At more than 400 pounds, Orlando native Robert Richardson II said he saw “The Biggest Loser” as a last chance to take back his life.
He is among 12 contestants on season 18, which began Tuesday on USA Network.
Richardson, whose father played for the New England Patriots, is 33 and stands 6 feet, 8 inches tall. He and his wife have lived for five years in Lafayette, Louisiana, where he works as a territory sales manager for a tobacco company. He talked about his life and the show in an email interview.
Question: How was your health before the show?
Answer: I was turning for the worse – high blood pressure, borderline diabetes and always in the hospital.
Q: Did you discuss the show with a physician?
A: Yes, I had to do a very thorough exam to ensure I was fit for the show and exercise.
Q: Had you tried to lose weight before?
A: My first major weight loss was in 2013, which was featured on The Huffington Post and a few other magazines. I lost a total of 185 pounds. This journey started in January 2019, when I weighed in at more than 430 pounds at the doctor’s office and knew I had to ask for help. I was either going to save for weight-loss surgery or hire a trainer to help me drop the weight.
Q: Did you see the show as a last chance to shed the weight?
A: I definitely saw the show as a last chance to shed my weight and to take back my life. When I married my high school sweetheart and when we had our first child in 2016, I told myself I can’t allow food and my weight to kill me and to take me away from the two most important people in my life. It took one night, that one night that I applied to “The Biggest Loser” with the support of my wife, that would change my life forever. I am looking into training people, becoming a nutritionist and educating people who are struggling with weight or overall health.
Q: Were you a fan of the show?
A: I love the show. I would sit on my couch and tell my family, “I wish Bob Harper was my coach.” Season 17 winner Roberto Hernandez helped me decide that if the show was to start again, to apply and see what happens.
Q: What do you think of changes to the format?
A: The new concept of the show focuses more on overall health and well-being long term and not just losing the weight. The show educates you on nutrition, mental health and physical health – a more holistic type of living.
Q: What do you say about the show experience?
A: My experience on “The Biggest Loser” will forever change my life. I have learned to respect food and to respect my body so that I can be here for my son and my wife. I know I am not able to control what happens to me, but I can control my weight, my health and mind.