The Biggest Loser is one of the biggest reality shows on the dial, which airs on Tuesday nights at 8 PM ET on NBC. Two of the contestants from this season's incarnation, The Biggest Loser: Couples, Joelle Gwynn and Carla Triplett, recently held a conference call to discuss their experiences on the reality series. Here's what they had to say.
Just to start did either of you foresee having Joelle stay on the ranch instead of Carla that might lead to a situation that - like would happen?
Joelle Gwynn: This is Joelle. The surprise of having one of us make the decision to stay on the ranch was a shocker for everyone on the ranch and it was a hard decision. I was the person who had suggested that we audition; I proposed this to Carla. And when we were talking I asked Carla, you know, let me - let's stay and let me stay here and fight. There are times that I was walking, I knew it would be a hard decision, and this is an opportunity that I wanted for a long time. And I knew from Week 1 it would be a hard challenge. But my goal was to fight and go through challenges. And I did that and I was able to bring her back. Who knew that I would go through so many but I did persevere to ensure that she would be brought back.
It was based on the conversation you had when you were deciding which one to send home it seemed like you might be a little skeptical of Joelle's commitment; was that accurate at all?
Carla Triplett: Yes that was very accurate, you know, like I said when we - the first week on the ranch I started seeing signs that, you know, she was struggling a little bit and she didn't want - she wanted to prove not just to me but I guess some family and friends at home, you know, that she was able to, you know, overcome these challenges. And so I said okay I'll go home and that way, you know, you can be able to prove that to the people that you want to prove it to including me. So that's what I did.
How long had you two been friends before you went on the show?
Carla Triplett: I've known Joelle for two years. And I would say that, you know, we're still friends. I'm not sure how she feels but I still consider her a friend.
Joelle Gwynn: Yeah, Carla and I were actually more acquaintances; we have known each other for two years. She did suggest for the marketing purposes that we put best friends. But we are still interacting in the same way that we did before and we're still working on achieving our goals. We're just doing it separately.
Had there been similar problems like this in the relationship in the two years or is this something new?
Carla Triplett: We had not really had that much interaction prior to that. It's been minimal.
Joelle Gwynn: I differ - I disagree, we have. I've never seen that side of Joelle until we got the ranch but, you know. That's all in the past and we're just going to move forward.
Joelle, I know you explained at the ranch but to be clear when looking back on it do you think that you gave up a little or didn't give your full effort at any time?
Joelle Gwynn: No. I think I went through tremendous challenges. And anytime that you try to grow you're going to have hills; it's like a roller coaster, you're going to have peaks and valleys. Now dealing with the challenges between my personal teammate and then with like the outside team I tried to stay on the high road and keep quiet about those. And that was kind of tearing at me some and that may have brought me down a little bit more and maybe - maybe my weak point was not speaking up or interacting. But the focus of this opportunity was to lose weight. And I challenged myself to do that. And that was the goal to stay in, get stronger and to stay on the show as best as possible. And the strategy that I used for doing that was to try and keep quiet and to try and ignore as much as I could. And that's what I did.
Carla, did you think that Joelle had given up at all in that last week?
Carla Triplett: I think she worked out hard the week to bring me back. And when I got back I think she may have given up a tad bit, yeah because the workouts weren't as vigorous as she was doing the week before. And, you know, everyone noticed it and, you know, I'd mentioned it to her. And of course, you know, there are some times when she wasn't on the ranch because she decided to do other things. But, yeah, I think she did give up a little bit.
