Jen Widerstrom's 'The Biggest Loser Blog' : Why I Chose My Contestants

Jen kicks off her first blog of season 17 with a look at her new contestants

Photo: NBC

Jen Widerstrom is a trainer on NBC’s The Biggest Loser. In her first season on the show, Jen successfully coached Toma Dobrosavljevic to the winner’s podium. As she works to maintain her perfect winning average in season 17, her second season on the show, Jen will blog each week about the latest episode. Follow her on Twitter: @JenWiderstrom. The Biggest Loser is on NBC at 9 p.m. ET.

Jen-u-ine time is here!!! I cannot tell you enough how excited I am to be blogging for PEOPLE and getting the opportunity to take you on this journey with the contestants this season. I practically live on the ranch, so I’ll be dishing on all the highs, lows and real emotion from on and off the screen.

In choosing my contestants, I thought about the qualities they would bring to the table. Luis and Roberto brought competitiveness and the hype! I chose Colby and Hope because of their spirit. Always smiling and laughing and keeping everyone lifted. Sarah and Rob were chosen because I could trust them to be my anchors, and stay consistent and connected to the journey no matter what. Finally, I chose Vicki and Lauren because I knew there was something more there. I wanted them to set the example for my team and for America – that the change they want to see in their life is possible, should they simply believe in their ability to do it.

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COURAGE is the one quality they all shared. Because that’s what you need to be a contestant on The Biggest Loser. To love yourself more than any vulnerability, discomfort or obstacle that would tell you to “stop” and “just quit.” To put your blind faith into three people that you have never met before and give them the opportunity to earn your trust and sometimes, even your friendship. And for the first time in years, to feel worthy enough to fight for yourself.

This season, Sarah is a perfect example of this. Her constant feeling of worthlessness is what led her to her highest weight and along with it, her greatest unhappiness. I love how we have moments on camera of her fighting to conquer the sled and that negative voice in her head telling her she did not deserve to be chosen for my team.

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But one of my favorite breakthroughs with her came while I coached her on the rowing machine. To see her demeanor change, in the way she drove through her legs with power and in the way her eyes got clear and convicted. I literally saw any insecurity drift from her face as she saw her own strength in her numbers right in front of her on the screen.

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Another was in quiet conversation during a mini beauty session, while plucking stray eyebrows, if you can believe it! We spent that real time talking about her journey, the joys in her life (her son and husband) but also her real fears of what she might discover here on the ranch. Those are the real moments I’m after. You see, health and fitness and workouts are simply my way of beginning a dialog with someone that breaks down walls and allows deeper conversation. For Sarah to be seen and heard and accepted for all of it was huge for her breakthroughs in week one.

There is a takeaway for all of us in this. Consider allowing your courage to have a voice in your decisions, just like Sarah did. Be willing to invest in yourself. Be willing to believe in your happy ending. You have the power.

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