Big winner goes Biggest Loser

The email from NBC came and offered up an interview with American Idol winner-turned Biggest Loser contestant Ruben Studdard and I brushed it off at first.

Thinking it just might be another one of those has-been celebs looking for another chance in the spotlight I didn’t pay much attention to it. Well, at first, anyway.

And the thought of being wide awake and chatty at 5:30 a.m. also didn’t help me sign on to do the thing. In the end, I did it – not to mock him for winning American Idol and seemingly disappearing off the face of the earth (though that did cross my mind), I was actually interested to hear why Studdard planned to lose weight now. He weighed in at 462 lb. at the start of the show, he told me.

Was he having health problems? Would he be taken more seriously if he were a thinner celebrity? These are all questions I decided to ask.

I started out with a hard-hitting query: “This might sound like a weird question, but what was the tipping point? When did you tell yourself, I need to make a change? What happened?”

And his response confirmed my inclination about going on the show.

“I actually got a call from somebody at NBC that was asking if I had any interest in being on The Biggest Loser,” said Studdard. “You know, I thought about it for a couple of days and I looked at myself in the mirror and I just said, ‘You know what, you’re 34. It’s time for you to make a change in your life.’”

Not was it that he was concerned about his health and safety but it took some stranger calling up from a TV show and asking if he wanted to lose weight.

I’ve interviewed many weight-loss experts – including Bob Harper from The Biggest Loser – and the first thing they all tell me is that you have to want to do it for yourself. Not because your hubby is nagging you to get off the couch or that your kids are whining that you don’t want to play sports with them – do it for yourself.

In the end I have to give Studdard kudos because he did step up to the challenge. Would he be more successful if it was his idea in the first place? I don’t know. It all depends on if he can keep up the lifestyle change after his next 15 minutes is up.

My full chat with Ruben Studdard is online at


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