It’s not all about weight now on Channel 10’s The Biggest Loser: Transformed. It’s about life goals and healthy outcomes.
Josh wants to be a policeman, but he’s overweight.
Jenny, at 60, wants to do an endurance horse ride, saying “the horse will feel a hell of a lot happier when I’m 30 kilos lighter”.
Nikki’s partner has never seen her naked and she just wants to have the confidence to wear a bikini.
“I think she’s the most beautiful person in the world. I want her to have confidence in herself,” her partner says.
Matt, 37, is fear-ridden – fear of gyms (even the smell makes him anxious), fear of water, fear of being bullied.
Of course, weight loss is part of it, but equally it’s attitudes that need to change, fears that need to be faced and confidence that needs to be built for meaningful results.
That’s the theory of the “new” show. Gone are Michelle Bridges and Steve “Commando” Willis. Shannan Ponton is the only remaining original coach.
“This is the show I’ve always dreamed of making. A total transformation. Mind, body and spirit,” he says.
He is joined by newcomer Libby Babet.
“My dream coming out of this is that you feel you have energy and bodies capable of taking you on any adventure you want to go on,” she tells the contestants.
So, while there’s still a prize of $50,000 for the person losing the largest percentage of weight, the big prize of $100,000 this year is voted on by the public and will go to the person who has transformed their mind, body and weight the most.
In the first episode, the participants were sorted into teams and introduced to the gym.
Matt immediately had to deal with his phobias. Shannan promised he would not bully him – but he did push him hard to box like he meant it, not with gentle pokes.
Then, it was a race on kayaks across Sydney Harbour. Matt had never been in the water at the beach before and Nikki was terrified of sharks.
She chose the apparent strong man, Jake, to be her kayak partner but his shoulder quickly gave him problems and she ended up being the motivator and leader.
Kayaks capsized and Matt had a major struggle to get back on board. But, with the vocal support of Shannan and his teammates, he pulled himself up and, amazingly, made it to the end of the challenge.
Nikki and her team won the challenge and she was chosen by them to win the “power band” – a bracelet that protects you from elimination for a week. They made it clear to her she had won because she overcame her fears and motivated Jake to finish the race.
It will be interesting to see how this new focus plays out in coming weeks.
A holistic approach to weight loss makes sense – but is it enough to attract an audience to what was a tired format?