Joelle Gwynn: Now if I can add I didn't know you were speaking specifically of Week 6. Week 6 was a special week; Week 6 was the election week. I had submitted my absentee ballot prior to that and found out that somehow it has been messed up. And the week before I worked diligently to bring Carla back because that was the only thing that I could try and do. I felt she deserved - as everyone who auditioned for that show, her opportunity to be on the ranch. I mean, I'm not trying to give excuses but I worked so hard. I was outdone sore. And what you may not be aware of is that I had to make a decision that the producers and cast did not like. I felt to uphold my civic duty and I had to leave and go vote. And I wanted to do that for several reasons, it was a historic moment for my community. And at that point there had started to become a lot of division again. Carla honestly had not had - had minimum faith in my effort. And even after I brought her back there was a lot of kind of dogmatic behavior. And that was building tension between us. And then the other cast members could see that. And it was almost like we were competing. So when I made the choice to go and vote it was not well received. And when it was time for me to speak with Carla we weren't, you know, she didn't really want to speak at that time. But I understood that that was a really hard decision. And I did ask the producers that it not impact Carla. When I returned I came back and I worked - I was working like 90 minutes on the cardio - on the walker and everything. The light that I said that I had was on. And even though I was in pain and could not physically do as much I was pushing. And I knew I had to do more; could I do as much as last week? No. But I've never heard Carla express there's a good thing regarding my workout. It was stressful physically and mentally at that point but I did not give up.
Joelle, I'm just curious what was your biggest hurdle when it came to following Bob's instructions? You seemed to have a hard time with that.
Joelle Gwynn: No it was hard following Bob's instructions. When I saw some of the feedback - and you all got to see it before I did... To me I think it was a bit of editing. The first and second week when Bob had that incident it was more of a mental thing. I remember that specifically when he was saying that I was not doing the 20, you know, the 30-second intervals. I had an ankle with a plate inside pinned and a while ago when 911 happened I had not been running, I had not been athletic. And in my mind I'm like I'm a fat woman and if like an emergency happened I could not save myself in an emergency. And here I was facing that with that kind of negative mindset and this man is telling me to run. That was a mental block that I had to do. Now his method I think was excessive and it was not the best for me. But I did not stop. At that point I was not, you know, people were saying you were being selfish; I was humiliated, I wanted to - I wanted to, you know, extend myself, I wanted to cry, I wanted to walk out. But I knew it wasn't just for me and I had to remember what's the goal. I had to figure out what I needed to do to make it through. And even though people saw that I was trying to be weak or people didn't think I was defending myself enough I persevered to make sure that I stayed on that treadmill and pushed just not for me but for Carla and for everything that I wanted because I had this opportunity. A lot of people when they talk with me about that moment they laughed; they're like oh that was funny. Bob even texted me when that show aired and like wasn't that good TV? That was one of the most humiliating points of my life. But the fact that I stayed on, I was never rude to anyone nor Bob; I consider that a victory. And in fact I didn't do those 30 seconds at that moment; that was again some good editing. But later I was able to master that. And now I'm doing 7.0s and minutes and two minutes so I'm glad that that was a hurdle that I passed.
I just wanted to hear what your side was because we all saw it on TV so I wasn't sure. Now I also wanted to know what actually motivated the both of you to sign up for it?
Joelle Gwynn: For me, Season 3 there was a gentleman that was on - I was sitting down eating a double fillet of fish combo and apple pie watching the show - and there was a gentleman that I dated from college on. And he looked fantastic; he had dropped 95 pounds. And I contacted him and we talked and I was just really motivated because at that year I'd really been considering gastric bypass surgery. So I started researching that and it really seemed like it was the answer. And then I asked Carla for one audition and she couldn't make it. And then the other audition - the third audition I went for she could make it. And they loved her sparkle and shine and we got an immediate response. So it was just wanting to go on there to save myself from gastric bypass.
I just wanted to know what did your routine consist of outside of the ranch now that you're both home?
Carla Triplett: Actually I workout between six to eight hours a day. Actually I'm working out now while I'm talking to you guys because I have to keep moving. And pretty much is the cardio and weight training, you know. And I'm doing that before, you know, once I found out that I was on the show I made sure that I took care of what I needed to take care of to have the time off from work. And since I still had that time available I'm going to utilize it until I go back.
