4 contestants on ‘Biggest Loser’ have Michigan ties

Mekeisha Madden Toby
Special to The Detroit News

It seemed like Andrea Wilamowski was a goner on the season opener of “The Biggest Loser.”

Although she managed to impressively shed 14 pounds in her first week on the NBC weight-loss reality show, it was the Grosse Pointe Farms resident’s fears of embarrassment and doubts about her stamina that ultimately hurt her.

“I told (trainer Jessie Pavelka) I wanted to go home, but now I don’t really want to go home,” Wilamowski, 43, confessed after the Blue team voted her off last week. “I feel like I disappointed a lot of people. I feel like I’ve given away an incredible opportunity, one that I won’t get back ever.”

Before the sad music could play and Wilamowski could sulk, the limo that drove her away from the ranch drove her up to Comeback Canyon, a second-chance location run by trainer and series veteran Bob Harper. And just like that, Wilamowski is still on the show. Will she survive another week? Viewers will find out when week two of the show airs Thursday.

Wilamowski, a former high school cheerleader who also played basketball and tennis, and ran track is one of 19 remaining contestants on “The Biggest Loser: Glory Days” who used to be in top physical condition before weight gain got the better of them. The wife and mother is also one of several contestants with Metro Detroit/Michigan ties. Former Detroit Lions stars Scott Mitchell and Damien Woody are competing on the show, as is Rondalee Beardslee, 28, a former volleyball champion who lives in New Lothrop, Michigan.

All four are fighting to stay on season 16 of the series with Mitchell and Woody proving to be especially vocal about their desire to lose weight and live healthier lives.

“I played quarterback in the National Football League for 12 years,” said Mitchell, 46, who started off weighing 366 pounds before shedding 23 by the end of week one. “And yet, here I am. I’m far heavier than any lineman that I ever played with. To have to bear my soul like this is a big step for me.”

This is also a personal journey for Woody, 36, Mitchell’s one-time teammate and former offensive lineman. The Super Bowl champion said he has struggled with being overweight all of his life but when he played professional football, he had a way to use his size to his advantage and stay active. Now, he’s an unhealthy 381 pounds after losing a mere seven pounds so far on “The Biggest Loser.”

But don’t count him out. Woody said he wants to get in shape so he can be there for his wife and seven children.

“I have so many things to look forward to,” he said. “I’m not trying to be a statistic.”

Mekeisha Madden Toby is a Los Angeles-based TV critic.

‘The Biggest Loser: Glory Days’

8 p.m. Thursdays

NBC (Channel 4)