They were the endearing dad/daughter team so many were rooting for — but their last day as the Yellow Team ended in tears when Biggest Loser: Families threw in one of its famous twists, and Jerry and Coleen Skeabeck had to decide which one of them was going home after they fell below the yellow line on Tuesday’s episode. Leaving Coleen back at the ranch, doting dad Jerry, 51, from Cleveland, Ohio, managed to kick serious butt back home, losing more weight and ditching four out of five heart medications he’d been on before the show.
Jerry, who has gone from 380 lbs. to 298 lbs. (so far), spoke to reporters about his experiences in a recent conference call. — Sara Hammel
What were your initial thoughts when you found out only one of you would be going home?We concentrate so hard on just making a team effort, so that was a little surprise. It gives everyone else something more to think about, and when it did come up, it was highly stressful to make that decision about who would go home.
Dr. Huizenga called you the unhealthiest person in Biggest Loser history. Do you think that was fair?It is what it is. This is not a show that is creating something that didn’t happen. It’s something I created and the lifestyle I created for myself led to obesity, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. This is why we have so many problems in this fast food society — this life of convenience — because we don’t want to get up off the couch. A lot of don’t want to exercise and eat healthy. I felt they were telling the truth and what you see is what you get. The end result was awesome.
How was it going back to the police force? Are you getting support from your coworkers?The support has been overwhelming. The chief of police here is more than supportive and the family of the police department has really, really come together. Now we talk about health, nutrition and working out. If you were to tell me I could do this one year ago — much less six months ago — I would have told you, you were crazy.
Was the decision about which of you would go home as hard for you as it was to watch?Absolutely. We went in there as a team. … I have a son who’s a marine and he’s overseas, and it just breaks your heart when one of your kids is away from you. You go out there and you have to leave your kid again? In California, you guys are a great country out there. But we’re from Cleveland. We go to work every day and pay the bills. As a dad it was real tough leaving Coleen behind.
You all weren’t working out a lot on the Grand Canyon trip, saying you didn’t know what to do without gym equipment. Were there any other reasons for taking the week off?Being there and in a lot of pain and all that crazy stuff, I was looking for an excuse not to have to do anything because that was the frame of mind I was in. There was nothing on me that wasn’t hurting. My ears were hurting. I don’t think it was an excuse but for myself I was looking somewhere to slack. I slacked that week.
Any lasting friendships made?Definitely. Right now we’re in a mode until we get to the finale. Everyone’s in the mode trying to get the workout routine we have, and keep them strong so there’s definitely lasting friendships — that’s without saying. A lot of , they’ve almost become like part of your extended family for the short time I was there, with their support. When you’ve got someone going through a problem you go through, they’re experiencing it with you. There’s nothing that brings you closer.
How has your health improved since you lost weight? I don’t have any blood pressure medicine now. I’m medicine free. My sleep apnea caused a heart arrhythmia. I don’t have any of that anymore. I just wake up and look at the good-looking guy in the mirror and smile.
What went through your mind when you gained two pounds at the last weigh-in?It was complete shock. A lot of things were explained to me, how the weight gain occurred. It’s a good education when you have Dr. Huizenga in your corner. You almost wanted to die. It’s crazy. When I tore my hamstring, a lot of blood expressed from the muscle and my hamstring and ran down into my leg, causing me to gain water weight. My leg was 3.5 inches larger than my left leg and it took quite a while for it to rehabilitate to the point where I’m running.
Was it fun to finally participate in the challenge, after being prohibited from doing so until now for medical reasons? When you’re there with your family member and they’re out there participating in a challenge and you can’t participate, you don’t know how that tears you up. To be out there was like New Year’s Eve. I was having a good time.
Before the Biggest Loser, what were your guilty pleasures food-wise? And can you still eat it now?Pasta — and lots of it. I’m a pasta freak. I used to love it, but now it’s limited. I’m a little more educated now. I have more wheat pasta and I’ very careful with my servings, making sure that I do some serious burning after I eat it. NBC, Stacey Book