The Biggest Loser’s newest winner Jim DiBattista talked to Hidden Remote about what his journey meant to him and what’s next.
The Biggest Loser remains one of the best reality shows on television, showcasing the journey of different contestants as they fight to become the biggest loser—of weight.
With a stellar run since 2004, the show returned in 2020 as a reboot on USA Network after last airing in 2016. The new part was called The Biggest Loser: USA Reboot. This time, the series brought in 12 contestants all vying for a 100,000-dollar prize. There were several tweaks to the show, including no temptation challenges, no voting, and all eliminations being based on weight loss.
The show recently concluded Season 18 (also known as Season 1 on USA Network) at the end of March and another winner was crowned once again, this time 47-year-old Jim DiBattista from the Philadelphia area. Jim lost 144 pounds during his time on the show. We had a chance to chat with the winner about his overall experience on the show and what’s next after winning:
Hidden Remote: What have you been doing since you won Biggest Loser?
Jim DiBattista: Since I won, there was a brief time where coronavirus hadn’t taken over the world yet, so I went to Universal and have some fun with my family. I went back to work and have been continuing to apply what I have learned from the show.
Now that we are in shutdown, I am trying to create a new norm. Crossfit offers virtual workouts on platforms like Instagram, so I have been trying to take advantage of those.
I lost about 16 more pounds since the show ended, and I’m hovering around 225 pounds. I am looking to build more muscle. It’s been exciting for me when it comes to my health and nutrition. I am stronger, more fit, my mile runs are quicker. I’m lucky enough to not let the virus affect that.
HR: With many in lockdown, what has been a part of your normal quarantine routine?
JD: I’ve been doing strength training for about four weeks now. Before that, a typical day was going on Planet Fitness’s website where they have 20-minute HIIT workouts on bodyweight and that would usually be in the morning or sometimes the end of the day for a live event. Somewhere in the middle of the day, I would run for about a half-hour. That was in weight-loss mode.
Now, I’m lifting for about an hour a day and doing 20-30 minutes of cardio about 3-4 days a week. All this total was about 5-6 days a week. I don’t do all 7, you must give yourself a day off.
Nutrition-wise, I do portion-control. I’m eating more than I did in the contest, but I’m still portioning.
HR: What was your overall experience like being on the reality show?
JD: In terms of personal, single achievements, The Biggest Loser was by far the greatest personal achievement I have ever had. It was the worst personal achievement I ever did to allow myself to get as big as I was, and I decided as a 400-pound man to change my life today, not tomorrow.
I decided to fix it, and that was The Biggest Loser for me. And this was going to be my pinnacle moment to get healthy and take this opportunity to change my life, win or lose. Biggest Loser provided that for me, and I’m forever grateful. I don’t know who I’m more grateful for, Biggest Loser or (trainer) Erica (Lugo) herself.
HR: What is the single biggest lesson you have taken from the show?
JD: The show is not about nutrition, not about exercise, the show is about mindset. The biggest lesson was I needed to fix my brain, fix who I was mentally in my relationship with exercise and nutrition, and pinpoint what was causing me to make bad decisions. It was also evaluating myself about why I wasn’t making good decisions, work on that mentally, and get through it and try to make good decisions every day when I can.
HR: As a youth football coach, how has being in quarantine changed your coaching strategies and game plans?
JD: We just had a coaches meeting two days ago. I’m a volunteer coach, so I don’t get paid, I have another job. We coach at a smaller level, 8th grade, not high school. I stay very prepared, and I already would have had sign-ups for next year three times already and we don’t start until August.
All of that has changed (due to the pandemic). What I am going to end up doing is a four-hour camp, which has never been done before, and I’m going to bring alumni back (former players) and I’m going to have these guys run the camp with me. We are just going to have fun with it and try to do registration with that.
I’m also going to take part in a virtual Zoom meeting with high school football players (running backs) and talk to them about what you can do at home to stay motivated and healthy.
HR: What’s next for you in the meantime, are there any other goals or hobbies you plan to pursue?
JD: There are a couple of things I’m trying to do. I’m actively helping the casting team (of The Biggest Loser) on my own. I love the show so much and I want a potential Season 2 to be awesome.
I have a full- time job that has nothing to do with health and wellness, but what I like to do hobby-wise and would like to do eventually as a career is to help people get healthy and motivate them to just get healthy or do so through looking at my journey.
I started a website and I’m trying to do some motivational speaking and tell my story, along with explaining how it applies to anything, not just weight loss.
My true passion is to help teams learn how to eat right and work out and I want to help middle-aged people that let themselves go lose weight and eat healthy again.
HR: What is your advice for future contestants on the show?
JD: To be open and honest with the show. You must go in being yourself. You must show them who you truly are and why this opportunity is best for you. Why do you need Biggest Loser to lose weight? What is it about the show that will help you move forward in your weight-loss journey?
If you start faking it and tell lies, you’re going to see through it. I went in with the opportunity to show I am. If you like me, great. If you don’t, I can’t control that. Show your best you to the world and take advantage of the opportunity.
This interview has been edited for length.
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The Biggest Loser Season 18 is available to stream on USA Network.