Lisa Rambo is a special education assistant at Hudson High School and mother of four who is competing on Season 14 of NBC's reality show "The Biggest Loser." The contestants began shooting for the season in September and now footage for every show been shot except for the live finale which airs on March 18. Hudson Patch got a chance to chat one-on-one with Rambo last week about her time on the show so far (without revealing any spoilers) and her weight-loss journey in general.
Patch: This isn't the first time you've tried out for "The Biggest Loser." Tell us about your journey over the years being rejected and finally getting onto the show.
Lisa Rambo: This was my third attempt to make it onto "The Biggest Loser" ranch. I did audition for Season 11 and Season 12, and didn't make it. I decided that 14 was my time, so I drove to Chicago to a casting call in June and went through a series of interviews in the process, and made it to the ranch by September.
Patch: Now that all the shooting is over with, what's it like watching yourself on national television?
Rambo: It's fun to watch it with my kids. It's just way to get them involved in this whole process. It's been surreal, fun and crazy. Some days I still don't believe it's true.
Patch: The theme for this season includes fighting child obesity. That's got to strike home for you as a educator. What does that mean for you as an educator to have that as the theme for the season?
Rambo: It's huge. I was also a bigger girl in high school, and nobody was taking the time to talk about being overweight as a high schooler when I was in high school. I just think that we can't fix a problem that we're not talking about. So, I'm just really glad that "The Biggest Loser" is talking about these taboo subjects, bringing them out into the open and empowering our teenagers and our children to take control of their lives and their weight issues.
Patch: What are the days like on the ranch that we don't get to see on TV? They show the workouts and the challenges, but that's not your whole life. What are some of the other things you experienced on the ranch?
Rambo: At "The Biggest Loser" they really teach you a ton of stuff. It's so much more than working out. We work with Dr. H — Dr. [Robert] Huizenga — and Dr. Cheryl [Forberg] the nutritionist, and we learn a lot about diet and how big your diet is with the workout. Dr. Huizenga talks about how many calories we should be eating and Dr. Cheryl talks to us about what kind of calories we need to be eating. Each contestant gets their own calorie budget. The kitchen is stocked with really healthy food — lean proteins and just about any vegetables you can think of. We get up, we pick our own food, we work out for four/five-plus hours per day, and then we sleep. There's also a phenomenal staff there that helps us rehab and ice and make sure we're taking care of ourselves.
Patch: At the ranch, how many hours did you work out on average? Would you work out every day, or were there some days you would take off?
Rambo: Four to five hours a day on average. Some days it was more. Some days it was less. We worked out six days a week.
Patch: What was mealtime like? Would you sit down with all the other contestants, or would you each do your own thing?
Rambo: The kitchen was fully stocked and we were able to do our own thing, but there was a lot of times when teams or groups of us would cook together and eat together. And there were some family meals we ate as a whole house together. This cast is exceptionally close. It was an instant connection and we all got along really well. We do a lot of things together. But we had to do things separate that each of us needed for calories and likes that were different.
Patch: Do you have any special bonds with any of the other contestants? We saw some emotional moments that you shared with Cate and Jackson in Week 3's episode.
Rambo: I have special bonds with a lot of the cast. I would take a lot of walks with Jackson, and Pam and I have hung out a ton. Really, the whole cast — who doesn't love Nate? The whole cast is like my new family now. We still contact each other, and we all want to see all of us succeed at the finale. I couldn't have asked to have been put into a house with a greater group of people.
Patch: What about your trainer Dolvett Quince?
Rambo: I love Dolvett. Dolvett taught me so much. He's magic at what he does. He's a gifted trainer. He can tell you to do something that in your head you're like "There's no possible way I could ever do that," but he makes you believe that with your body you can do it. And you step out and do things you never thought possible. He's an incredible trainer. He totally... totally... It's hard to put into words how passionate he is at what he does and how much you feel like he truly cares about you and your success, and drive you to be better. He truly is special.
