The day before the Live Finale - 3:00 PM

After getting some of that Disney Magic where Jill and I tried on hats that also served as scarves and stuffed animal pets all rolled into one, we left the Happiest Place on Earth, and proceeded on to the Proudest Place on Earth. We checked into the hotel that “at-home” contestants and their families were staying. Some members from Joe’s family and Jackson’s family were staying at the same hotel we were as well.

The Final Four: Jackson, Danni, Joe, and Jeff were sequestered in alternate locations. I don’t know where Jeff and Danni’s families were staying, but they may have been in the same hotel I was and I just didn’t meet them.

I went to check-in and naturally, I confirmed my room was geographically as close as it could be to Alex and her family. I got two doors down! Score! Once Jill and I were settled, Alex's mother, Linda, and my friend, Doris, Alex’s Aunt, popped over to our room to chat and get acquainted. Crafty Jill spent most of the night-before making gorgeous Team Alex banners. Linda and Doris loved them. They were green and pink; naturally, because Alex’s individual team colors were green and pink.

I’ve confessed that I love food, and despite my weight loss success, I’m still wired where I always need to know when and where my next meal is. If I don’t have this information, I go a little (my boyfriend would say a lot) crazy in the head. I, feeling hungry, am not pretty at all. With dinner several hours away, and without knowing a precise time, I opened the snacks. Jill and I are on two different plans. This means we eat differently. She is limiting her sugar intake and she picked up a nut based trail mix that had a few chocolate caramel pieces. This worked out perfectly, because I’m not limiting my sugar intake and I was able to eat several of the chocolate caramels while avoiding eating more nuts than I wanted to. This trail mix has turned into a food that I’m still thinking about which is why I won’t be going down that aisle of any grocery store for a bit.

We still had several hours before Alex would be joining us so Doris and Linda returned to their room. I had some time to relax. For me that meant I was writing; for Jill that meant she was being crafty. Jill made Alex an adorable hand-crafted scrapbook. When I say hand-crafted, I mean hand-crafted! Even the cover and all of the pages in the book were hand-crafted. She is so talented. She filled the scrapbook with precious pictures Linda gave us of Alex from her childhood. This brings me to an important point. People who have issues with addiction, and there are some who believe over-eating is an act of addiction, often funnel their addiction somewhere else once they’ve lost that weight.

I never quite understood why The Biggest Loser paid so much attention to the physical activity portion of the journey as opposed to the food portion, which, based on my training as a weight loss consultant, was by far the most important part of the journey. After talking with people this past weekend, and hearing consistently they were spending about six hours a day in the gym, I realized that the primary reason the show Biggest Loser focuses on physical activity is so that the addiction to food (again – if you believe it’s possible to be addicted to food) is funneled into an addiction to physical activity.

Aha! That’s it! I don’t think it, I know it. I’m so very proud of myself for figuring that out. I think it’s also interesting that Jill and I both chose hobbies that involved our fingers, hobbies that would in theory prevent us from eating while doing the activity. But now I get the connection and the “why.” I’ve been asking myself the “why” the need for physical activity ever since I first walked into Jenny Craig as a client in 1993. I now understand the “why” and the goal behind it, over and above furthering the weight loss, because I’m pretty close to goal as it is. I can finally schedule in physical activity, or at least make an honest effort to do so. No really, I honestly get it now.

7:30 pm

There is a knock at the hotel room door. It’s the moment I’ve been waiting for. Doris and Lindabrought skinny Alex over so I could finally meet her in person. In my opinion (and I used to weigh and measure people for a living,) Alex’s weight is perfect. She’s toned, yet very feminine. In addition to being such a doll, she’s a natural beauty, a true beauty, inside and out. Words cannot express how touched I was when Alex extended an invite to the finale, and for her to offer two tickets so I could bring a friend. I know you've read that I've called Alex beautiful in my articles over and over and over, with the exception of the Miss Congeniality Article I wrote, I wasn't aware I knew someone with a relative on the show. Crazy I know!

We showed Alex the banners, and answered the age-old question, "What's for dinner?"

Wait there’s more – to be continued.

I really wanted to cater to Alex, but she's so polite that even though the finale was less than 22 hours away, she treated us as her guests. After a half hour of mutual admiration club banter such as:

“What type of food would you like?”

”It's up to you. “What is your favorite restaurant?"

“I’m totally open. What are you in the mood to eat?"

”I can go with anything, it's up to you. Whatever you are craving?"

Finally, because we weren’t getting anywhere, the five of us were ready to pile into Jill's car and head to a Créole place recommended by Big Mike in a text to Alex.

Full Disclosure: You might think going out to eat with someone participating in The Biggest Loser finale would have been taking on too much liability, but since I’m a former weight loss consultant, I know Alex absolutely owns her own program. My daughter called me last night and told me she saw in small print while watching the finale that it disclosed the weights that were taken prior to the live show.

8:00 PM

We get in the elevator with Sunny’s dad. I had the privilege of sitting directly behind Sunny’s parents during the live finale. If you watch the episode you can see me holding up a "Congratulations Sunny" sign behind them, hitting my leg to make a clapping sound so I can still hold the sign with my left hand. He is so proud of his daughter, it’s infectious. His excitement showed, although we didn’t speak a great deal. You could just see it on his face and in his smile.

We go down into the lobby and we see all the kids. First, Alex pointed to a landing (viewing the hotel lobby) to point out Bingo. Then she introduced me to Lindsay and Sunny, who were in the lobby with their families. Lindsay’s spirit and charm really overwhelmed me in a good way. I don’t want to say she was mature, that’s the wrong word for it, but her ability to handle the attention and still be an adorable, sweet kid was impressive. She grabbed my hand and told me how excited she was to meet “me” (not because of the writing, no one I spoke to realized was carrying editorials on the show – they know now though) just because I was a fan of the show and had lost weight as well.

The lovely girl who lost 80 pounds and who was profiled in a recent episode was in the lobby with her family as well.

Then I got to meet the person I was most excited to meet in person, Pam (in addition to Alex of course.) I’m sure Pam will be my BFF for sure. She's simply irresistible and wicked fun. I was right about the black straight hair, bob haircut, and red lipstick, wasn't I? I was able to forward her some article links through Facebook after the finale. What I didn’t realize is that Pam was with Jackson’s family. I wish I would have known that, but I didn’t catch on until I got home and watched the Finale.

Next I saw Gina. She stood out to me even in the first episode. Before I got a few pictures, I told her about the open letter to her with love. After I got home I forwarded her the link through Facebook and I assured her that if I had been a contestant on the show, the edits would have shown me checked in at psychiatric hospital. That gave her a little giggle.


The Biggest Loser: Work Together
February 24 - Season 14 - Episode: 8
An Open Letter to Gina - With Love

Everyone was so polite to let us take pictures. We had such a blast, but it was way past dinner time (especially since Alex, her family and myself were all on central time.)

8:30 PM

Jill programmed the GPS in her car and we started on our drive to dinner. It was just seven miles away, so we'd planned to grab a quick bite, and be back at the hotel for an early turn-in.

Sigh, if it only was that simple. Hurrah!

Stay tuned.