The Jacksons, Week 19: 'The Biggest Loser' Shows Oxford His Winning Ways

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge

biggest loser patrick house picture

"The Biggest Loser," season 10 winner, Patrick House, helped me and other Oxford, Miss., residents jump-start our health and fitness goals. Credit: Leslie Smith

Gut feelings -- not related to overeating -- can be good.

During his audition, Patrick House said he had fire-in-the-belly hunches that he'd win NBC's "The Biggest Loser," season 10. Turns out they were spot on.

I feel blessed to have been able to chat with House, a 28-year-old Brandon, Miss., native, when he returned to his home state and Oxford, Miss., to preach the virtues of health and fitness. His visit was timely, as Mississippi last year claimed the title of the fattest state for the fifth consecutive year, meaning it had the greatest number of overweight or obese residents, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards.

In a series of appearances in town and at the University of Mississippi, House motivated us Oxford residents who are fighting the weight war. He pumped us up; he encouraged me and other participants of the "Healthy You, Healthy L.O.U.," a five-month local health initiative, to stick with it and to continue our progress.

I sat down at a small table with House at the local Smoothie King, where he was autographing pictures. It was after 2 p.m., near the end of a long week. His eyes were reddened and he looked weary; but here he sat, talking with me, yet another weight warrior, he looking svelte at 241 pounds, a far cry from the 421 pounds he used to weigh at the start of the televised competition. Although I've never watched "The Biggest Loser," I was intrigued by his story.

As we talk, what becomes clear is how much this young guy loves his family. His toughest moments during "The Biggest Loser" competition? Not facing various food temptations or resisting the urge to break camp and find a greasy burger joint, but being away from his wife and two boys for all those long months.

His family helped motivate him into taking the steps to drop the pounds, he said: "Being that heavy, I couldn't do the normal day-to-day routines that most people take for granted. I couldn't go outside and play with my boys; I couldn't get on the floor, roll around and just have fun with my kids. So my main motivation for losing weight was so I could be around longer for my family, and ultimately, spend more time with my boys."

Isn't it funny how doing the "right" thing –- as far as health and fitness is concerned –- often is borne out of our passionate desire to please others first, to do right by them?

Remember, that was me during Week 5 of this Healthy Families Challenge; I vowed to take better care of myself for my son's sake. I think similar desires exist for many folks, perhaps because others hold us accountable for what we say in a way that we, ourselves, do not. When we know we'll have to answer to others, it's a bit easier to kick-start that fitness or healthy-eating program we've ignored for so long.

However, there was one thing that concerned me about House's phenomenal weight-loss story. He was a former Delta State University football player before he got married, started a family and a career, and saw excess pounds creep onto his frame. As a former student athlete, he's already used to the self-control that comes with the rigorous training, exercise and diet that accompany competitive sports programs.

Could folks relate their own struggles to his?

Even now, as I continue with my own exercise regimen, I know my eating habits could be better. And, I've been at that ideal weight, while working out two times a day and following a strict eating regimen, before the pounds crept back on. So, House's words meant much to me.

Since losing more than 180 pounds or 45.3 percent of his original weight, he has taken a job with Mindstream Academy in Bluffton, S.C., where he says he'll help teens with weight issues, according to the Clarion-Ledger newspaper.

After our conversation, I left believing that House helped reinforce what I already know: that today –- not tomorrow or next week or next month –- is our day, so let's do this.


Who's the rest of the competition? Check out all the challengers' latest updates here.



How is the Jackson family doing? Check in on their progress!


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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.