weight loss

From Heavy to Healthy

How a father and daughter learned to live happy, healthy lives with the help of NBC’s The Biggest Loser.

By Rebecca Heaton

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For years, Rob Kidney and his daughter, Sarah Gilbert, struggled with weight. Then they were accepted to compete on NBC’s weight-loss show The Biggest Loser as a pair on Season 17. Together, they lost 235 pounds. Today, they continue to follow and preach a healthy, natural-foods diet and lifestyle. We caught up with them to learn more about how it all began.

Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank)

Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank)

Tell us how you gained weight.

RK: We had both been struggling with weight for a while—Sarah after getting married and her first pregnancy, me after a string of tragedies, including losing my business to a tornado, helping a loved one with drug addiction and fighting prostate cancer.

SH: We got caught up in emotional eating, and the weight kept adding on. We were both in a dark place and just got complacent that this was how it was going to be.

How did you get on The Biggest Loser?

SH: We tried out for Season 9 and made it pretty far in the process but didn’t make the final cut. When the opportunity came up again, I convinced my dad to go to the audition. We waited hours for a one-minute interview. Then we got called back and made it all the way through!

Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Please share some memories of your experience.

RK: I had an “aha” moment when we visited a morgue, and what we thought was a cadaver under a sheet was a giant pile of sugar. The doctor had reviewed how much sugar each of us had been eating prior to the show; it was a lot. He held up a card that read “5 Years from Today,” and when he looked at me, he said I would be dead if I didn’t change. At that moment, I knew what I was there to do: to get healthy.

SH: My mom had given me a book written by a former contestant, Julie Hadden, but I never opened it because I was in a dark place and just kept gaining weight. The night before the show started, I opened it. The author had written, “Sarah, you are worthy. Love Julie.” I started sobbing. Who knew that four years later I would be on the show?

How has your diet and lifestyle changed since the show?

SH: Before the show, I ate mostly fatty, convenient foods. My body went through a shock on the show. But once I got into a rhythm of eating healthier, I started to feel better. Now I make healthy eating a priority. I’ve learned recipes and cook with natural, nutritionally dense foods, and I exercise regularly. I also run a website called theflourishmovement.com to inspire people to be healthy.

RK: I used to go to a lot of drive-through restaurants. Now I prep all of my foods ahead of time each week. I’m on the road a lot for work, and I never go without my prepped salads, cashews, a healthy protein of some sort, plus plenty of other healthy natural foods. I feel good every day—it’s just so much fun to eat this way.

From 593 to 352

Rob lost 116 pounds (he started at 326)

Sarah lost 119 pounds (she started at 267)

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