STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 08/19/2008

ARTICLE | The Biggest Loser

The Biggest Loser
Interview by Kristin Schwabauer '04

Matthew McNutt '00, runner-up contestant on NBC's reality show The Biggest Loser, was one of 50 contestants who competed for the title in season three, losing 176 pounds in eight months.

STILLPOINT: What motivated you to try to get on The Biggest Loser?

Matthew McNutt: I sent in a 10-minute video to convince NBC I should be on the show: 30 seconds of "I'm really fat and want to lose weight to set a healthy spiritual and physical example to my kids and the teens I work with as a youth pastor"; then I recorded me wrestling with my kids, snowtubing, paintballing, preaching--showing I like a challenge and would jump in with everything I've got.
I had given up losing weight on my own--tried everything and resigned myself to being overweight. But a checkup changed my mind. I was on the verge of heart conditions, diabetes, knee surgery, and outgrowing the Big & Tall shop. My 366 pounds were killing me. My example, I knew, would lead my kids to hear the same news in a couple decades. That shook me into action.

SP: What was involved?

MM: After all we contestants sold our souls--or at least our fat--to a reality show and submitted the most humiliating photos of our lives, filming began. Fifteen minutes into the show the host dropped a bomb: Only 14 of the 50 contestants would stay with trainers at a ranch. The rest would go home with a workout DVD and a cookbook to show America we could lose weight on our own. I was terrified, convinced I couldn't do this alone.

We met with doctors and trainers to exercise, study weight loss and nutrition, and explore the psychology of weight loss. I finally understood what I had been doing and why, and the effects it had on my body.

I was brought back with five other at-home contestants for two episodes halfway through the season. We were shocked to find out we were all ahead of the "ranchers" in weight loss. When I weighed in with an 81-pound loss, I realized I had outdone the contestants from my home while working a full-time job and taking care of my family. I was reinvigorated, determined to finish out the weight loss by the finale.

SP: What happened during the finale?

MM: It was the biggest party ever--hundreds of screaming fans, cameras, lights, music. I came in second place for the 36 at-home contestants; my loss translated to 48 percent of my starting weight--just shy of the winner's 50 percent weight loss.
I showed America that any results are possible at home. My family is living a healthy lifestyle, and I'm setting a healthy spiritual and physical example for teens I work with. Although I didn't win the big money, I feel like a winner.

SP: What did you learn?

MM: All those Old Testament passages on the care and maintenance of the temple, on its holiness and sacredness, show us what a tremendous gift it is to have God dwell in our very bodies! Now I view my eating, my decisions, my exercise as part of my worship, giving honor and glory to God. It's an exciting transformation in my attitude--to recognize that my spiritual health and physical health are vitally linked.

I've been able to help others get healthy by speaking at churches, government organizations and events, leading weight-loss groups and responding to emails from around the world, sharing how my relationship with God impacted my weight loss.

SP: Are you still keeping up with the vigorous routine?

MM: I was working out 12-15 hours a week and eating about 1,800 calories a day. I now eat 2,500 calories a day and exercise about five hours a week. That's a manageable lifestyle, and I've stayed at the same weight for about nine months.

Visit Matthew's personal site at: