Where Are the "Biggest Losers" Now?

More than 18,000 pounds have been lost by former contestants. But were they able to keep it off?

By Gina Pace
|  Tuesday, Dec 1, 2009  |  Updated 7:00 AM EDT
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Revisiting the "Biggest Losers"

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Matt Hoove started out at 339 pounds, got down to 182, and is now at 237.

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In a recent special, “The Biggest Loser” went across the country to check in on former players. Experiences ranged from competing in triathlons to one season winner who gained all of the weight back. Here’s how some fan favorites are doing today:

Matt and Suzy Hoover, season 2
On Season 2 of “The Biggest Loser,” Matt and Suzy had horrible first impressions of each other. Matt didn’t understand how “a girl that big can be so happy,” and Suzy thought Matt was mean with a chip on his shoulder.

But after Suzy offered to give Matt a haircut, things changed between them.

“As that hair fell, a lot of things changed in me, and she was a part of that,” Matt said.

The two grew closer, and six months later, Matt proposed on the TODAY Show. The couple now has two kids.

Both have gained some of the weight back. Suzy weighed 227 before starting the show, was 132 at the finale, and now is at 175. Matt started out at 339, got down to 182, and is now at 237.

“If you’ve struggled at all with weight loss at any time in your life, you know you have to work at it and we’re no different,” Matt said. “Our goal now as a family is to change our legacy.”

To stay in shape, Matt challenges himself by setting fitness goals. His most recent was the daunting Ford Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. It includes a 2.4-mile swim in the ocean, a 112-mile bike ride followed by a full 26.2-mile marathon.

Matt was intimidated by his other competitors, who were skinny and in incredible shape.

“Sometimes you need to see a chubby guy taking off to do something he’s not supposed to do,” Matt said.

Throughout the grueling race, there were several times that Matt didn’t think he could finish. To be an official finisher, athletes have to compete the race in under 17 hours. During the marathon, a sweeper came up to Matt and said that unless he picked up the pace, he’d be forced to quit.

“I’m not here to impress anyone, I can only do my best, but I’m not going to quit,” Matt said.

He was able to start running again. He finished the race 3 minutes after the official cutoff.

“I crossed the finish line and I never quit. I look back over that race and it changed me,” Matt said. “It’s not about how much you weigh and what you’ve done in the past. It’s about what you’re doing.”

Erik Chopin, season 3
Erik Chopin’s Season 3 transformation was one of the most dramatic in the history of “The Biggest Loser,” going from 407 pounds to 193. But when trainer Bob Harper heard that Erik, whom he had grown especially close to, had gained all the weight back, he dropped in for a surprise visit.

“I put some weight on obviously. A few months ago I was at 368, which was very close to where I was at the start of ‘The Biggest Loser,’” Erik said. “I felt uncomfortable telling him [Bob] where I was at. I felt like I was going to disappoint him. I can’t let him know because he’s going to be pissed off at me.”

Bob told him that he wasn’t mad — and understood how hard it was to keep the weight off.  For many people it was a constant struggle, he said.

Erik said that he got down knowing how hard it was to lose the weight the first time and knowing that he’d have to go through that process again.

Bob told him that he shouldn’t go back to the “strict life,” instead finding a balance he’d be able to do for the rest of his life.

“You know how to take it off and you know how to put it on, what you don’t know is how to live your everyday life,” Bob said.

Bob told Erik that he couldn’t bring home food treats for his family because he was sabotaging his own health. They then went to a local boxing gym, where Erik planned to start a regular fitness regime.

“I think about my journey on 'The Biggest Loser.' I come in a 407 pound guy, I lose over 200 pounds, get to this weight and the story should end there and I maintain my weight,” Erik said. “But my story is different. I gain the weight and fail and my story ends there. But my story doesn’t end there. I’m going to lose that weight. I’m starting off as the biggest guy, losing a tremendous amount of weight, struggling and figuring some things out, then lose it again and then maintaining it.”

Bob challenged Erik to weigh in at the end of Season 9, and Erik accepted.

“It’s a matter of getting past my own demons. Getting a handle on that is probably the last thing that’s left,” Erik said. “I was waiting for something like this.”

Ron and Mike Morelli, season 7
Father-and-son team Ron and Mike Morelli made huge strides on “The Biggest Loser.” Ron lost 192 pounds by the finale and Mike, the youngest contestant in the history of the show at 18, lost 207. Ron wanted to become a better example for his two sons; having spent his teenage and adult years overweight, he didn’t want his children to have the same experience.

At the end of season 7, it was clear Mike was well on his way down a healthier path.  But a big unanswered question was what would become of his younger brother, Max. When Max made an appearance on the "Loser" makeover episode, he was proud of his brother and father for all they had accomplished, but broke down when he realized he was now the only fat member of the family.

Max was able to spend the summer at The Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge in Utah.

“I’m only 17,” Max said. “Seeing the success my dad and brother had made me want to start losing weight. I was thinking to myself that I need to do something now before it is too late.”

Max was has lost over 100 pounds, going from 405 down to 300.

Meanwhile, Mike has started college and is a freshman at Michigan State University.

“I get to live my life for the first time in 18 years essentially,” Mike said. “I can do anything I want to do.”

As a family, the Morellis have lost 575 pounds since starting “The Biggest Loser.”

“The Biggest Loser” airs on Tuesdays at 8 pm on NBC.

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