NBC joined the fight against an epidemic of childhood obesity with Season 14 of “The Biggest Loser.” On the season premiere, host Alison Sweeney introduced “three people who will change everything”: the “Biggest Loser” kids — Biingo, Lindsay, and Sunny.
Noah, better known as Biingo (it might have been Bingo if the nickname wasn’t given to him by a fellow kiddo) has stolen viewers’ hearts with his charm and effervescent attitude. He’s a boy’s boy and a natural comedian whose team you just want to be on.
In the video beloe from NBC, 13-year-old Biingo says “I breathe baseball but I’m at the point where, without losing weight, I can’t be a professional baseball player. It’s stopping my dreams.” It’s a heartbreaking message from a child who shows off his secret bedside junk food stash in his audition tape.
In the video he made with his cousin to send in to the show, Biingo opens up about his own motivation to change his lifestyle. “I want friends that won’t call me ‘tubby’ or anything like that,” he says. “I just want to be able to be a normal kid, that’s a normal weight, and doesn’t get made fun of.”
When chatting with Biingo, it’s easy to forget he’s a child. “All the guys are cool; we talk,” Biingo tells Zap2it of his older pals at “The Biggest Loser” Ranch. “I’ve gotten close with several adult contestants. They’re all just there for us.” He seems mostly insulated from the fanfare of being one of the first kids on the show, and he says he’s unaware of the fan base he’s developing along the way. “I don’t really know 100 percent,” Biingo says about his new found popularity. “I just kind of focus on what I’m doing.”
And what he’s doing is something that exhibits a maturity beyond his years. “It’s just me keeping my goals in the back of my head and being able to focus on changing what I’m doing,” Biingo says, “changing my lifestyle and having fun doing it.” One of those changes means Biingo’s family now has “nothing but healthy food in the house,” which he calls “really exciting.”
Biingo also says getting coaching from a semi-pro baseball player was a “completely new” experience” that gave him confidence he too can be a “special baseball player.” Something else that’s new? “No one really picks on me anymore.” Score.
Lindsay is another 13-year-old who’s seeing big changes in her life that she says she owes completely to the folks at “The Biggest Loser.” When a doctor from the team met with Lindsay’s mom to share the news the young teen is pre-diabetic and has abnormal cholesterol, Lindsay says she was scared.
“That really hit me strong,” Lindsay tells Zap2it. “I’m just like, ‘Wow, I’m 13-years-old and I have the body of a 40-year-old.’ That moment, I told myself I need to make a change.”
Lindsay says she’s been going on hikes, walking her dog to the park, getting in her cardio, and practicing gymnastics for next year’s cheerleading tryouts.
When trainer Dolvett Quince surprised Lindsay by showing up at her school, we got to see her get some exercise by training with the cheerleaders from the local high school. Since then, Lindsay’s confidence has clearly skyrocketed. “Next year I’m going to be on that cheerleading team,” says Lindsay today. “I’m going to be that girl on top of that pyramid.”
Looking even further into the future, Lindsay says she has plans to help educate parents on how they can raise healthy children. “We saw Biingo say ‘I thought vegetables were grown in factories,'” she points out. “That’s wrong. He didn’t know where vegetables were grown.” Lindsay thinks she can be an encouragement to parents to guide their children’s eating habits and lifestyle patterns. “Just go outside with your kids for an hour,” she says. “Get the whole family involved.”
Lindsay reveals she’s come up with some methods on her own to make vegetables more edible, like freezing green beans and grilling brussels sprouts. She also says she’s gotten her friends to cut back on the junk food. It sounds like we might have a future “Biggest Loser” trainer in the making.
At 16-years-old, Sunny is the oldest of the “Biggest Loser” kids, and most former teenagers can relate to her words when she models a swimsuit in her audition tape. “I just pretty much hate the way I look,” she says. “And it takes away from my self confidence.”
Something else viewers have watched steal Sunny’s confidence is an obligation to the future plans her strict parents have set out for her. Sunny describes falling into cycles of stress eating because she struggles to keep up with expectations.
On Jillian Michaels’ visit to Sunny’s hometown, she’s able to convince the teenager to open up to her mom and start a dialogue about her own desires for her future.
Sunny tells Zap2it Jillian’s support gave her a new sense of courage. “After talking to Jillian I realized what was really holding me back from being happy, and from making choices that were going to help me in life,” Sunny says. “I was too scared to be open with my parents.”
She describes a sense of freedom she’s never felt before after having that important heart-to-heart with her mom. “I really feel like that was a turning point,” says Sunny. “I’m basically just doing things to make me happy now. For the first time in a long time, I’m excited.”
The teen says the “Biggest Loser” experience helped her realize that she and her vegetarian family were, in fact, “carbotarians.” Sunny says she’s added protein, fiber, and fresh fruits and vegetables into her diet, and is looking forward to running a half marathon. “I’ve realized that I do like being active; I like working out,” says Sunny. “I’ve changed from over-eating to coping with stress by going for a jog.”
Tonight, Biingo, Lindsay, and Sunny return the “The Biggest Loser” ranch to help the adult contestants with a pretty intense challenge. Tune in to NBC to catch up with these amazing kids, as well as the trainers you love to love-hate.