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Courtney Crozier from Season 11 of “The Biggest Loser”

I am generally not the kind of person who goes “goo-goo” over weight loss success stories. I’ll watch The Biggest Loser, and I’m never really impressed by these success stories. I mean, these people are on a television show with some of the best trainers in the world with a chance to win anywhere from $100,000 to $250,000 in addition to other cash prizes, free cars, and more (plus, the chance to have dinner cooked by Curtis Stone isn’t too bad of a perk).

However, there are two contestants that really inspired me, both from season 11. The first one is Courtney Crozier, who is known for losing more than 100 pounds before she even stepped foot on the ranch. She explained in her blog once that she lost the initial weight by making small changes: cutting out fast food, walking more, cutting out soda. She lost 15 pounds in the first month just by cutting out soda.

Hannah Curlee, runner up on season 11 of The Biggest Loser

The second contestant that inspires me is Hannah Curlee, also from season 11. Now, the fact that she was  on the purple team (my favorite color) didn’t hurt matters, but Hannah’s transformation was what really inspired me. It wasn’t her weight loss, however. As I watched the show, I saw a bigger transformation.

Just look at that before picture there. That’s not a smile. Hannah may have been in the running for class clown for that season (there are several videos on YouTube that highlight her antics), but it was clear that she was not happy.

But as the weight started coming off, I could see something change. I saw a new light in her eyes. Now, I’ve seen several contestants on the show gain confidence upon losing weight, but Hannah was just different. For many of those people, I worry that their self-hatred will reappear after gaining a couple pounds post vacation, and that they only love the body. For Hannah, I was captured by this feeling that it was deeper- that she was learning to love who she was no matter what. She was learning not to let her physical body or her physical abilities (she was an athlete who suffered from a back injury which was part of her weight gain) influence who she was.

Hannah’s transformation was probably my favorite mental transformation, while Courtney inspired me by taking action and starting her journey on her own.

Mandisa from season 5 of American Idol

There is one other person who inspires me: Mandisa from season 5 of American Idol. Now, I only watch the auditions online when I’m bored (and want a good laugh). I actually heard of her through Christian Radio, and I am in love with her music.

Her story may inspire me more than Courtney or Hannah’s because of her transparency to the public through her music. She lost over 100 pounds without a crazy diet, the Biggest Loser ranch, or anything like that. She just started making better food choices and exercising (especially Zumba). The thing that really influenced her weight loss, however, was her addressing her personal struggles with food addiction. Her journey became about looking to God for satisfaction rather than a golden, hot, fresh off the line, sweet, sticky, melt-in-your-mouth, original glazed… (What was I talking about again?)

And, seeing as I struggle with food addiction issues, I am definitely super inspired by her story.

My weight loss goals are pretty minuscule in comparison. I’m borderline obese with a BMI of around 32. I want to lose maybe 70 pounds at most, but I may be fine with losing 30-40. If I lost the kind of weight Mandisa or Hannah lost, I would be admitted to a hospital, and I’d probably have a feeding tube. If I lost the weight Courtney lost, I wouldn’t be dead, I would be completely and totally gone. There would be negative space where I am sitting right now (sort of like the negative space where the Oreos and milk seem to disappear to in the bottomless pit of a stomach I have, but that’s another issue entirely.

Thing is, even though each of these ladies have lost a significant amount of weight (100-200+ pounds), it’s not their weight loss that inspires me. It’s them. Their inspiration just manifested through their weight loss journeys. 

And because they are so very awesome, I thought I’d include the new Overcomer music video by Mandisa- which premiered today and just so happens to feature Hannah (who looks absolutely gorgeous in both her before and after picture- I should add!)

(It also features Gabrielle Giffords, Robin Roberts, and Scott Hamilton. You can also see Patrick House and Gina McDonald from Biggest Loser seasons 10 and 14 working out with Hannah).

I will PROBABLY do an entire post inspired by this song here or on my other blog someday because it is AWESOME.