And so it begins. As America confronts its collective New Year's resolution to lose weight, NBC has launched a third season of The Biggest Loser: Couples, and the first official eliminee was James Crutchfield, one-half of the self-named "Half-Ton Twins."
We checked in with him about going home so early, the remarkable progress of his home-based weight-loss efforts, and even got some dish about what burgeoning romances he left behind at the ranch...
James' number one piece of advice for would-be losers, which coincides nicely with this season of new beginnings, is to avoid procrastination. He says, above all else, "Start today."
He started right after being voted off the show at the end of the first week and has made remarkable progress, saying, "I've lost over 75 pounds now. The main benefit is to be able to be active. Before—my knee, I kind of used that as an excuse—not an excuse, I mean, it was a real problem, and my weight compounded that problem...My goal weight is 250 pounds, that would be a loss of 235 pounds."
So what was holding him back? According to James, "My biggest problem was the nutrition. Once you have the nutrition right, and you start shedding the pounds, you're able to do more, and once you're able to do more, you're able to burn more fat, and you're able to work out more."
Within the broader category of nutrition, James confesses that he had a major problem with one substance in particular: salt. In addition to James' knee problems, he revealed that he was hospitalized with dangerously high blood pressure just before the show started taping, and that drastically changing his diet has made all the difference.
James says, "Salt was a big, big, big problem. I was in the hospital with extremely high blood pressure a month before the show, extremely high—it was like 169/130—the nurses were freaking out. And I was not putting it together. I consider myself a pretty smart guy but I didn't put it together that, 'Hey, you ate 14,000 milligrams of salt today! Don't you think that might raise your blood pressure?' I think I was just blind to it because I wasn't counting or looking at what I was putting in my body. So that was my biggest obstacle, salt. Now I don't eat more than 2,000 milligrams a day, a seventh of what I used to eat."
He credits all the success to a combination of his week at the ranch, a 24-Hour Fitness membership and tools like Biggest Loser cookbooks, saying they've given him the assist he needed. "The week I spent on the ranch, I really learned so much, and all I really needed was a jump start, and to grow more confident that you can go home and do this—you don't have to go home and have surgery or something drastic like that."
James was considering drastic measures indeed, like gastric bypass surgery or the Lap-Band, before earning a spot on the show, and he's grateful to his wife for having literally having done the legwork to get him the opportunity. At his precompetition weight, James was unable to stand for himself, so she stood in line for him for six hours at the Tampa tryouts to snag him a spot. (She's also lost 24 pounds herself since he's been home and focusing on his weight-loss regimen!)
Love made a difference for James, but did he see any blossoming love affairs between the Couples contestants he left behind on the ranch? According to James, "In the short time I was there, I was only there for a week, I didn't really pick up on anything yet, but who knows? There are several single young people on there, and we've heard their stories—never been kissed, never been in love, things like that—so when you go through this together and you're single, I'm sure it's possible for sparks to fly eventually."
Heck, they say love conquers all, and there's no reason to think that morbid obesity is any different.
Which teams do you want to see win The Biggest Loser: Couples edition? Do you think John Crutchfield will be able to endure without his twin brother at his side? Are you doing anything different in 2010 to get healthier and shed pounds?
Get our countdown of the top 10 TV premieres of 2010.