Tara Costa's Biggest Loser Blog: Stepping Up to Fight Obesity

Tara Costa's Biggest Loser Blog: Stepping Up to Fight Obesity
Tara Costa
Courtesy Tara Costa

09/22/2010 AT 08:35 AM EDT

It seems like everyone these days – newscasters, past presidents and even the First Lady – is raising awareness about the obesity epidemic. If you haven't heard the news from one of them, The Biggest Loser premiere sure did blast you with it Tuesday night.

We were given some startling info, including the statistic that two out of three Americans are fat, and the fact that childhood obesity rates have tripled. When you hear all of this, it makes you sick. Obesity is an epidemic, but the craziest thing is we do it to ourselves.

With these stats as a backdrop, Allison, Jillian and Bob went to seven different cities across the U.S. to find season 10 contestants. My eyes began to swell with tears as these hopefuls told their gut-wrenching stories, like Aaron's struggles with food addiction; Allie's disappointment that gastric bypass surgery wasn't the solution she thought it would be; Shanna's battle with breast cancer and obesity; and Adam and Sandy's losing loved ones who suddenly died in their sleep.

The important thing all of these potential contestants share is the relief of speaking out. I feel people don't understand that you can be addicted to food, there are no shortcuts to weight loss and we should all reach out to loved ones affected by obesity.

It is not easy to nab a coveted spot on The Biggest Loser, so I'm surprised the show made it even tougher by having the hopefuls earn their place by either doing 500 steps or completing a mile run. It's hard to say which person deserves to go to the Ranch more, but I also find it difficult to have a 450-lb. man compete against a 240-lb. female. I do have mixed feelings – on one hand, you have a group of contestants who push through pain and don't give up but on the other hand you have some people who physically cannot do a challenge because their bodies fail them. It all seems a little tricky to me, and I do think that the people who did not make the Ranch will have another opportunity and that all of them will be seen at the finale. No matter what, they are all going to be pushing themselves to lose weight because they have a goal, a prize to work towards and all of us holding them accountable.

Yet I do have an MVP for this episode. It was a close call between Brendan, who said "self respect is the root of discipline" – and even has it tattooed on his forearm – and Fredo, who said, "I want to be a part of something that is bigger than myself, that is my family." We saw Fredo establishing his weight-loss goals so he can be a better man for his wife and father for his children. So I am giving the first MVP to FREDO because he also took the time to offer condolences and support to Elizabeth after she had to be taken away to the hospital. You can see that he is a genuine person and what you see is what you get (typical Staten Island attitude)!

One last thing, did any of you pick up on the fact that Brendan is from Boston and Fredo is from N.Y. – I wonder if there will be fights in the house about baseball.

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