Recently, I was on base giving a presentation and in the audience was a unique Army wife. Elizabeth Ruiz shared that she had been a finalist on NBC’s The Biggest Loser. She opened up about her journey and how she was now starting a career in the fitness industry based on her experience. Elizabeth is a ball of energy and so excited about the changes in her life. In this interview you’ll get to learn a little bit more about her story, her military wife life and some of her fitness tips. Below is Part 1 of an interview with Elizabeth:
Wendy: Did you ever think you’d be picked for The Biggest Loser? How has the experience changed your life?
Elizabeth: I never thought I would get picked to be a contestant. It was very last minute. I heard the commercial on the radio and my cousin was with me. He suggested if we left right at that moment we would make it before they locked the doors. Sure enough, we made it. I was the last person to walk in and they locked the door. That decision made on a whim changed every aspect of my life. I’m living happier and healthier. I found a new me! I fell in love and now I’m a proud Army wife with a personal mission to help others feel the way I feel no matter where I go. Talking about health and fitness and helping others live healthier lives is a passion of mine. Words can’t express completely the joy I have in my life today.
Wendy: For those readers not familiar with The Biggest Loser Ranch, tell us what an average day is like while on the show?
Elizabeth: Everyday is an early day and a late night on the ranch. There is no such thing as sleeping in. We work out all day with the occasional break to film an interview, challenge or weigh in. We don’t have chefs that cook our meals so preparing healthy meals is new to everyone on the ranch. We have no TV, phones or Internet. No contact with the outside world. We can write letters and after the first couple of weeks we can start receiving mail. There are always cameras around, but after a while you don’t even notice they are there.
Wendy: We see the huge transformations on The Biggest Loser and I’m wondering what most surprised you about the experience?
Elizabeth: The biggest surprise to me was the mental transformations. There are so many emotional and mental unresolved issues that I didn’t even know I had. Having those realizations and reliving them so I can heal from all my past hurts and traumas were the defining moments for me and where I learned my biggest lessons. I learned to cultivate better coping skills so that I could be more resilient when things get hard and ugly.
Wendy: What are your top 3 tips for making a change and getting fit?
Elizabeth: 1) Nutrition is key. I tell everyone that food journaling is the number one tool for getting fit. If you use an app even better! You learn so much about exactly what you are putting in your body. Even the fittest people are surprised about their journals. 2) Get moving! Find things you like to do. I see so many people go to the gym every day and walk on a treadmill for an hour. Get your heart rate up and sweat! 3) Don’t drink your calories! I don’t know about you but I’d rather eat my calories. Water should be your best friend.
Wendy: Experiencing a deployment on the homefront is stressful. How can exercise help?
Elizabeth: Exercise releases Endorphins, the happy hormone, and helps counteract stress and depression. Have you heard of “Runners’ High”? It’s real! There’s nothing like the feeling you get after a good workout or run. On the plus side, when your spouse returns from deployment, they come home to a fitter, happier spouse.
Have a question you’d like to ask Elizabeth? Leave me a comment and we’ll be sure to answer it in Part 2 of this interview!
Podcast featuring an interview with Elizabeth Ruiz on Military Life Radio
Disclaimer: Before starting or changing your exercise routine, consult with your physician. The advice given here is strictly the authors and not by a licensed physician.