Stellar Reviews

Season 13 & 14 of The Biggest Loser

The Biggest Loser often seems to be a bit of a point of contention in the Fitness Blogging world.

Some people hate it and decry everything about it. “So fake!” “Sell-outs!” “Hateful and mean-spirited!”

Some people love everything about it and even audition to be on the show. “Pick me!” “So motivational!”

I can’t help it. I love the show. I would NEVER want to be on the show. Ever. I wouldn’t be on the Biggest Loser with a guaranteed prize of $250,000. But it’s still motivational to me. Granted, I think a show where I could watch the morbidly obese workout and lose weight without the harsh gaming aspect would still be an interesting show, but regardless… it motivates me.

I have decided, with Season 14 starting on January 6th, that I am going to review every episode. Every Saturday, I’ll post a recap and review of the previous week’s show.

The Biggest Loser

But to start us off, I am going to give my thoughts on Season 13, also known as “The Season Where We All Hated Everyone and Wondered When Jillian Was Coming Back.”

First of all, I think this show needs a female trainer. We all know that Jillian is coming back in Season 14, which is part of the reason I am so excited about next season! But even before she came back, I had my own theory for how the show could increase some excitement and get a female trainer in the gym.

I thought they should bring back Tara Costa as a trainer. Tara is arguably one of the more famous female contestants from the show, and if you follow her on facebook, you know she is still quite fit and very active. I suspected that they would have to bring in a female trainer at some point to balance Bob and Dolvett, and I really thought Tara would be a great trainer.

taracosta

Instead, I imagine the producers went to Jillian Michael’s house with a dump truck full of money and said, “Tell us when to stop shoveling.”

So Jillian is back. That will help. I like Bob and Dolvett (even though I think Bob has WAY too many tattoos now, but that’s just a personal preference), but Jillian is going to make Season 14 huge.

Let’s talk about these contestants.

Ugh. There were a handful I liked, and they were promptly eliminated. The only contestant I liked at the end of the season was Kim, and even then, I think I only liked her in comparison to who was left.

kim

Conda was just… despicable. I have no idea what she is like in person, but in the edited version of the game’s show, she was a villain. I’d rank her as one of the worst villains the show has ever seen.

conda

And yet… she’s by far my least favorite contestants. That honor goes to Buddy and Mark.

buddymark

I liked them until the episode where all the contestants threatened to walkout. I don’t even know what ridiculousness that was about. If you didn’t follow last season, then you should know that the final five contestants got wind of a twist where one of the eliminated contestants could come back.

You know, that twist that happens virtually EVERY SEASON. And yet, these five divas decided they were going to quit because it wasn’t fair.

Seriously. That’s it. There’s nothing more involved than that. They didn’t think it was fair.

You are on a freaking weight loss game show. Kim, Conda, and Jeremy were slightly redeemed in my view when they decided to stick it out. Buddy and Mark felt the twist was so unfair that they just couldn’t handle it, and they walked off.

Stupid. Idiotic. Moronic. Any adjective describing stupidity will fit here quite nicely.

What especially amazes me about Buddy’s decision is that he quit, and he has already lost the first three months of his child’s life. Aside from the fact that I can’t fathom someone leaving their pregnant wife to go on a GAME SHOW and staying there while she has the baby and the baby starts growing up, you then go ahead and quit at the very end?

Asinine. That’s another good adjective.

Season 13 was, by far, my least favorite season of the entire series. I haven’t heard anyone really rave about it, and I suspect that’s why Season 13 was the only season we had in 2012. Having such unlikable, malicious contestants almost killed the show. I really hope Jillian brings a renewed energy to the campus.

But while I’m ranting, let me share one more huge thing that bugs me about the Biggest Loser?

I HATE IT when the contestants cry about how they could never have lost weight without being on The Biggest Loser?

Uhm, you do realize that MOST Americans won’t get to be on the Biggest Loser, right? You are in an anomalous position, so take advantage of it, but don’t say that it can’t be done without being on a game show. Thousands of people successfully lose weight without being on national television.

Reading back over this, this was less a review of Season 13 and more of a rant, but it was just such an awful season… I used to love this show, and Season 13 felt like a chore at most times.

