FITNESS September 2011 cover models, Olivia & Hannah. (Photo by Cheyenne Ellis)
When I interviewed Olivia and Hannah for September's cover story (the issue hits newsstands today), I had no idea how inspirational these girls truly were! They had enough advice to fill our entire magazine. Here's just a few things I learned from my favorite purple team:
Taking care of yourself is taking care of others.
Olivia: "I like to micromanage everything and everyone and I think that stems from being the oldest of four kids. I’ve always liked taking care of everyone else and making sure my life and everyone else’s was going smoothly and as organized as can be. After years and years of being in the driver’s seat, I had forgotten about taking care of myself. It was too exhausting at the end of the day. Eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, was the one thing that I used to treat myself. Like if I wanted ice cream, well I’m going to have ice cream because that’s what I want. In my mind, it didn’t matter because it didn’t affect anyone else, so I could be out of control and go off plan. But in reality, I wasn’t being the best sister, wife or friend I could be because I couldn’t get this under control."
Believe that you CAN do.
Olivia: "I used to like being perfect and when I couldn't be, and couldn't fix something immediately, I'd get frustrated very easily. I think my past diets didn’t work for me because I’d always start and think of how far I have to go and get easily overwhelmed, so I’d quit before I’d even begun. I wasn’t allowing myself to change my thinking and believe in myself. This time around I realized it’s all about the small goals. I learned then the power of setting small, manageable goals and making one smart choice at a time. Now if I’m having doubts or wanting to quit a tough workout, I think 'just go five minutes.' Like when things get tough during a Spin class, I’ll tell myself ‘just get through this song and you’ll be okay’ and I am. Believing that you can do something will make you actually do it."
There is no quick-fix to a healthy body.
Hannah: "I always wanted a quick fix for what I had done to my body for so many years, but I was looking at the end result instead of paying attention to the right now and what can be done today. I’ve learned weight-loss isn’t a program, because those come to an end, it’s a lifestyle that you have to choose to live little by little everyday."
Want to know more about what it's like after leaving the show? Here's what the girls have to say in our Q&A:
I'm dying to know since you girls have such WOW bodies now—what did you do with your old clothes?
Hannah: "When I was at the ranch, my younger brother bagged up my clothes. When I got home he told me I was never going to be that unhappy person anymore and I’d never need those clothes again, so we donated them. But I did keep a pair of jeans from when I was at my heaviest. I know it sounds funny, but I keep a pair of jeans at every point in my weight loss tacked onto my wall—I have a curtain of jeans hanging in my house right now. I know I won’t keep them hanging forever, but for now it’s helping me stay on track and see how far I’ve come. I love fashion so it’s so much fun to go into a store and actually buy a dress—I haven’t worn a dress in 10 years! Since I have to restock my wardrobe, I’m having fun with it."
What’s something viewers would be surprised to find out about living on The Biggest Loser ranch?
Hannah: "When we first met Bob I didn’t realize how hot he was. For the first few weeks I was in love, not star struck, but I literally had the biggest crush on him. I’d wear makeup to all the workouts and when I had to do a session with him, I’d think ‘Oh no he’s going to see how big my butt is!’ Now he’s one of my closest friends, but he’s 10 times hotter than what you see on TV."
What do you love most about your new sleek, sexy bodies?
Olivia: "My arms! I never really knew that I had the potential to have long, lean arms. I always thought that I was just big boned, but it turns out I’ve actually got a small frame and I’m really tall! Who knew that underneath all that, I might end up looking like a 12-year-old boy [laughs] and Hannah would be such a bombshell with that hourglass figure!"
Hannah: "Well, thank you! I must admit: I love my stomach! I’ve been blessed to not have any sagging skin and it’s so flat! My stomach makes me feel so strong. It’s nice to have muscles and not just be thin."
It must have felt like winning the lottery when you were chosen for The Biggest Loser and to be able to get help from the pros. How do you want to pay-it-forward to people who are now looking up to you?
Olivia: "We almost didn’t make it on the show because we weren’t 'big' enough. I thought, in what society is a woman who weighs over 250 pounds not heavy enough to be considered in danger for her life? That really struck me. Hannah and I want to touch the women who were like us—who although they are 100 pounds overweight, are still functional in their everyday life but struggling to get their weight in control. The people who have their gym bag perpetually packed in the trunk of their car, but are too intimidated and overwhelmed to take the first step."
[Editor's secret! At this point in the interview an excited fan comes over to us and asks to take a picture with Olivia, who happily does so. The fan tells Olivia she was rooting for her the entire season. Olivia later tells me that it’s stuff like this that holds her accountable to staying on track. “If that woman watched me week after week and wanted me to succeed, then I owe it to those people who cared enough about me to not let them down.”]
Hannah: "I agree. I think in this growing obesity epidemic we have to pay attention to the borderline group. It’s the people who are just big enough to be wearing plus-size clothing and can still go to the gym, but they’re too embarrassed to go because of how they look and being scared of not knowing what to do. That was forever me! We want to reach out to the women who are not considered unhealthy—not quite overweight enough to have high blood pressure or high cholesterol—but if they wait a few years their health might only get worse."
Need major motivation to get started on your own journey? Check out The Biggest Loser Resorts which use the same tactics as the NBC show to help more people find better health. With locations in Utah and California (and more opening in 2012), you'll have a packed schedule which includes open gym time, group exercise classes, daily hikes, educational classes, and cooking and nutritional guidance from the pros. Plus, you can work out with Olivia and Hannah this week when they're a guest at the Resort for the all-new "Workout With Your Favorite Biggest Loser Star" program. The girls will offer motivational support and inspire others to make the changes they need to live a happier and healthier life.
My favorite Biggest Loser transformations—Olivia & Hannah are on top of the world! (Photo by Cheyenne Ellis)