Older people are Biggest Losers as Helen, Jerry take top weight-loss prizes

The Biggest Loser 7 concluded last night and awarded its $250,000 prize to Helen Phillips, who’s 47. That gave Bob Harper his sixth loss to Jillian Michaels on the show; someone he trained only one once, in season three, when Jillian was gone. Anyway, Helen went from 257 to 117 pounds, losing 140 pounds and 54.47 percent of her body weight. Crazy–she could be a jockey.

Viewer votes (“millions,” Allison vaguely said–she’s no Ryan Seacrest, as she seemed intent upon proving throughout the night) sent 18-year-old Mike Morelli, the show’s youngest competitor ever, to the final three instead of his dad, Ron. He ultimately went from 388 to 181 pounds, losing 207 pounds but only 53.35 percent of his weight.

Tara Costa’s weight dropped from 294 to 139, losing 155 pounds and 52.72 percent of her weight, leaving her in third place even though she’d dominated throughout the season, as she was the biggest loser six times during the competition. But she would have had to have lost 160 pounds to beat Helen.

The three-hour finale predictably dragged its big ass, and it even took me a long time to fast-forward through huge chunks of it. That said, some of the contestants look like completely different people. Stunning and impressive.

Jerry, who’s the oldest contestant ever at 64 and collapsed during the first workout, won the $100,000 prize for losing 177 pounds from 369, 47.97 percent of his body weight. Ron, who started at 430 pounds, losing 192 pounds to end up at 238. But he needed to have lost 206 to beat Jerry. Dan, the fattest contestant ever on the show, started at 454 pounds and lost 142 pounds, ending at 312 pounds with a loss of 31.28 percent of his body weight.

Joelle, who caused Bob to have an awesome meltdown, lost 80 pounds, 25.89 percent off of her starting weight of 309. Not bad, but apparently all that screaming didn’t have a gigantic impact on her.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.