By Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N.
Bill Germanakos: The Biggest Loser© Champion Season 4 was in town at the invitation of Humana to empower Humana clients to make healthier lifestyle choices to help them prevent obesity.
Half the Man, Twice the Man Mantra
Bill Germanakos: The Biggest Loser© Champion Season 4, weighed 334 pounds at the beginning of the show and weighed in as the Season 4 Champion at 170 pounds which was a 164 pound weight loss. No gimmicks, no surgery, just very hard work and lots of education!
Five Meaningful Words For a Recipe for Success
- Education – the most important
The Journey to Achieving Weight Loss
After the recent death of a family friend, Bill headed off to Six Flags with his 3 kids. His daughter wanted to ride on the front of the biggest, baddest roller coaster claiming she was over being scared. When he got stuck in the car, couldn’t breathe, and the people in line made fun of him, he had a mental collapse which sent him to his physician’s office.
At the age of 40 during a consultation with his physician, Bill, said he was not only classified as morbidly obese, but had seriously high blood pressure and several health factors including high cholesterol, which put him at risk for heart disease, diabetes, liver disease and a myriad of other diseases and conditions. These diagnoses, along with several other compelling factors such as the recent death of a close family friend and the fact that his father had died young, was motivation enough for Bill to decide to make important and necessary changes in his life, as it pertained to his diet and exercise habits.
The Beginning of the Weight Gain
Bill had a college scholarship to play lacrosse but he blew his knee shortly after his freshman season got underway. He had surgery and went through the rehab process. Bill was back to playing when he blew the other knee, another surgery another rehab. Depression set in, thus his weight gain began. But it wasn’t until his AH-HA Moment was realized through his work with the Biggest Loser psychologist when Bill realized depression was the driving force behind his weight gain. But once he started gaining weight he became helpless to make the necessary changes he needed so he continued in the downward spiral by continuing to gain weight. Comfort food is a driver behind the depression but the food never actually makes you feel better.
Coerced by Twin Brother to Appear on Biggest Loser Show
Bill’s twin brother, Jim, who was also morbidly obese, about the same time as Bill’s revelation, decided he was going to try out for the Biggest Loser. Jim is a New York City police officer. When the show found out that Jim had a twin brother, who was obese just like him, they indicated they were interested in having the twins compete together. So Jim had to sell Bill on the idea of trying out for the Biggest Loser. With the recent trip to the physician, Bill was also ready to commit.
Bill indicated that his trainer, Jillian Michaels, was very tough, but the education from his registered dietitian (like me) and the psychologist (behaviorist) changed his attitude forever. He said he has tried even diet known to man but it was not until the psychologist made Bill deal with his depression that he was able to gain control of his weight through major lifestyle changes through an education. “Diet plan have a 30-day guarantee. What about a 2 year guarantee? But I received an education through Biggest Lose. Predisposed to obesity or just bad habits? Why did I have all those bad habits – Hopeless, depression, obesity!”
Bill reiterated what another Biggest Loser, Danny Cahill, whom I have heard speak as well, “obesity is about depression and making poor lifestyle choices rather than being a genetic problem.” Bill was the number one salesman in America and also had a masters in health but he was never able to deal with his underlying depression until Biggest Loser.
Bill was declared the winner and was awarded the first place prize of $ 250,000. His brother Jim, who had been eliminated early in the competition, ended up competing as an “at-home” or “eliminated” contestant, and after losing 186 lbs, won first prize for the eliminated contestants, for which he was awarded $100,000.
Bill’s Plan of Attack
- 1 pound = 3500 calories. Burn calories eat less food.
- Keep a daily food journal.
- Daily exercise.
- Understanding your metabolism. Starvation doesn’t work.
- Set achievable goals
Meeting Bill Up Front & In Person
After the session, Bill was signing autographs and talking to each person. I told him I appreciated him detailing how the registered dietitian (who happens to be a personal friend of mine) was very helpful in his transition. I told him how Danny Cahill had driven me to offer a weight loss class at my church as a nutrition ministry. He went on and on how important the education was for his success. He said he “learned how to look for things he can eat rather than what he can’t eat.” It was apparent he has had a major attitude change! He wrote,” Hey Barbara, Thanks for all you do!!”
Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N., is a registered dietitian with a Master’s Degree in clinical nutrition. The former publisher of Kentuckiana HealthFitness Magazine, Kentuckiana Healthy Woman magazine and radio show host of Health News You Can Use, Barbara has over 30 years of experience in promoting healthy lifestyles to consumers. Barbara worked as Nutrition Consultant to the Navy SEALs (8 years) and the University of Louisville Athletic Department (10 years). Barbara has private practice, DayByDay Nutrition, www.DayByDayNutrition.com, where she counsels clients on weight loss, cholesterol management, performance nutrition and an array of other medical issues. Visit Barbara’s new website which is an on-line health & wellness magazine, www.KentuckianaHEALTHWellness.com. Barbara writes nutrition and health columns for www.LiveStrong.com as well as a weekly nutrition column for the Southeast Outlook. She also designs and presents employee wellness programs to small and large businesses. Barbara is a runner, cyclist, hiker and a mother and grandmother to 11 grandchildren.