the audition. We didn't have our hopes up as many would audition and the chances were slim but we figured it would be interesting to see the casting process and we may meet some pretty cool people. Auditions were to be held from 10am - 5pm and they guaranteed to see the first 500 people. Hubby and I wanted to be first in line so we could we could have the rest of Saturday to spend some time together. We got there a little before 6am and happened to be number nine in line. The first person had gotten there at midnight! Wow! That is dedication! About an hour later there were hundreds of people there and more coming every minute. I was certainly glad to have gotten an great spot in line. For the audition we had to fill out an application and bring a picture. I couldn't decide what pictures to submit so we went through the 20 I brought as we waited. We each did a head shot and a full body. It couldn't hurt to send two right? As I heard the stories of each of the other biggest loser wanna-bes I was touched. Each person I spoke with was pretty fabulous. It was nice to talk to a whole group of people who all had weight issues. We could all relate on that level. There was every kind of overweight person there. Some had 50 pounds to lose and some had 300. Some were old, some young. Some came in pairs of co-workers, best friends, parent-child teams and everything in between. Some even came by themselves. Even thought they asked for teams they had to give it a chance. To see the hope in each persons eyes made me sad. I know very few would even make it to call backs. I am hoping they can take control and lose weight on their own.

As the casting opened a little after 10am we formed a line. As it zig-zagged across the room and way out the door I realized it would be a very long day for some. As number 9 in line we only waited about 20 mins to be called. They were bringing people up in groups on 8 and we were in the second group. When we got up stairs they broke us up into two groups of four. There were two casting directors, a man and a women, each one took a group of four.

We were sent over to the women's side of the room. She introduced herself and warmly smiled. They other two in our group were best friends and co-workers. They looked very nervous. Shawn and I weren't taken it two serious so we felt pretty laid back. The casting director asked took our applications and pictures and asked us to go around and say our name, age, how much we weigh, how much we want to lose and our profession. I was the first to start. It was very odd to hear myself saying out loud how much I weighed and how much I needed to lose. In fact, I had never said it to anyone except here on my blog. Hearing a number over 300 pounds is just too much of a slap of reality. Also, facing the fact you weight more than your husband who is a tall guy is a shot to the gut. I guess I am usually living in a fantasy land. After we had all finished she asked us each to tell her our motivations for losing weight and why we would want to do it on BL. Hubby did a fabulous job and was very easy-going and witty. He got many laughs and I was proud of his interview skills. I was a little more serious with what I said and truthfully I teared up a bit. I said I didn't want to cry but when you speak from the heart its tough. All in all we spent about 5 minutes with her and then were all thanked for coming and told they would only call back 20 teams that day and if we didn't get a call we should send in a video if we want a second chance. Hubby and I felt we did well but how can you really tell much from 5 minutes? We laughed about the things we said and drove home not expecting a call back.

To be continued.