'The Biggest Loser' recap: Trapped in a junk food jail and bubblegum pit
SPOILER ALERT: The recap for the "Cut the Junk" episode of "The Biggest Loser" contains contestant spoilers.
There was nothing subtle about the takeaways from the "Cut the Junk" episode of "The Biggest Loser," but it was a particularly effective episode in showing the ills of making bad eating choices and of inactivity.
The teams -- five members on the Red Team, five members on the Blue Team, but just Pam and Danni remaining on trainer Jillian Michaels's White Team -- are led into a special room and given a statistic to start the installment: The average kid in America spends 4.5 hours sitting in front of a screen of some sort every day (TV, video games, etc.).
The room that the contestants are in, by the way, is filled with computers, video games, vending machines, and big comfy chairs, as well as trays and trays of junk food: doughnuts, cookies, candy, pizza, chips, and bottles of colorful soda.
And, bombshell, in keeping with one of the season's themes of tackling childhood obesity, the teams are going to compete in a trivia challenge, with the losing team forced to spend 4.5 hours a day locked inside the junk food room, not only tempted by the treats inside but also unable to exercise during that time.
The trivia bout itself -- testing contestants' knowledge of statistics on childhood obesity -- is one of the more boring bits of the season so far (and an argument against making the show a two-hour affair every week), but the point that the junk food room made clear is a valuable one.
Bob's Blue Team loses the trivia game, and throughout the episode, those contestants are shown lounging around the junk food room, sleeping, noodling on the computer, not indulging in any of the empty-calorie food but growing ever more lethargic by the hour.
The contestants talk about their guilty pleasures:
When their time in junk food jail ends and Bob leads them off to work out, they realize that their energy and motivation have been zapped. Sure, they skipped the bad food, which was no small thing, but over the previous two weeks they had gotten into the habit of spending their days moving their bodies. When they couldn't for long stretches of the day, it threatened to undo some of the good work they'd done.
Bottom line: Inactivity breeds inactivity, and a body in motion really is more likely to remain in motion.
On to the week's obligatory emotional backstory reveals, during which both Cate and Francelina talked to the trainers about the overwhelming emotional reactions that the competition was sparking in them.
Cate broke down as she told Dolvett that she was ashamed and angry at herself for the state of her physical health. Sharing sentiments and frustrations that most people who struggle with their weight can probably relate to, she told him that she beats herself up wondering how she allowed her weight to spiral out of control.
Francelina, a Red Team member who decided to work out with Jillian and the White Team one day, revealed that she'd had a complicated relationship with her late father, who would go through periods of being a great, affectionate dad but at other times would be mean and uncaring. Jillian quickly guessed that he was an alcoholic, which Francelina confirmed, and the two talked about how Francelina's weight issues stem partly from her inability to let go of the hurt and guilt she feels about her dad.