We had the pleasure of talking with Melissa Morgan from Biggest Loser Couples about the tension with Jillian, her at home weight loss, and the lessons she has learned from the Biggest Loser campus.
So you got a lot of heat, I guess, in Week 2 when you gained a pound. So a first question is, was it really game play or not? And if not, do you feel like last night gaining a pound kind of will help people understand that you just really were struggling with the scale?
Melissa Morgan: Okay. Week 2 and Week 3 was absolutely not game play. That was as real as real can be. And I’m just praying that the plus one from last night’s episode validates what I’ve said through the entire season, which was I’m not playing the game. I’m really struggling with my weight here.
And what was your relationship with like with Jillian by the time you left? Last night I know you guys had some tension but they didn’t really show any more after that. So did you guys kind of make up or did you just stick with Bob the rest of the weeks?
Melissa Morgan: I really worked out primarily with Bob the rest of the weeks. I mean if Jillian was there to work us out and I was, you know, told to work out with Jillian, I absolutely worked out with Jillian.
I went to a Last Chance Workout with Jillian and, you know, we certainly did – we didn’t see eye to eye on things.
I didn’t have the opportunity to speak with Jillian after the weigh in that aired last night. And so I really don’t know, you know, what her position is at this point. You know, I would hope that that validates for her that I wasn’t playing a game early on.
Have you talked to anybody – you know, Dr. H or anybody – to find out why they think you were having such a hard time with your weight?
Melissa Morgan: I actually did. After – the plus one in Week 2 – you know, like if I lost 19 pounds in Week 1. That is a huge number for someone my size. And so the second week I kind of just chalked up to, you know, there were some fluctuations in water. You know, did I have too much sodium that week? I really didn’t freak out too bad with the plus one. I should – you know, I really didn’t. But when I got into Week 3 – only 1 pound, I was really freaking out at that point. And I literally left the scale and said, “I’ve got to call for Dr. Huizenga because I’m not playing the game. And I’ve got to figure out what’s going on.” The night before the Week 3 weigh in, I did start my menstrual cycle. And so when I talked to Dr. Huizenga, he told me that that was going to make a difference, that that could be anywhere from 6 to 8 pounds of water retention.
But he also told me that at that point I was the only woman in the house that had gained any muscle at all. So everyone knows that muscle is heavier than fat. So, you know, I think that those things played a factor in that two-week net zero loss. But again, you know, I’ve struggled with that roller coaster the entire time. So I wish that I had an answer. I wish that someone else could give me a good explanation. But at this point, I still don’t have one.
What’s the hardest part since you’ve been home? Was there a big culture shock, you know, leaving the ranch and coming back?
Melissa Morgan: That’s a great question. I struggled a lot when I came home. And I think that there were a number of factors. For me, I felt like there was a cold water – a cold bucket of water just thrown over my head. There was no option. There was no deliberation. There was no pleading my case. It was, “Goodbye.” And I’d been on the Biggest Loser campus for six weeks. And I got sent home to rural West Texas and I was in Biggest Loser mode. And when it was time for me to go and find a gym and find a trainer and start working out, I didn’t find anything that was remotely close to being on the Biggest Loser campus. And I struggled quite a bit. Fortunately for me, you know, a few weeks out I found a great trainer at a great gym. And, you know, (Chris) has just really been my lifesaver since I left campus.
But we’re hoping we will see you again on the show. I know probably for the finale, isn’t that right? Or…
Melissa Morgan: Right. The live finale is May 25th.
And you’ve – you’re fighting to lose enough weight maybe to win that $100,000?
Melissa Morgan: Well, you know, that’s how it works. I mean I have struggled, you know, as everyone knows I’ve struggled with my weight since the beginning. And, you know, if I get there, yahoo for me. But at this point I’m really just focusing on me and getting healthy. For me I think the number that I like to qualify more so than the weight itself is my percentage of body fat because I’m gaining muscle. And so if I weigh 160 pounds at the finale but my percentage of body fat is, you know, at 18% or 20%, I’m a winner.
And what is it now?
Melissa Morgan: The last time I had it checked it was about 28.
Twenty-eight. And I read where it says where you are now, that you’re already down to 170-something, I believe?
Melissa Morgan: Yeah, 175.
And that’s from kickboxing among other things?
Melissa Morgan: Yes. I’m loving my boxing. Boxing is – boxing, seriously, it’s my therapy.
And your husband’s still on there. And how are you able to give him support from long distance?
Melissa Morgan: Oh golly. You know what I do? I literally write him a letter every day. And it’s nothing more than, “Yay, keep going,” to, you know, giving him a break down of what’s going on at home, how I’m doing with workouts, just trying to keep him motivated and keep his head in the game.
