Stay-at-home mom Julie Hadden was 5 feet 1 inch tall, weighed 218 pounds and by medical standards considered morbidly obese when she pleaded with God to help her lose weight. But she had no idea He would use the hit reality TV show The Biggest Loser to help rid her of both the physical and spiritual weights that controlled her life.
Julie was able to shed the pounds and regain her self-esteem. She shares her story and tells about being a contestant on season four (2007) in her new book Fat Chance: Losing the Weight, Gaining My Worth. To hear her inspiring testimony, listen to podcast.
Julie’s Story: The Spiritual Side to My Weight-Loss Struggle
One of the most interesting aspects of being on The Biggest Loser was the ubiquitous presence of cameras and production crew. It wasn’t uncommon for my teammates and me to be interrupted even during the most grueling of workouts in order to be interviewed for
one segment of the show or another.
To be sure, it was a situation that elicited a mixed response: A break was always welcomed during one of Jillian’s workouts, but who wanted to be punished by her upon returning to the gym?
Fairly early in the show, one of the production assistants pulled me from a treadmill and asked me to come outside to talk on camera about my thoughts on the experience thus far. It was maybe two minutes into our little chat when I saw her swivel her head toward the cameraman and with a heavy sigh say, “Cut.” Still the peoplepleaser of the bunch, I asked if I’d said something wrong.
“No, it’s the bells,” she said, and nodded toward the distance behind me. “We’ll start over when things quiet down.”
There were microphones everywhere on campus, it seemed. They were in our bathrooms, in our bedrooms and in the dining room where we ate every meal. There were precious few locations that weren’t wired up with a mic, but Hollie and I found each and every one and swapped secrets the entire season long.
Jillian pitched a massive fit every time anyone interrupted our workouts. I later learned from production crew that they used to draw straws to determine who had to enter the gym to remove one of her team members for an interview.
I had been so focused on whatever it was I was saying that I had failed to notice the majestic church bells pealing their noontime chime. I looked toward the church that I could not see and closed my eyes as the bells finished their song. I thought my faith was stuck in Jacksonville, God, but you’re clearly here with me now. I sat perfectly still while I awaited his reply, anxious for conversation with the one I’d kept at a stiff arm’s length.
“I know you thought you were alone here,” he seemed to say, “but I’ve been with you all along.”
“Here?” I thought with a small, wry smile. “They let you come to Hollywood?”
Every 15 minutes from that day forward, I noticed those church bells ringing. They chimed on the quarter-hour, on the half-hour, at fifteen ’til and when the top of the hour came-how had I missed them before?