Jez Gets The Biggest Loser Boot

Photo: Photo: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

Talk about a week of surprises: First, the Red, Black and Blue teams disbanded and the contestants learned they would compete as four sets of trios. Second, in a gambling temptation challenge, Jez won the ability to pick new teams and chose Black team stalwart Isabeau, plus double-digit-consistent loser Neil from the Blue team, to be his partner. Third, in an attempt to prevent Blue team members from going home, Neil drank two gallons of water to throw off weigh-in results. What he thought would be subtle turned into an off-kilter 17-lb. weight gain! Trainer Bob and the other contestants were furious. But in the end, Neil stayed on to face the wrath of the Ranch and Jez Luckett, 24, from Garden City, Kan., got the boot. Now a Californian, the 5’8” Luckett has gone from 345 to 220 lbs.! We spoke to Jez about conquering fear, moving for his health and that broccoli tattoo! –Cynthia WangWhen you left the Ranch, you said you wanted to get over both your fear of failure and your fear of success. Have you done that?Yes, by leaps and bounds. I grew up afraid to fail and try things I wasn’t good at and a part of that was because of my weight. But if I ever did something well, it would mean would expect that every time, and it freaked me out the idea of letting down. But once I started working out and realizing that hard work and dedication always gets you where you need to go, it just kind of clicked something in my brain about everything else, too.

A lot of what we see on The Biggest Loser is physical. Can you describe how being on the Ranch helped with your emotional change?I used to over-think everything and that led to a lot of issues. I don’t think as much but at the same time I think more when I need to. I think more about the decisions I make as far as food goes, but I don’t take as much time overanalyzing everything; I just do. That is the habit I have changed the most.

You’ve now moved from Kansas to California. When and why did you do that?I went home to Kansas and after a week of seeing McDonald’s for lunch and Arby’s for breakfast at my parents’ house and KFC in the fridge next to my organic ground turkey, I was like there is no way I am going to have the same amount of success here as I would in a place where there is a Whole Foods around every corner and everyone is getting healthy. That is not to say anything about the love and support of my parents, but they are not in the same place I am. I didn’t want to project my issues on to them.

So now that you are eating more healthful foods, do you have any favorites?When I was 21, I wanted to get a tattoo and I held off for a long time because I didn’t know what I wanted. For some reason, my first tattoo was of a head of broccoli and it says “Broccoli Power” under it. It’s on my forearm, and it’s always been a big running joke. People just don’t understand why I would get a tattoo of broccoli–it shows my wackiness and desire to be unique at all costs! But it has proven to be completely poetic because I eat so much broccoli now, and I never really ate vegetables before unless they were drenched in butter or sauce or fried. My tattoo proved prophetic because I have found much power in broccoli!

Photo: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

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