And do you feel more relaxed now that you’re off there?
Melissa Morgan: Oh how funny. I don’t know that relaxed is the right word for it. I mean obviously you don’t have – honestly, I don’t know that relaxed is better.
I have, you know, I have the kids that I have to deal with. I have a job that, you know, fortunately I don’t have to be at full time. But I have clients that I have to deal with. And, you know, you’ve got to fix lunch. And just getting back and forth to the gym. I have to drive an hour one way to get to the gym. So I don’t think relaxed is the word. It’s a little bit more stressful being at home. But, you know, I think that I’m in the right place right now.
So clearly you’ve been really successful at home. What do you think has contributed to you being able to, you know, do this so well at home when you were clearly struggling at the ranch?
Melissa Morgan: Well, you know, my weight loss at home is actually about average what it was on the ranch. When I came home, I actually had a week where I lost 0 pounds and I had a week where I gained 3 pounds. So my roller coaster ride has been consistent at home as well as it was on the ranch. You know, and I really am trying to do the same thing at home that I did on the ranch. You know, I’m eating clean and I’ve got these very serious, rigorous workouts that I do as often as I can. And, you know, obviously when you’re at home and you’ve got kids and you’ve got, you know, different temptations and things like that, I’d work through those, you know.
I’m living and I do fun things with my kids. And, you know, when my kids have a package of M&Ms I will share with my kids. You know, Wyatt loves to share. And so, you know, I’ll take two or three M&Ms. But, you know, it’s another ten minutes on the treadmill or something.
I’m just – I’m living my life right now. And, you know, those pounds are going to come off. It takes me a little bit longer than it takes everybody else. But they’re coming off and I’m not going to turn my back on it.
So on the ranch it wasn’t just Jillian who was kind of targeting you, but you got a lot of heat from everybody else. Did you feel like you were unfairly targeted? And if so, did you receive any apologies?
Melissa Morgan: You know, Bob apologized. You know, when he and I spoke, he apologized. Really the trouble was more so with Bob and Jillian. I just – they truly believed that I was playing the game. You know, the relationships that I had with the people in the house were – they were really good relationships. I was very close with everyone in the house with the exception of the Green Team, and obviously everyone knows, you know, the drama, if you will, with the Green Team. But for everyone else it – the relationships were great. I didn’t feel like there was any serious issues with anybody when I left.
At home, how do you deal psychologically with looking at the scale, wanting to see it go down, down, down every week but then some day – some weeks, getting on the scale, seeing it go up. How do you keep going?
Melissa Morgan: You cry, to be honest. I’m not going to pretend like I don’t. I mean I have my bad days. And, you know, boxing, seriously, is therapy. Everyone should try it. I really feel so much better when I come to the gym. And I have made myself realize that scale’s not going to do what my mind thinks it should do. And I have convinced myself that I just have to keep going because there’s going to be a point in time when that number is going to go down.
And there is another way that I measure how I’m doing and that is by taking body measurements. I measure, you know, my waist, my hips, my thighs, my arms and my chest. And I measure all those things. And if I can see a difference in that, I know that I’m making a difference regardless of what the scale tells me because the scale’s not the end all be all in being healthy. And for me, that’s what the key is. The key is being healthy, not weighing 125 pounds. It’s about being healthy.
Do you have any favorite new things that you like to eat at home as far as recipes or favorite snacks?
Melissa Morgan: I’ve got to tell you that I’m not a fish person. I don’t like fish. And while I was on the ranch I started eating fish. And this has really become something in my house that I eat quite often. And it is just a mild fish, like a tilapia or an orange roughy. And you literally drown it in fresh-squeezed lemon juice with a little bit of garlic powder. Oh my gosh, it is so good.
I’m curious how the – sort of the emotional beating that you took from the trainers and some of your peers during the weight loss episode hindered your weight loss journey. Do you think it slowed you down at all because you’re spending a lot more energy fighting with people?
Melissa Morgan: Here’s the thing about my personality. I take everything extremely personally. And when, you know, when Bob and Jillian believed that I was playing the game, I mean it broke my heart because I came there literally – Bob and Jillian were on a pedestal, in my opinion. And – I mean my heart was broken that they didn’t trust that I was telling them the truth. And it’s one of those things that you – you know, there was a part in, I can’t remember which episode, where I’m talking to Lance and I’m like, “You know what, we’ve got to let it go.” And that’s not my personality.
My personality is to hold a grudge forever and not let it go. And I realized that I can’t be that person anymore. That person was the fat girl that showed up on Biggest Loser campus. And there were just so many things in my life that needed to change and that was one of them. So I literally had to let it go, put all that behind me and just keep moving forward whether they believed it or not. I needed to take the resources and the tools that they gave me and just keep pushing through it. And, you know, I had Lance and I had, you know, Stephanie from the Purple Team. And I had other people that were saying, “You know what, Melissa? I believe in you and you’re doing what you have to do. And keep fighting.” And that’s what I did.