Patch: Who made the biggest difference behind the scenes? A doctor? A nutritionist?
Rambo: All of them — Dr. Huizenga and Dr. Cheryl and ahtletic trainer Sandy Krum as well. They're all amazing people that just keep us all operating healthy.
Patch: What's worse: the difficulty of the workouts or the weigh-in attire?
Rambo: I get that question a lot, because we stand up in front of America in our sports bra and shorts. I remember watching the Season 9 finale with my husband. We're sitting on the couch and all of a sudden this woman comes on and it shows her starting weight as 250-something. I was like, "I weigh about that. Do I look like that?" And he didn't say anything. Then, the next one came out with a starting weight at 260-something — in that same range — and I was like "Holy cow!" Then I started looking at myself in the mirror and I started seeing the weight that I never saw until another woman was brave enough to stand in her sports bra in front of America so that I could see what I weighed. When my weigh-in came I wanted to stand like that in front of America so that other people can see what they are facing. I just wanted to be that brave woman. Now today, I'm not that girl anymore, and it's a reminder that I won't be ever again.
Patch: What have you been hearing about some of your co-workers, students and friends at church back here in Hudson since you've been on TV?
Rambo: It's exciting to be doing this now with my home team. I did it on the ranch with this fabulous family, but we're all at home and we're doing this with our home team. I come from an amazing community that just rallied behind me and it's been incredible. The students at the high school are excited about what's happening and the transition. I hope it's inspiring others to do the same. At church and around the gym and around town there's a buzz about how we are going to get healthy together. I'm only hoping that I can bring this back to my community and we can make a stronger, healthier Hudson for the next generation for my kids. It's exciting and fun. I'm a lucky girl to come from Hudson. Hudson is pretty incredible.
Patch: Do you have any advice for fellow Hudsonites?
Rambo: Just do the best with what you've got and what you've got will better and better. Just keep going.
Patch: What was this like for your husband and kids with you being away during shooting? And what kind of support did you get from them while you were on the ranch?
Rambo: While we are on the ranch, we don't have any contact with home. So we were kind of on our own. But my husband took charge of our family while I was gone — "If you're going to get healthy, I'm going to get healthy" — and I didn't know this. He got some books, he started working out and eating right, and my husband has lost over 60 pounds in this process. Our house is now a totally different kitchen than it was when I left. My family has been my A-1 team and we're working on this together. It's exciting.
Patch: I know your husband Tony is a pastor at The River Community Church. Did your faith play a role in this journey?
Rambo: For sure it did. You have an inner strength that comes from God, and that has helped me through this crazy stuff. I think your faith grounds you and gives you a base to run on, and it gives you strength far beyond what you thought you had. And it gives you endurance to keep going. Faith was definitely my strength for the journey.
Patch: Are there any local resources here in Hudson that you would recommend for people to take advantage of?
Rambo: In Hudson we are so blessed to have so many people that excited about health and wellness. I've had an opportunity to talk to a bunch of people down at Riverfront Athletic Club. They are excellent. The YMCA has fabulous resources with tons of classes. Victory4You Fitness is a little gym in Hudson that's really fun. The grocery stores are awesome too. You can get all kinds of great produce there.
The next episode will air Monday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. on NBC.
- Losing it With Lisa Facebook page
- @LisaRambo on Twitter
- Video Interview with Lisa and Cate
- Lisa Rambo's "The Biggest Loser" contestant page
- "The Biggest Loser" website
- Lisa Rambo Update: 'The Biggest Loser' Week 4 (Hudson Patch)
- Lisa Rambo Update: 'The Biggest Loser' Week 3 (Hudson Patch)
- Lisa Rambo Update: 'The Biggest Loser' Season Premiere - Part 2 (Hudson Patch)
- Lisa Rambo Update: 'The Biggest Loser' Season Premiere - Part 1 (Hudson Patch)
- Hudson Teacher to Appear on NBC's 'The Biggest Loser' (Hudson Patch)