Let’s hope Season 14 is better. And with Jillian around, it pretty much has to be.

jillian

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

happy-new-year

If you are here for the first time because you googled Weight Loss, then welcome! I hope you’ll add me to your Google Reader (or facebook) and stay awhile. If you are new, let me warn you – I am a dork. I blog about dorky things. I talk about how the Power Rangers and Freddy Krueger can help me lose weight. I have a three month old son, and pictures of him show up here a LOT.

Just a quick recap about me: I am morbidly obese. I have been my entire life. I currently weigh in the 370s. I’ve been as high as 402.8. I was once down to 250, but I had a bad breakup and gained a lot of weight back and regained a lot of bad habits. I later met the love of my life, we got married, are still very happily married, and we just had our first baby, Moon Pie (and just because some people are now naming their babies ridiculous things, like Hashtag, I should mention that Moon Pie is not his real name but is his “blog nickname,” because I don’t want him to grow up and google himself and discover that Dad posted tons of embarrassing baby pics on him before he could object.)

A little more about me: I’m big into nostalgia. If it happened in the 80s or 90s, I’m probably a big fan. I tie my nostalgia into weight loss and healthy living, and that is going to be a common trend on my blog in 2013.

If you are here to lose weight, let me give you one piece of advice.

Do what works for you. And do what you can live with.

If you are thinking Atkins sounds like the plan for you but you are already lamenting the loss of bread, then don’t do it. If you think Weight Watchers sound perfect but you aren’t sure you can stomach losing $40 a month to go to meetings, then don’t do it.

It must work for you.

I am a Weight Watcher. I know that when I follow the program, I lose weight. I need the meetings, and the program provides a structure that I need. It is what I have chosen.

Choose what ultimately works best for you.

If you are new to losing weight, I really recommend you dive into the world of fitness blogs. The people who write weight loss blogs are, by and large, the friendliest, most supportive internet community I have ever belonged to. Whether you are just a reader or decide to start your own blog (which I recommend, for accountability, and it’s completely free – you don’t have to have a blog with your own domain name), you’ll find tons of support.

And speaking of that support, I am also going to implement a new feature here. There are so many blogs out there that I love to read, and I’m going to share a different one every Tuesday. Since I am so pro-Weight Watchers, I wanted to share my favorite Weight Watcher blog.

It’s called Cats That Look Like Hitler, and it is crammed full of Kitlers, kitties that look like Hitler!

kitler

So if funny photos of cats that look like dictators gets you motiv…

Wait a minute, that’s the wrong link. Let’s try again.

Okay, this is not a WW blog, but the person who writes it follows Weight Watchers and she has done AMAZING. If you are looking for a successful story, then look no further.

Brooke: Not on a Diet is this week’s spotlighted blog.

Brooke writes with humor and grace, and she is very approachable.

Here’s why you should read Brooke… She’s lost more than half her body weight. Seriously. She’s lost over 160 pounds.

She also got married this year, and she (unlike me) is proof positive that not EVERYONE gains weight when they tie the knot.

I could keep talking, but instead, I encourage you to add Brooke’s blog to your reader.

And for those of you just dipping your toes into the fitness blogging world, a great way to stay motivated is to join a community of like-minded people.

Roni Noone (who writes another great blog to add, by the way) is starting a diet bet tomorrow. It’s not too late to sign up. Basically, you pitch $20 into the pot, and if you lose 4% of your starting weight by the end of January, you get to share the post. It’s not winner-take-all, so you aren’t competing with anyone but yourself.

I hope you’ll stick around! I’ll be back tomorrow with my first weigh-in of 2013 (sort of – I go to WW on Saturdays and use that as my weight, but I don’t post it ‘til the following Wednesday).

Happy New Year!

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Stellar Review: Betty Crocker Molasses Cookies & Giveaway

In the interest of full disclosure, “The product, information, and prize pack has been provided by Betty Crocker through MyBlogSpark.”

I was recently contacted by MyBlogSpark about trying out the new Betty Crocker Molasses. In the past, my experience with MyBlogSpark has always been positive, because in addition to trying out some new food, I usually get some type of new kitchen gadget or gizmo, too. This time, in addition to the cookie mix, I received a mixing spoon/paddle, a cookie sheet, and an apron. Woo hoo!

