When Jerry Hayes, 63, stepped onto the Biggest Loser campus, he was the oldest contestant in its seven-season history. Losing only 1-pound in the second-week weigh-in, Jerry was in the bottom two with Dan, 19, the heaviest player this season. But eventually Jerry was voted out by his fellow players, who felt the younger competitor needed to stay. TVGuide.com caught up with the retired engineer who's lost 96 pounds ("My grandson now calls me less fluffy") and how other self proclaimed "couch potatas" can get up and start moving.
TVGuide.com: Joelle only lost 1 pound this week but was safe from elimination after Dan received a 1-pound penalty for coming in last in the challenge. What went through your head knowing that if Joelle was in the bottom two, she would've been voted out over you?
I was disappointed. I actually dreamed about me and Dan in this situation two days before it happened. I was dreading it, but Dan had to stay. But me and Joelle, we're starting to talk.
TVGuide.com: Bob had a big blow-up with Joelle that involved a lot of expletives. Did something behind the scenes lead up to this?
Sometimes she wouldn't do the work-out. When you're not in the gym there's home-work where we'd have to do our own program for 3 or 4 hours. They'd tell us what to do and we'd do it and she wouldn't always follow that. She was doing her own thing at times and it just led up to that. He got frustrated. I guess he never does, [so] it was unique situation. But what you saw, I couldn't believe it [and] I was there.
TVGuide.com: How did it feel to hear Ron be so adamant about keeping Dan?
I didn't have any problem with that. It was okay because me and Ron talked about it. We talked a lot because we're the older guys. I didn't want to go though. I have to tell you I did not want to go but the decision had to be made and was obvious it had to be me. But I still didn't want to go.
TVGuide.com: Do you have any advice for other grandparents discouraged about losing weight at this stage in their lives?
Well you need help. I have a trainer here but you have to start slow and get your mind on it. Just keep trying and trying, you'll get faster, you'll get stronger. You got to challenge yourself. You need support, whether it's your spouse, friend. At the health center we go to there's a community of older people that feed off each other. On my own, it'd take a little bit longer than it's happening but I could do it. You just got to believe. There are signs in the [Biggest Loser] gym. "Believe in Yourself," "Trust in the Process," and "Change Forever." [Trainer Bob Harper] said it and I keep quoting it myself whenever I'm doubting it. And it's working.
TVGuide.com: Do you have any diet tips or ways to curb cravings?
Exercise! I'm not kidding exercise curbs your cravings. The one thing you got to make sure is you have a snack with you when you're exercising and for when your energy level drops. An apple with string cheese, or something that gets your energy back up. The day off is the biggest challenge for me with food because I'm not exercising so it doesn't keep my appetite down.
TVGuide.com: How many days off do you give yourself?
One day. We give one day to Sunday.