What’s been the biggest benefit of your new lifestyle? Is it playing with your kids? Is it eating healthy foods? What is it?
Melissa Morgan: You know, I’ve got to tell you that the biggest benefit for me is the relationship between Lance and I. We went into this thing and our marriage was struggling a lot – a lot, a lot. And weight was one of the biggest factors in our marriage. I mean, you know, he lost his job because of his weight. And when I tried to broach the subject, he was defensive and he thought that I was nagging. And it just created so much tension in our marriage.
And being on the ranch and being in that environment allowed us to address so many of the issues that we were struggling with that, you know, I made some realizations about Lance and Lance made some admissions and some realizations about himself in terms of food.
And he and I are closer today than we were when we got married. And that is the biggest benefit because it’s going to trickle down to everything else in our lives.
I’d like to ask you, after spending a week with the Olympians, what healthy lifestyle lessons did you take away from your experience there?
Melissa Morgan: Was that the craziest thing you’ve ever seen in your life? My gosh. That was the experience of a lifetime.
I think what I learned most about being there is don’t ever give up on what you dream. Whatever your dream may be, don’t think that you can’t do it because those people – regardless of whether you’re, you know, 19-year-old J. R. Celski with a skate blade through your leg, or you’re 40-plus-year-old Dana Torres, Olympic swimmer – don’t think that you can’t do it, because you can.
And I think that’s the one thing that I pulled away from there was, you know, I’m going to be 40 at the end of this month. And while I’m never going to be an Olympic athlete, I lived there. I slept there. I ate there. I breathed there. I worked out there. And don’t give up on your dreams, ever.
After the Olympic Week as well, and the ranch, what kind of things have you implemented with your kids for your new healthy living at home some days?
Melissa Morgan: One of the most important things that I’ve done in my house is I have taken soda out. There is none – because we were huge into soda. And so I’ve taken it out. There’s just so much yuck in soda. And the other thing is I’ve gotten rid of so much of the processed stuff. I’m trying to bring in clean foods and natural foods, you know, fruits and vegetables and nuts and those kinds of things.
Wyatt struggles. Wyatt is a, you know, chicken nuggets and potato kind of kid. And so I’m struggling with Wyatt a little bit. But, you know, with time it’ll all come around.
What’s something that you’re really looking forward to besides this marathon that you’re hoping to run, that you haven’t been able to do since – and you will be now that you’ve lost the weight, or you’re losing it, rather?
Melissa Morgan: What is something I wanted to do? You know, I really don’t know. There’s – the marathon is one thing that I’ve always really wanted to do. And so let’s hope that that works out for me at the end of the month.
To just get out and be more active. I mean when I was a kid, I was outside and active all the time. And I just haven’t been that person in a long time. So, you know, I think being able to go out and be active with my kids, to get them involved with running and get them involved with other outdoor sports – cycling and things like that – I think that’s one thing that I’m really looking forward to implementing with my kids.
How have your kids reacted to all of this, besides the food changes?
Melissa Morgan: Carson – fortunately, Carson forever has loved healthy food. And so she hasn’t been a problem at all. Wyatt’s the one that we’re struggling with just because – God love him. I mean he grew up on bad food. When he refused to have, you know, carrots, I’d let him have chicken nuggets. And, you know, my theory back then was, “Well I guess it’s better for him to have chicken nuggets than to go without,” rather than, “No sir, you’re going to have the carrots because they’re healthy for you.” And so, you know, I’m having to go back and fix some of the bad habits that I allowed him to get into. And that’s where we’re struggling right now.
I wanted to talk a little bit more about the Green Team. I know they took it really personally when there was the penalty that you guys gave them. Did you try to talk to Miggie and say, “Hey, you know, it’s nothing personal,” and was she just against that? What happened?
Melissa Morgan: Here’s the thing. Miggie and I both have very strong personalities. And when Lance and I made those decisions for those three cards that we were given we had the opportunity to go to our room and to seriously talk about what we believed was going to be best. And we believed at the time we gave those cards out that we were doing the right thing.
Miggie and Migdalia – seriously, those girls worked harder, in my opinion, than anybody else on the ranch. They were up first thing in the morning. They were up late at night. They never stopped moving And, you know, I’ve watched the show forever and I see the numbers and I see how if you’re at the bottom of the leader board, you’re usually at the top of the leader board and things like that. And so that’s why we went with Miggie and Migdalia. You know, the reason we didn’t go with Sam and Koli or some of the other teams was because all of those guys, their weights counted the week before and they lost huge, huge numbers — double digits, all of them — huge numbers. And so we thought, you know, Miggie and Migdalia should be very consistent and they’re going to be able to overcome. And we tried to explain that three times and they just – they didn’t want to hear it.
