By Adam Smith
The North Jefferson News
Roger Schultz may be a ‘Loser,’ but he believes he’s a winner.
The second-place contestant and Enterprise, Ala., native spoke to a joint meeting of the Gardendale Rotary Club and the Greater Gardendale Chamber of Commerce Wednesday about his experience on NBC’s reality show, “The Biggest Loser.”
Though he didn’t win, Schultz lost more than 160 pounds after weighing in at more than 380 pounds when he first appeared on the fifth season of the show.
Schultz, a former football player at Alabama from 1987-1990, said he became hooked on reality TV shows while in college. He said it was in college that he also gained a love for food.
“As an offensive lineman, I was always trying to get bigger,” he said. “So, I just ate all the time, whether it was cold pizza or McDonald’s.”
By the time Schultz got married, he weighed more than 360 pounds. He said his quest to lose weight began on his wedding day.
“I felt like I didn’t give my wife the best groom she could have had,” he said. “Nobody wants to see the groom up there, overweight and sweaty.”
However, he said wanting to be around to see his son grow up was the biggest factor in wanting to lose the weight.
The fifth season of “The Biggest Loser” was a couples-themed show. Schultz said he told producers his wife weighed only 135 pounds and “there would be no way I could fatten her up in time” to be on the show.
Undaunted, he began calling his former Alabama teammates in an effort to find one who shared his weight issues. He found one in Trent Patterson.
“I called him up and said, ‘Trent, how much do you weight?’” Schultz said. “He said, ‘I weight 405.’ I started screaming and celebrating. He must have thought I had gone crazy.”
Once Schultz had a teammate, it was off to “The Ranch” in California where the show is taped. It was also the start of 15 weeks of grueling work for the two former football players.
Schultz wore a “Body Bug” that helped him keep up with how many calories he had burned in one day. He said it didn’t matter what time of day it was, if he had 1,000 calories left to burn, he would go exercise until he burned those calories.
By the show’s end, he had burned more calories than any other contestant in the show’s history, but lost to contestant Mark Kruger. Schultz said his weight loss record is likely to fall this season.
His appearance on the show has made him popular on the speaking circuit, taking him across the nation. He has also been actively involved as a coach in the “Scaleback Alabama” weight loss program. He called obesity an epidemic in Alabama that must be addressed.
He said there is much work that needs to be done in fighting obesity in Alabama and it needs to start with younger children.
“I think it’s important to get to the kids early and help them along,” he said. “Kids are going to imitate their parents in regard to what they eat and drink. Maybe if we teach the kids right, maybe the parents will imitate their kids.”
For more information on Scaleback Alabama, visit www.scalebackalabama.com.
By Adam Smith