Joelle Gwynn: Now for me it's the combination of not only the cardio and the weight training but I've been doing kick boxing, which I love, which helps getting out a lot of stress. The Pilates, the yoga. I'm going to a gym where they offer spinning classes, swimming, so I'm really doing a good mix of it. And doing that with the counting and the cardio has really helped me with muscle. I think not so much weight loss is gone but it's really helped me with toning up and inches coming off.
Now, Carla, I also wanted to know how do you think you would have done if you were the one that stayed at the ranch instead of going home?
Carla Triplett: Had I stayed at the ranch I know when I set my mind to something I'm determined to do it. And I think I would have had a much better weight loss progress than, you know, what the silver team had before.
Joelle Gwynn: Right.
Carla Triplett: But, you know, I came home and I showed America that you could still do it at home.
Joelle Gwynn: Right. Well one of the things - I heard a lot of people were saying, yes, I certainly had challenges and I'm thankful for the opportunity given to stay and prove that I could endure. It was a challenge but we made it through. So therefore there were victories; there are so many victories you weren't aware of: I learned to swim in the deep water; I learned to do so many things and overcome so many things while on that ranch in such a limited time and I'm very proud of that. It's not always how well the, you know, if you're the fastest in the race but you - that you do end it. And maybe I was the slower one; maybe I was the hare, maybe the light came on slower but I thank god it did and I think god I was able to bring Carla to the ranch. And I wish she would have more opportunity on the ranch.
Now that both of you are out of the ranch, back in the real world, how is your friendship holding up?
Carla Triplett: Well I still consider Joelle a friend; I've reached out to her many times. But I'm not sure how she feels so I guess she would have to answer that for you.
Joelle Gwynn: Well as again I said Carla and I were more acquaintances than friends and we really didn't know how well we would think together. I - for me personally when I'm working with an ally or a friend I support them very much publicly and I know that her approach may be different; she may be more passionate and bold. For me I have a nonprofit - I'm very respectful - try to be respectful of the community. I knew I wasn't on the Flavor Flav show and I did not want to come and do drama and so I was trying to really keep it calm - toned down. And there were some things that were said publically that were hurtful but you know what, sometimes relationships are rocky like that. We had our ups and downs because (unintelligible) again we're going through a lot of changes. But the end result is that we benefitted so much. You know, it would be one thing if we didn't lose any weight; we've gotten rid of high blood pressure, we've gotten rid of diabetes. There are victories here. So it depends on how you want to have your outlook. A lot of people couldn't accept that oh she's actually - is she that positive? I am. And if you can't be a cheerleader for yourself or for your teammate or close that door it's a hard road. We had a hard road but we made it. And right now we're still achieving our goals and I'm still very supportive for her goals as well as for mine. And we're electing to do them separately.
What's the hardest part of being home?
Carla Triplett: Since I have been home for 30 days nothing for me. And just so that you know, before I even tried out for the show I had already started working out and, you know, losing weight. So I was already in that mode that I needed to lose weight. But it wasn't hard at all, you know, just changing a few things that you have in your pantry and your refrigerator and just burning more calories; counting more calories out than you put in.
Joelle Gwynn: I think just making that transition. The way we left was a really hard way to leave and it just took a lot of processing. But I did have a lot of anxiety with the show airing but once it did air a lot of people came up to me knowing who I am really and we're very supportive. So there's been a good outcry of support for me and I'm very gracious for those people. But the biggest thing is to get up in the snow - because we're in Michigan - in sub-zero weather and to get out and stay diligent. But the show to me has almost been like going through the Wizard of Oz. You go to a new place. You find out all kind of things. They say put on your sneakers and follow the Yellow Brick Road. Now Carla and I have been geared up with tools that make us more successful so now coming back we are both stronger and indeed and I can see those changes in us. So I think that our success will be long-standing.
Joelle, it seemed like you had a hard time telling the other teammates that you wanted to be there. They asked you if you really wanted to stay and you had trouble saying yes I really want to be here; what was going through your mind?