And the thing that was interesting was that it was taken so personally that by the time we got to the end of the week with the weigh in, it was, “She thinks she knows everything. She thinks she knows what she’s talking about.” So that it became – it came across as a personal thing between me and Miggie. And, I mean I never saw it that way. It wasn’t – I didn’t make that decision. I didn’t go and tell Lance, “You’ve got to give it to the Green Team.” That was just the decision that we made at that point. And so for what it’s worth, I mean we did what we had to do. And we thought that that was the right decision at the time.
So you were lucky enough to have your husband on the ranch with you. But there were a lot of single people on the ranch. I’m wondering if you saw any romance brewing among the singles, like, you know, for either Ashley or Daris or Michael. Did anybody seem to have a crush on anyone?
Melissa Morgan: You know, not that I really noticed. Not that I noticed.
How did it feel when you were watching last night to hear that your son says to people that you look hot?
Melissa Morgan: How funny is that? My kid, he is so funny. You know, I mean I guess that’s a good thing, you know. It’s – it certainly makes me feel good that he can see the difference in me today versus,when I left to go out on the ranch. And it makes me proud.
You said earlier that when you first came to the ranch that the trainers were on a pedestal. And I was wondering after the conflict with Jillian if there’s any way she could redeem herself?
Melissa Morgan: Well I think that being on the ranch for me – one of the things is that I realized that Bob and Jillian – they never should have been placed on a pedestal because I think I, like a lot of other people, think that you have to have Bob and Jillian to make a change in your life. And while I still adore them and think that they do wonderful, wonderful things, I think the more important thing is to put yourself on a pedestal.
You need to be thinking positive thoughts about yourself and what you can do for yourself because at the end of the day, you’re the only person that matters. And you’re the one that is lifting the weights and you’re the one that’s eating healthy. And you’re the one that is ultimately making those changes. Yes, they’re motivating you and, yes, they’re pointing you in the right direction. But you have to believe in yourself and put yourself on the pedestal. So I think that’s the way we should be looking at ourselves rather than looking at others.
Do you think looking at it that way made it easier for you to lose weight at home?
Melissa Morgan: You know, I’m still struggling with my weight at home, to be honest with you. And I think it’s making it easier for me to get through every single day. I mean it certainly is different today than it was before I got on campus. Before I got on campus, you know, I literally would lose a lot of weight in Week 1. In Weeks 2, Week 3 I would struggle and I wouldn’t lose or I’d lose 1 pound. And, you know, it’s the comment that got me into trouble. Really all I want to do is go and eat the cheeseburger because I’m killing myself and it’s not making a difference. And before I went to campus, I didn’t realize that if I keep fighting, the fourth week I’m going to lose 11 pounds, because I always give up. And so, you know, there’s just a huge difference between the Melissa that was before the Biggest Loser and there’s a difference between the Melissa after the Biggest Loser.
What are some tips for staying motivated throughout the winter, especially if it’s somewhere you can’t work outside or it’s just hard to get out there?
Melissa Morgan: Am I in trouble if I say boxing? Because you can do boxing inside. I really – you all, I’m so addicted to boxing. It’s crazy. I’m going to be honest. I don’t dig the cold outside in the snow kind of thing. I mean there are some teams that are from up North and maybe that’s a better question for them. Here, being down in Texas, we have pretty mild winters. And so, you know, just remember that at the end of the day you need to burn some calories. And so whatever you have to do – if it is break out a Biggest Loser video and get in front of your TV – burn yourself some calories.
One thing that I did – at the end of the day – I know that I have to get to 3600 calories. That’s my goal is to get to 3600 calories burned every single day. And one day I was about 100 calories short. And I literally got into the kitchen with a linoleum floor and I slid across the kitchen, kind of like I did in the episode. And I burned my last 100 calories sliding across the kitchen in my socks.
What’s the biggest thing that you learned about yourself on the ranch or that surprised you the most to learn about yourself?
Melissa Morgan: I can do it. I have always been the girl that doesn’t believe in herself, doesn’t believe that what she does is enough. No matter how much weight I lift, no matter how fast I run, how far I run – for me it was never enough. And after the workout with Bob, when he literally killed me, I realized I can do every single thing that you ask me to do that I didn’t believe I could do. And you know what? It’s enough. It’s enough. And that’s what’s been good for me.
Official Biggest Loser Site: www.nbc.com/the-biggest-loser/