CALIFORNIA — Lance and Melissa Morgan of Aspermont, contestants on “The Biggest Loser” on NBC, credit the show with saving their marriage and ultimately their lives.
“I wanted to lose weight and get healthy,” Melissa said. “It became such an issue — our marriage was falling apart.”
Melissa, 39, an attorney with an office in Abilene, and Lance, 38, a rancher, say takeout meals and a lack of activity caused them to gain weight. Melissa started the show at 233 pounds, while Lance started at 365 pounds. As of Episode 5, Melissa had dropped 35 pounds, and Lance had shed 51 pounds.
It was Melissa’s idea to do the show because she had always been a big fan. But she had another reason, as well. Lance had lost his job as an oil and gas diver because of his weight, causing some tough times for the Morgan family.
“The last five or six years I have been a commercial diver in the Gulf,” Lance said. “I can’t dive anymore because of my weight. My goal was to get healthy first of all, and in doing so I can get back to work and provide for my family.”
Melissa says the exercise regimen is grueling but worth it.
“It is some scary stuff, but that is not as scary as dying at 40 because you are overweight — that is scary,” Melissa said.
Lance applauds his wife’s determination.
“Contrary to what most people believe, she worked out more than I did,” Lance said. “I could not keep up with her on a lot of stuff — she was a beast on this.”
So far in Season 9, dubbed “The Biggest Loser: Couples,” five episodes have aired. Lance and Melissa have a long way to go before the May 25 live finale.
The show is filmed in Calsas, Calif., at a ranch where all the contestants reside. There is a 24 Hour Fitness gym on the ranch.
Melissa said the hardest part of the show for her was leaving the couple’s two children — daughter Carson Brockette, 14, and son Wyatt, 10.
“We have no contact, but we were able to call home on Episode 4,” Melissa said.
The Morgans say the biggest thing they have learned from the show is how to eat healthy.
“We have changed the quality of the food we are getting,” Lance said. “We have to go to Abilene to get quality food like organic vegetables, but we buy what we can at home. We are cooking at home just about every meal.”
As the smallest contestant weight-wise, Melissa said her goal going in was not about winning the competition.
“The objective was to get healthy,” Melissa said, adding that she has no doubt her husband can make it through to the end and that they can win the grand prize of $250,000.
“He has got it figured out now,” Melissa said. “I have no question he is going to reach his goal.”
The latest episode of “The Biggest Loser” will air Tuesday at 7 p.m. Since its debut in 2004, the show has grown to become a stand-alone health and lifestyle brand with tools and products inspired by the show and approved by doctors and experts.