Joelle Gwynn: I was at an all-point, filled up to the brim. My strategy was trying to be quiet and block things out. Man, after Bob did that tyrant when he, in my eyes, lost control but in everyone else's eyes it was love, it was received like that for me. I think it kind of opened the door for everyone to very much heckle me and belittle me. Carla wasn't there to see all of that. And I had to be quiet, you know, to stay on the - in an effort to stay on the show. And I had been called things outside my name. And a number of things happened and I've - I've made it a point never to try to address it, never to name call; we all had an obesity issue and that was the number one goal so it wasn't about getting petty, getting juvenile, you know, going the he said/she said but it hurt me. I heard it and it still had me angry. When we had that issue in Detroit, I didn't go back to the campus and say Carla and I had an argument; I was quiet with that, I said she's doing phenomenal. It was Bob that actually told people during the weigh in. And then that's when they were coming to me. So in those two moments, the first moment I was trying to put into words for people who wanted to know about the argument that I had a teammate who was doing very well but she had a lot of - a lack of faith in her teammate. And the last night - for six weeks I wanted to stay; I really wanted to stay. I really wanted to make it; the light was on. But I was so tired of being verbally abused, not trusted in my eyes or supported from my teammate and more like dogmatical coaching. And I felt myself being heckled back out to that road again. Let me just say Week 6, you can't be on that ranch and not work. And you all saw how Bob lashed out at me in Week 2 on a treadmill. So you saw images of me walking around in a cloud; that would not be tolerated on The Biggest Loser ranch. There is work from everyone. And I kept in so much that at that moment it was hard to speak. I wanted to say but in order for me to stay at that time there would have to be a lot of changes. And I was at a point where I was weak, just drained physically as well as emotionally. And I knew for me, if I had to leave to get to a place where I could - a different place where I could regroup, I could accept it. And I was really hurt that Carla couldn't see I wanted the best for her and I wanted the best for our team. And it was hard but I'm thankful I made it through. I am grateful to have challenges and make it through. That's what life is about. And other people, it may be weight, it may be addiction but you keep fighting and you keep trying. Some may be good, some may be bad but they want to cast me and twist up some editing as the bad person I'll take it because at least I never stopped and I cared enough to try. And I made myself proud and hopefully some other people inspired in a negative way or a positive way. I'm still proud. Thank you.
What are the most important things that you've learned from the ranch in your experience?
Joelle Gwynn: Believe in yourself totally and completely; to know that there is - your greatest challenge is yourself. The greatest challenge, your greatest competition is self and if you can defeat that mind nay say you can do it all.
Carla Triplett: The most important thing that I've learned was that - because I'm an assistant manager of a bank and I have a staff of 10 so I know how it is to work with a team and coaching and working together and motivating. And that was done, you know, some of the things that Joelle mentioned that, you know, I was being dogmatic; no, there were times where I was really encouraging her and motivating her. And I think - one thing that I've learned is I could have done or said things a little bit different but that's how I was feeling at that time. And I think that I will become more passionate and understanding to people who are going through challenges.
Carla, during that temptation challenge you ate a lot of food...
Carla Triplett: I sure did.
I just wanted to know was that just a good excuse or did you really, really, really want to see Bob?
Carla Triplett: I really wanted to see Bob because I knew - see when - after Bob and Jillian leave the weigh in they don't see us; they don't know who - who's decided to go home. So it was understood that, you know, the heaviest people on the team would still be there. And when they found out I was not I knew he was going to question like well what happened. So I made sure - I knew that a few of the people might have eaten something and I definitely knew that Sione was going to try to eat something. I have to figure because the game was you had to eat more calories to ensure that you want to bring your partner and your trainer home. So I had to eat more than what they ate. And because I wasn't sure of what they ate I had to double that. Now I will say that I had worked out all that morning so my calories were already burned. And that 2700 calories didn't affect me at all. So - and as you can see when I came home I was still able to lose the weight. So I'm proud and I'm glad I ate that food even though it tasted different and it took me three hours to eat it but I'm glad I did it.
The Biggest Loser airs on Tuesday nights at 8 PM ET only on NBC.