Who won The Biggest Loser Season 7?
The controversial winner of this past season of The Biggest Loser is Helen Phillips. I saw controversial because fans of the show are lining up to complain about the outcome — most fans, it seems, wanted Tara Costa to win, and don’t mind sharing their feelings about Helen Phillips. One message board is full of terrible insults, from claims that Helen Phillips is “an uncaring mother”, while another fans calls her “selfish” and warns that “what goes around comes around”. Obviously the victory of Helen Phillips was upsetting to many fans.
The Biggest Loser is an NBC program in which show participants come in with “at least one hundred pounds” to lose in order to be at a healthy weight. The contestants compete for months, engaging in various types of exercise and following fitness programs that are guided by strict weight trainers and exercise coaches. Every week, the person who loses the least amount of weight leaves the show for good, eventually leading to a showdown between the top two contestants. The “biggest loser” becomes the winner of that particular season during the finale, taking home $250,000 and enjoying a brief moment of nationwide celebrity and popularity.
However, The Biggest Loser is not just about the winner. In a sense, every contestant is a “winner” — and not in the way that everyone in your junior high science fair was a “winner”. Even the first person to be eliminated from the show usually sheds about 10 pounds during that first week of training and healthier eating. And the contestants eliminated along the way have been given an amazing opportunity to transform their bodies, even if they don’t take home the top prize. Ideally, everyone who is cut from the program goes home having subscribed to a healthier lifestyle, through better food choices and a workout routine.
NBC’s The Biggest Loser is one of the few shows on television that can be watched by the whole family. The show carries a rating of “TV-PG”, not often seen outside of Nickelodeon or the Disney Channel. It isn’t just the participants that benefit from the show — viewers of The Biggest Loser are likely to come away from the viewing experience with a renewed hope for their own lives. The show lays out a solid plan for losing weight and gaining confidence in your body, not to mention very visual proof of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle The message of the show is simple — when you exercise and eat right, you become healthier.
Helen Phillips won this season’s challenge because she lost 55 percent of her weight — an incredible feat, and one of the largest losses in the show’s history, and it means that Helen Phillips lost a total of 140 pounds. There should be little controversy, considering the show chooses its winner based on numbers alone; you lose the most weight, you win the money. However, during the course of the show, fans fall in love with some contestants while others become “villains”. This is the natural effect of television, and it creates intrigue and keeps people interested in the show. What is it about Helen Phillips that makes people so angry? And why did viewers fall in love with Tara Costa?
Entering the show at 47 years old, many people thought that it would be impossible for Helen Phillips to demonstrate the kind of weight loss necessary to win The Biggest Loser. She came into the show at 257 pounds, and left at 117, an incredible amount of weight loss. Working alongside her daughter (and team partner) Shanon, Helen Phillips managed to go from a so called “Real Age” of 60 (even though her biological age was 47) to a “Real Age” of 50 — effectively adding ten years to her life. However, many viewers looked past her incredible weight loss to some supposedly “selfish actions” made by Helen Phillips during the course of the show. This includes a moment when Phillips ate a cookie to spite another contestant, and ended up costing that contestant a $10,000 prize. Also, at one point during the show, Helen Phillips had the choice of staying and continuing on with the show, or letting her daughter/partner stay — obviously, Helen Phillips chose to stay and sent her daughter home.
In stark contrast to Helen Phillips, Tara Costa often offered a helping hand to her fellow contestants, including a touching moment in episode 2 when she got a small group of contestants together to help fellow contestant Dan up a small mountain. Fans of Tara Costa speak of her “heart” and her “joy” during the course of the show — not to mention that she lost a ton of weight.
Fans of the show will just have to be happy with the result. After all, The Biggest Loser is not a personality contest. Helen Phillips won because of the amazing change in her body, and anyone who loses over 50% of their body weight is obviously committed to the program.