Hard to believe that this fit young guy could ever qualify and be chosen as one of NBC’s ‘Biggest Loser’ contestants. That’s right. Antoine Dove, then a heavy 23 year-old, was one of America’s favorite ‘Biggest Loser’s’ in 2009 weighing in at 367 pounds.
Anita Jones-Mueller: Hi Antoine. Wow! What an accomplishment. I heard you lost 152 pounds after starring on the ‘Biggest Loser.’ And, even more of an accomplishment: you have kept the weight off for three years!
Antoine Dove: Yes, I am really committed to eating healthy and staying fit now. In fact, it is my passion to wake up every day to help others, especially kids, take charge of their life and avoid being obese.
Anita Jones-Mueller: I am so excited to hear about your journey with the ‘Biggest Loser’ and to hear about your expert strategies for staying healthy and fit. So, first tell us, what led you to want to lose so much weight?
Antoine Dove: I was really overweight as a child. I remember weighing 150 pounds in 4th grade and then more than 225 pounds in 6th grade. I was miserable because I was teased all the time. I was definitely an outcast. I think it was ingrained in my mind that I was meant to be overweight. I was THE fat kid and I accepted that, even though I hated it.
Anita Jones-Mueller: Why do you think you were so heavy?
Antoine Dove: Well, I’ve done a lot of thinking about this over the years. And even just a few years ago I would have given you a different answer. I would have said it’s just the way I was. But now I know that it was really the result of poor choices and lack of education. Now I know that food is really important. It’s the fuel for your body and it’s important to power up with high quality fuel. And that high quality fuel must be paired with daily exercise.
Anita Jones-Mueller: So how did you get to be a contestant on ‘The Biggest Loser’?
Antoine Dove: A coworker told me about the ‘Biggest Loser’ casting show. I didn’t know much about the show, I had only watched a few episodes at that time. But it seemed to be a once in a lifetime opportunity, sort of a golden ticket to a lifetime dream. So I signed up for the auditions. I figured the worst they could say was no.
Anita Jones-Mueller: So, tell us more!
Antoine Dove: Well I had to go through a series of auditions. They asked a lot of questions about my goals and aspirations. And a lot of argumentative “fat people” questions which I was pretty good at answering. I made it to the final stage and they flew me to Los Angeles. I started feeling really great about this opportunity to change my life and hopefully even help inspire others to change their life.
Anita Jones-Mueller: Then what? How did you lose 150 plus pounds?
Antoine Dove: Well, I remember not knowing what to expect when I got to LA. I was really nervous. But, I have to say that I also felt my dream starting to come true. I had the thrill of working with Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper. But it was really tough at first. I went from a snacking sedentary couch potato to a healthy eater who was working out 6-8 hours per day. That was a big change!
But, each day I could feel that I was stronger. I was able to push myself further and further. I realized a lot about my true self. I realized that I could accomplish my dream. I was giving it all I had. And that felt really good. In the first month at the ranch, I lost 30 pounds. That was really the spark that created the flame that burns in me now. That flame motivates me to strive to live a healthy life. And the flame ignites my passion to want to help others benefit from a healthy lifestyle too.
Anita Jones-Mueller: That is so inspiring. Wow! I didn’t watch the show back then but I know it is somewhat like a popularity contest and I can’t believe that you wouldn’t win. You have such a charisma. Why weren’t you chosen as ‘THE Biggest Loser’?
Antoine Dove: Well, actually I decided to give up my spot on the show so that the heaviest contestant they had ever had on the show, Shay Sorrells, wouldn’t be eliminated. Shay still had a long way to go with her weight loss journey on the ranch, however I was ready to put my knowledge to the test in the real world.
Anita Jones-Mueller: And there was another reason too. Right?
Antoine Dove: Yes, one of the contestants, Alexandra White, who was eliminated in the first week of the show – stole my heart in the first week of us getting to know each other… I knew that when I got home I had someone that I could lean on for support. And now we are engaged to be married.
Anita Jones-Mueller: Congratulations! What a heart-warming story. I am going to continue this with a Part II. I want to interview you on all your secrets. What are your tips for eating to lose weight and then keeping it off — which is the hard part! I also want to talk with you about your exercise regime and recommendations. And, I know you are involved in some great things to help others live healthier lives, so we’ll talk about those too. Thanks, Antoine!