Andrea left me a message on Thursday asking if I'd be up for going to tryouts for The Biggest Loser today. Other a class at the gym, I didn't have anything else going on today. Plus, maybe the crowd would make me feel a bit better about myself if I was one of the smaller folks there. I could hope.
I weight about 320lbs. Maybe more, maybe less. It's been changing a lot since I started working out back in May. I'm definitely not shedding pounds like mad but I'm feeling better than I was. When I see people on TV that weight 320lbs they always look a lot different than I do -- to me at least. I don't look like that much of a "before picture" -- my man boobs are present but I'm not more than an A-cup. I always have to ask Andrea, "Do I look like that?" when I see guys on Biggest Loser or Dance Your Ass Off or other shows that tip the scales at my weight. Regardless, I don't want to weigh that much. I shouldn't weigh that much. So, I'd be a lousy "before picture" but I'd like to think that the loss of a hundred pounds or so would still be a dramatic change.
Tryouts started at 10AM and we showed up around 1PM. Out of 500 allotted slots, only about 300 showed up throughout the day. That's my best guess, anyway, as I was #280 and not too many folks came in after us.
Reports from other people in line had previous years' tryouts also held at Gardner White Furniture with lines out the door and in the elements. This time around it was raining some but the line was completely indoors by the time we got there, winding through the furniture showroom.
Ironic that we were in a furniture store yet people felt the need to bring their own chairs. There just seems to be something wrong about people coming in for a weight loss show that can't stand in line but have to sit. Or, maybe they're so wrong they're right--"See how much I need to be on this show? Allow me to demonstrate."
It also felt wrong in so many ways that the people in front and behind us couldn't stop talking about food. The girl in front of us discussed her love of butter at length. I did my best to tune out everyone around me and just concentrate on the book I but sometimes you just can't get off a conversation wavelength once you're on. While I listened to the girl in front of me, Andrea couldn't block out the three behind us.
No matter how much I tried to not pay attention to them, though, I couldn't help but hear when one of them asked an XXL furniture salesman, "Why don't you try out?"
I wanted to crawl under a rock from embarrassment but she had no clue why asking that wasn't too polite.
Former Biggest Loser winner and Ann Arbor resident Pete Thomas was there to inspire folks. He worked the crowd pretty well, taking time to chat with folks.
Over three hours later we finally made it to the front of the line. The line manager tried to charge us up with a little real talk (a term I'd never heard used apart from the hilarious R. Kelly "song"). After being in line for so long, I wasn't too keen on racing in and doing a song and dance for some Biggest Loser producer. That's the image I had in my mind as to what was behind the archway where the line ended. Not to say that I didn't also fantasize about all of us fat people being herded into a gas chamber at the end of the line, as well.
The line manager put us in two groups of eight which she counted, recounted, and counted again. We then moved into a staging area where she gave us another pep talk before sending us on our way. No song and dance, no gas chamber. Instead, we ended up at one of two tables where a Biggest Loser representative had us go around, introduce ourselves, and give our weight history in about a minute/minute and a half each.
I've never been in group therapy but I've seen it enough on TV to know that it felt like we were having a session. Wouldn't you know, we made it into group with the chatty girls from in front of and behind us. Oddly, the girl in front of us barely said anything as we went around the table. The other women weren't quite as quiet.
One by one we told our tales of woe. The young dude with the cane and the story about once being a Golden Gloves boxer who got shot played it smart, talking about how inspirational his story could be and that he could show how difficult it was for people with disabilities to work out and lose weight. I wouldn't be surprised if he and his mom (an assistant in a nursing home) got a call back.
After the introductions, the Biggest Loser guy opened up a topic for discussion: "How do people treat you since you're heavy?" This could have been fodder for the full hour of group therapy but we only had maybe five minutes total to put out the most cursory of comments. Yes, we were there for over three hours for all of about fifteen minutes of limited interaction with the guy who took our applications before we were shuffled out the side door.
My phone never rang yesterday but my application is in their hands. Here's hoping that if and when The Biggest Loser gives me a call I won't need them anymore.