In the biggest season yet of The Biggest Loser, mother-daughter duo Patti and Stephanie Anderson started off strong with enormous weight loss numbers at the first weigh-in. But the dreaded second week took its toll, and Patti was voted off. “I was kind of overwhelmed by how close the other contestants felt to her. I didn’t realize she had touched them as deeply as she did. That made me realize even more how lucky I was to have shared those two weeks,” Stephanie, 29, tells In Touch, admitting that it was difficult when she and John were teamed together. “As great a guy he is, my staying at the ranch was up to this person who I had known for three weeks.” The new partners got to know each other with a long walk, but would find themselves at odds when it came to the elimination vote. Still, that was the least of the drama of the third episode: Two people were accused of slacking off, and one tried to quit! Starting today, Stephanie will be giving intouchweekly.com readers all of the exclusive dish every week.
You were assigned to “train” John this week, and his percentage was the only one that counted in the weigh-in. Was that awkward?
It was at first, but then I made it into a game. We were doing laps around the pool, and I said, “If I catch you, you’re going to have to do 10 more.” Because I was working out, too. Even though my weight wasn’t counting, I want to lose as much weight as possible, period. So I was chasing him around the pool. We had fun with it. He was so receptive. He never said “no” or “I can’t.”
How did you do in the ribbon challenge, which really relied on teamwork?
It was crazy. John has bad knees, so trying to get up and down was hard. Talking him through it was a challenge, but he did great. Near the end, we got caught up on a big white knot. That’s the first time I got really angry at Mike. I yelled at him, because I felt like he manipulated it, and that was deceitful, so I did bring that up to him.
Michael and Melissa were accused of not trying as hard — did you get that impression?
I always saw Melissa give everything that she had. It was confusing to myself and the rest of the contestants that her numbers weren’t matching the effort. I asked her that week, “Did you do anything?” And she swore up and down, “No.” And she was very emotional about it, because she is an attorney and her integrity is the most important thing to her. I believe her. If that makes me naïve, if she did something, it’s not up for me to decide or judge. This is her journey. In terms of Michael, few people can understand what it’s like to be a 526-pound man. I cannot. I know how difficult it was for me to be active at 264 pounds, so I can’t imagine what it’s like for him to do these activities. But there are always things that you can do that aren’t so intense. There are a lot of options on the ranch: a lot of equipment, tools and resources, and there’s simply just walking or swimming. I never saw that with Michael, and I believe that on week three, he did end up slacking off a little bit more, because his mom was the chosen one to weigh in. Having heard a little bit from Sam and Koli before their decision [to make Michael and Maria switch places], they weren’t sure what to do. It wasn’t to put Michael down or embarrass him, it really was to say, “Wake up, we’re all so blessed to be here. Don’t let it go to waste.”
As a team, you and John voted for Michael to go home. Did you agree with that decision?
John and I had a really long talk in his room about the vote because we were torn. The main reason I wanted to vote for Maria was because my mom had just left, and Michael and Maria respected my mom’s wish. And I respect and really like Maria, so I said I would not be able to vote for Michael. John was very vocal about his feelings on Michael. At that point, I had a feeling about how people were going to vote — sometimes you’re shocked — but I more or less knew that Maria would have the necessary votes. So I decided to pick my battles. I made it very clear that I supported our group decision, but if it were my single vote, I most likely would have voted to send Maria.
Jillian was really working on Migdalia and it got pretty heated. Then she and Bob discussed their strategy with her. They showed you reacting to all of the drama.
Yeah, it’s like, “Nosy Stephanie! Get to your workout!” It was intense. I was trying to focus on my treadmill — that alone is enough for me to do! Migdalia is a fiery, strong mother, wife and friend. She is a very beautiful person, but she does shut down. It’s been very difficult to get to know either Miggy or Migdalia. And I think that’s by their choice. For Jillian to take that on, I knew there was going to be a situation. Jillian targeted her for almost an hour workout, and poor Migdalia was just being beaten down. Jillian wants to break us down to build us up. She means it with all good intention. I was at the treadmill for much of the workout, and then I went in the pool. Sherry joined me and Bob came out to give us pool workouts for our teammates. And Jillian sprints out and says, “Migdalia just quit!” So we scooted down in the pool. I was like, “Do not look!” I felt it was so inappropriate to be treading water while they were talking about Migdalia and her issues. And at the same time I’m concerned, “Here it is, week three, and someone’s quitting? I want to be here so bad. As much as I cry or complain, every part of my being wants to be here.”
It’s surprising that having watched the show, Migdalia wasn’t expecting it.
I think it’s different when it’s actually happening to you. It hasn’t happened to me yet, and I want to try to make sure it doesn’t happen at all! It showed the good cop-bad cop: Jillian broke her down; Bob saved the day. They work as a team, and that’s why they’re so amazing together.