I didn’t think I had ever tried Molasses Cookies before, but I was certainly intrigued. When I was given the chance to try this product out, I jumped at it. After all, who doesn’t like a good cookie?

Yes, this is a healthy living and weight loss blog, but I am a firm believer that anything is allowed in moderation. These cookies contained only 90 calories (for two, if you use the same size as called for in the directions) each. For those of you following Weight Watchers Points Plus (like me), they come out to 4 points for two cookies. I consider that an affordable indulgence.

In the interest of further disclosure, I must admit… I didn’t make these cookies. My lovely wife Tina did.

She said they were remarkably easy to make. Now we didn’t follow the directions exactly. Rather than make 36 cookies, we made 18 larger cookies. You’ll notice 15 fit on the cookie sheet. The other three were made in a different batch.

Tina placed them on the cookie sheet, stamped them with a fork, and baked them. How did they turn out?

Oh my gosh. I could not BELIEVE how amazingly soft these cookies were. Melt in your mouth good. They were soft, chewy, and they have a wonderful spice cookie flavor that makes them one of my very favorite cookies now. (White chocolate chip macadamia nut is still my absolute favorite, though.) They seriously taste like autumn.

I had one fresh out of the oven and figured they wouldn’t be nearly as good the next day.

Wrong. Just as good, still as soft. This is definitely a mix that we will be buying again.

In addition, anyone who would like a 75 cent off coupon for these cookies can go here (http://bit.ly/cookiescoupon)!

And… one lucky reader will win the same prize pack I won! You’ll get the cookie mix, a mixing spoon, a cool apron, and the baking sheet! (Winner must live in the U.S. Sorry non-US readers!)

You have several ways to enter below! For each entry, please leave a separate comment. (If you do everything but post it in one comment, I’m afraid that counts as only one entry.)

1. Leave me a comment here, answering the question, “What is your favorite occasion to bake spice cookies for?”
2. Like the Betty Crocker page on Facebook here (http://on.fb.me/molassesbcfb)
3. Like Stellar Path on Facebook.
4. Follow me on twitter!
5. Tweet this… uhm, tweet. “@stellarpath is giving away a @bettycrocker prize pack #myblogspark #giveaway http://bit.ly/q2a4ih”

This giveaway will run until September 21, 2011 at midnight, so hurry and get your entries in! The winner will be selected via random number generator at random.org and announced next Thursday, September 22nd.

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Stellar Review: Perky Turkey Jerky!

A few weeks back, I entered a giveaway at Business of Losing Weight. (All entrants were required to write a haiku for entry. Awesome.)

I don’t remember my entry, but it wasn’t as awesome as that Godzilla haiku.

However, I was one of the winners! The only stipulation was that, as a winner, I had to give a review. I wasn’t required to give a good or bad review, just a review. No prob, Bob. Er, Hank.

I have to share this picture. This jerky was so good it glowed. Okay, not really, but unlike some jerky that is sliced so thick you could dislocate a jaw chewing it, this one was actually so thin that light shone through it.

Because I’m a good husband, I decided to share the jerky with Tina. She reached into the pouch and almost ate that little Do Not Eat packet.

So what’s the verdict?

Holy cow.

As soon as we polished off the bag (which took about thirty seconds, max), Tina instantly asked, “Where did you get this? Get more!”

It was tender, but it still had a jerky texture. It was somehow both sweet and savory. It had a peppery kick and a little soy mellowness, too. Delicious. If I EVER find a place that carries this locally, I will definitely be a regular consumer.

(For what it’s worth, if the Perky Jerky people want me to be an advocate for their jerky, I’ll happily sign up. My price is jerky.)

To sum up, if you get the chance… get it! Thanks to Hank for providing this giveaway. (And Hank, would you send me some more jerky?)

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Stellar Review: SodaStream Fountain Jet

I have recently professed an interest in reviewing various products here at Stellar Path. Some of my reviews will be for things I have purchased myself, and I either wanted to praise said product or warn people to stay away. At other times, I have been approached (or I have asked) if I could have said product for free for me to review.

When I get a product for free, I promise that I will not mindlessly endorse such a product. If I like it, I will reflect that in my review. If I do not like it, I will reflect that in my review.

