Biggest Loser's Jennifer Eisenbarth: From Bomb to Bombshell!
Booted from The Biggest Loser after just one week, Jennifer Eisenbarth could have given up instead, she lost 93 lbs. on her own! Heres how
Before: 245 lbs.
After: 144 lbs.
Program Used: DIY
Being a big loser has never looked so good! When Jennifer Eisenbarth, 33, was the first contestant to be sent packing from season three of the NBC hit The Biggest Loser last September, she seemed destined to become just another trivia answer in reality TVs history. But the mom of two had other plans: She headed home to Shakopee, Minn., and got to her goal weight on her own.
Getting kicked off after a week was heartbreaking, says Jennifer. But it revved me up more. Turns out, being ousted from the show was just the motivation she needed after a lifelong struggle.
I had been battling obesity since the age of 7, says Jennifer. (Her school years werent made easier by her maiden name, Reher pronounced, alas, rear.) As the third generation in her family to be overweight, Jennifer was raised in a home filled with love, support and fattening meals.
Our household was centered on food, she explains. My mom baked 15 kinds of cookies for the holidays!
Despite her weight, 5-foot-4 Jennifer was a popular teen. She did a good job covering up how she was feeling, her mother, Judy Reher, acknowledges. But after trying countless diet plans including Slim Fast and Weight Watchers in college, Jennifer decided to put her dreams of a career in TV broadcasting behind her, sure she would never achieve a showbiz-ready body.
Ironically, television ended up being her catalyst for change. In November 2005, Jennifer was watching the finale of season two of The Biggest Loser, pizza in hand. When she saw an ad for show tryouts, she put down her slice and penciled in the local audition dates. When I was picked, I knew that God had laid a path and I had to walk it, she says.
That particular road turned out to be shorter than expected. After a skimpy 8-lb. weight loss, then 237-lb. Jennifer was voted off unceremoniously by her fellow contestants, who accused her of not giving the diet her all. Still, her thinking shifted.
In answering the producers questions, I realized that I wanted to change, she says. Her main reason? The daughters she and Pete, her husband of four years, share: Jossilin, now 3, and Giana, nearly 2. I realized that if I gave more to myself, I would have more to give to them, says Jennifer.
So Jennifer got to work. Determined to slim down as much as possible before she returned to California to tape the shows finale, she made drastic modifications: scaling back to 1,200 calories a day; nixing sugar; eating small, frequent portions of lean proteins like fish or chicken with lots of veggies; and sticking to complex carbs like brown rice or yams. It was far from easy.
I had lived over 25 years always feeling full I almost had panic attacks when I felt so hungry in the beginning, says Jennifer.
She persevered with the knowledge that the strictest part of her regime was temporary. Id heard, Its not a diet, its a lifestyle, she says. But my attitude was, please dont tell me this is a lifestyle: I had a birthday with no birthday cake!
Her sacrifices paid off. In 7½ months, she dropped an additional 93 lbs. to weigh 144 lbs. and wear a size 6. When Jennifer debuted her new figure on the show last December, she stood frozen in shock looking at the onstage scale. The host, Caroline Rhea, had to remind Jennifer to step off!
Jennifer has been in a more relaxed maintenance phase (eating around 2,000 calories a day to allow for the occasional slice of cake!) until recently: I just found out Im pregnant! She announced the happy news at her Quick & Simple photo shoot in New York City. But after the necessary weight gain in the coming months, she plans to bounce back once baby number three is born.
My goal is to be at this weight five years from now, she says. Jennifers nutrition coach and personal trainer, Teri Dale, says healthier choices are becoming second nature: Her body is getting used to eating this way and craving these foods.
Jennifer is also buoyed by pride. If I hadnt been booted off, I would have credited The Biggest Loser for my success, she says. But I was able to accomplish this on my own! And if I can do it, anyone can.