JOPLIN, Mo. —
When Patrick House was 28 years old, a doctor saying that his veins were those of a 60-year-old had a big impact on him.
Perhaps “huge” would be a better adjective to describe that impact. House proceeded to drop 200 pounds.
The season 10 winner of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” spoke Tuesday to a group of about 15 members and staff at the Joplin Family YMCA South. He talked about how he started at about 420 pounds and ended at 220 pounds in three months of filming the 2010 show, on which contestants compete to lose the most weight through diet and exercise.
“I always tell people that it’s about making the small changes that lead to the big changes,” House said. “Don’t overwhelm yourself in the first week with I’m going to diet, exercise, drink protein shakes and quit smoking. You can’t do all those things at the same time, but those small things over time can lead to a bigger change in living a healthy lifestyle.
“That’s the biggest thing I feel that ‘The Biggest Loser’ has given me. It’s given me a platform to stand up and try to help kids nationwide with making those changes and living a healthy lifestyle.”
He said it was the television show’s doctor who made the reference to his veins. He compared being able to be on the show to winning the lottery, with more than 300,000 people auditioning for the show during the season he competed.
The program also has an anti-bullying component that stresses treating people equally no matter how they look.
“I thought what he said today was incredible,” said Liz Scheurich, YMCA community wellness director. “Hearing what he said was so inspirational. I wish we could have gotten more people here that need to hear that message. We know how hard it is to keep a healthy lifestyle, and just to hear you’re not the only one that struggles helps.”
House described his personal weight loss challenges as well as behind-the-scenes details of being on the show. At one point, he was advised to eat a little more than 800 calories per day, which was a “mental and emotional test,” he said. During the show, he was working out up to 12 hours per day, but he has since cut back to one or two hours per day.
“It was interesting to hear what goes on behind the scenes,” said Lori Alburty, a Joplin resident and YMCA member who said she has watched the show every season. “It was motivational.”
House is working on a book that will chronicle his experiences. He also plans to run in the Boston Marathon.
Talking to children
PATRICK HOUSE lives in Mississippi, which he said is rated the most obese state in the country. Since his journey started on the television show, he has been contracted by the state of Mississippi to talk to children about making healthy choices, and through the Lean on Me program, he has spoken to about 15,000 youngsters about exercising and eating right.