In accordance with FTC blog disclosure policies, I received all products mentioned in this blog for free in exchange for a review. No promise of a positive review was promised or implied.

With that being said, let’s get on to the fun stuff.

I recently was given the opportunity to review a SodaStream machine!

If you don’t know what this product is, it is basically a way to carbonate your own cold tap water at home, add whatever you would like to said freshly carbonated water (soda syrup, fruit juice, et cetera), and enjoy.

My wife saw one at Kohl’s years ago and said that she wanted one. My response. “Soda is cheap. That machine costs $80. Pass.”

And then I heard someone talking about how much fresher and genuinely better the soda is from a SodaStream than from a 2-liter bottle.

The ultimate selling point?

It’s cheaper. A 2-liter made with a SodaStream costs about fifty cents. Even my generic Diet Dr. Thunder costs more than that.

So when I received the opportunity to review a SodaStream machine, I jumped at the chance.

You can buy these at Macy’s and Kohl’s, among many other stores, but if you do decide to order from the company, I will mention that it arrived VERY securely packaged.

I received the SodaStream Jet. It is their smallest machine, but after using this product for a few weeks, I honestly can’t imagine a need for a bigger unit. It’s small, fits nicely on my counter, and it feels pretty well made. Best yet, it isn’t an eyesore. Oh, and another perk – it doesn’t run on electricity. I was under the assumption that it required an outlet, but it doesn’t.

Before I get into the flavors they also sent me to review, let me quickly disclaim: You do have to purchase CO2 canisters to carbonate your soda. I received a canister that will carbonate 60 liters of water (depending obviously upon how much carbonation you put into your water). I do know that I’ll be getting an extra to keep on hand so as soon as this canister is empty, I won’t have to wait.

I was sent eight flavors, along with some fruit flavor essence, to try. But first, let me share this video I posted on YouTube where I actually show the operation of the unit. Ridiculously easy. The hardest part is getting the bottle screwed onto the base.

My thoughts on the flavors?

Cola Free – Delicious. It truly tastes like Coke Zero to me. I didn’t get the Diet Coke, but I can’t wait to try it.
Cranberry-Raspberry – Pretty good. It was a bit too tart for my taste, but it wasn’t bad.
Root Beer – Quick caveat – I hate root beer. Hate it. With a passion. So naturally, I found this disgusting. However, my wife, who enjoys root beer, said it was excellent.
Energy Drink – The bottle says it is comparable to Red Bull. I don’t know that it really tasted like Red Bull, but it did have a very nice flavor. More soda-y than red bull, in my opinion.
Green Tea Pomegranate Peach – I’m not a huge green tea fan, but it had a good flavor just the same. I suspect if you liked green tea, this would be excellent.
Ginger Ale – Wonderful. It had the same crispness you would expect from Ginger Ale.
Pink Diet Grapefruit – This one was a surprise, but I think it’s my favorite. It’s sweet without being too sweet, but still a little tart… I’ve drank more of this than any of the others.
Diet Lemon-Lime – Also quite good. I would compare this in flavor to Sprite, which is my least favorite of the lemon-lime drinks, but it’s still very tasty. Much better than Sprite, truthfully.
Fruit Flavor Essences – I did not care for these at all. They had a very bitter taste that I just didn’t like. I tried using both less and more, but I ultimately had to conclude that I didn’t like them. Tina said she thought they were okay, but I wouldn’t make a purchase of these.

There are other flavors available that I haven’t gotten to try yet, including one that is supposed to taste like Diet Dr. Pepper. That is DEFINITELY going to be my first purchase from their online store, and I will definitely review it here as soon as I get it.

I also tried carbonating water and putting a little Crystal Light in it. I didn’t care for it as much as I thought I would – it made it a little too sweet for me. I need to just experiment with the ratio, because I like carbonated water but it definitely needs to have some type of flavor for me to fully enjoy it.

In a nutshell, this has become my current most-used kitchen appliance. I absolutely love it!

Please email me at jeremy@stellarpath.net if you have any questions.

Have you tried the SodaStream machine? What did you think of it? Would you want one, or would it just be another appliance to take up room in your kitchen?


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Weigh-Ins
12-31-13 - 412.0
1-3-14 - 407.0 (-5.0 pounds total)