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 when they fell below the yellow line, Patti asked to be voted off so her daughter could stay. “I really don’t consider it a sacrifice; It was just the better choice,” Patti tells In Touch. Still, “I was really disappointed and scared to go home,” she adds. “Although I found that I did learn enough to really succeed.” Indeed, Patti has already lost 52 pounds, though her health is the priority. “I really feel I’ve pulled myself out of the grave,” says Patti, who shares the exclusive details of her last week on the ranch — and how she’s keeping it up at home — with In Touch readers. (And check in again next week, when we pick up with her daughter, Stephanie, who is still going strong.)
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What stood out in your last week? The challenge, where you had to carry beach balls across a pool on a balance beam, looked tough.
The challenge was so difficult. Having neuropathy, it was so hard. I was so happy when I got across that beam. As a team, we had to transfer nine balls, but I only had to do one. Stephanie did the other nine and didn’t fall into the pool once. What a feeling of accomplishment once I got across.
Is the neuropathy reversible?
The neuropathy will never go away. When you have diabetes, you eventually develop nerve damage in your extremities. I don’t have any in my hands, but my feet, almost up to my ankles. It kind of feels like your feet are asleep. I have to be very careful not to walk barefoot because I can get a cut and not even realize it. You can’t repair the nerve damage, but I can certainly improve my balance. Working in the gym every day and concentrating on my core has really improved my balance.
You seemed really moved by what people had to say when you were voted off.
The closeness that you develop was amazing. I truly meant what I said about each one of them holding a place in my heart and still do. It was wonderful for me to see that reciprocated. We all truly are in the same boat. No guards were up, no rolls were hidden. This is who we are. It was so liberating and I was truly honored to be among them.
Has the show provided ongoing support?
Absolutely. Not only am I still under the supervision of Dr. Huizenga, but the producers. We have conference calls once a week, continued support by the nutritionist and the psychologist. So you are not alone. They don’t just say, “Bye-bye.” When I arrived home, I got cookbooks, Biggest Loser protein products, weight equipment, all kinds of goodies to help me.
How have your eating habits changed?
It’s unbelievable. When the girls were little I did the cooking and when they went off to college, it was like, “Oh good, I don’t have to cook anymore.” But that was probably the beginning of my real downfall because we would go out to dinner quite a bit. I just ate whatever I wanted and no exercising. So nutrition-wise, even though I was only at the ranch for a short period of time, the nutritionist was so instrumental. Now I love cooking! I’ve had dinner parties and only served what I eat on a daily basis. People are blown away by how yummy it is. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but delicious and healthy.
What are your favorite recipes?
My Portobello Pizza, which I got from one of the Biggest Loser cookbooks: it’s a Portobello mushroom that you grill with a little bit of olive oil, maybe with a little balsamic vinaigerette. I don’t pour olive oil in the pan; I put it on a paper towel and rub it on the bottom of the pan. Then, I stuff it with cooked ground turkey, seasoned with Mrs. Dash, Nu-Salt, which is sodium-free, pepper and onions. Trader Joe’s makes a fabulous organic low-sodium marinara sauce that is only 50 calories for a half cup. So you mix that in and add a little sprinkle of low-fat mozzarella cheese and grill it under the broiler. Yum. And today, I had a crab pizza, which is just a 60-calorie tortilla, two ounces of crabmeat, mixed with two tablespoons fat-free cream cheese and some spices. Put that under the broiler and then cut it into fours. It’s so delicious and the total was 190 calories.
How did your husband and your other daughter react to seeing you at home?
They were overwhelmed with pride and a feeling of “She can do it.” I’m sure you saw, from watching, that we are a very close family. The thought of losing mom and/or a sister was overwhelming for both of them. They’re my biggest supporters and every day I know I’m doing the hard work but I don’t think I could be as successful if I didn’t have Pamela and Carl next to me. Pamela has just been instrumental in my continued success. So has her fiancé Travis. They’re both very in tune with their bodies – exercise, proper nutrition – so this is second nature to them. They’re giving me everything I need. Travis has gone to the gym several times and just stands next to the StairMaster, giving me support. It’s wonderful!
Have they set a wedding date?
Yes, November 21. Stephanie was asked to be her Maid of Honor. It’s going to be a wonderful time for all of us.
What is your advice for moms like you who are ready to make the change?
You have to become a little teeny bit selfish. Moms are notorious for giving everything they have to everyone around them, but how can you take care of people if you don’t take care of yourself? So just spend a little time, even if it’s an hour a day, moving and concentrating on yourself. Sometimes that’s really hard to do, but if you want it bad enough, you can make the time for it.