'The Biggest Loser's Kristi McCart on Vulnerabilities, Pushing Herself, and Taking Control of Her Fitness Journey
- Kristi McCart is a wife and mom from Florida who joined The Biggest Loser at 264 pounds.
- Wanting to become healthier for herself and her family, and in hopes to have another child, Kristi came onto the USA show and joined the red team with trainer Erica Lugo.
- Kristi was eliminated in the eighth week, and has successfully continued her fitness journey at home.
While The Biggest Loser wasn't something Kristi McCart ever envisioned was in her future, the Florida resident was ready to make a change in her life, and didn't give herself the chance to think twice about it. Leaving her husband and baby at home, the attorney took a risk, joined the new and improved reboot of the competition series, and didn't look back. Although she was eliminated in week eight, Kristi learned valuable lessons about physical and mental health that she couldn't have gotten without the experience, and is continuing her fitness journey back at home like a pro. She even ran a 10k with her husband afterwards!
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Kristi spoke with Floor8 exclusively about joining the show, the vulnerabilities she had to expose in doing so, and how the experience has changed her mindset completely.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Floor8: Having an unhealthy relationship with food from what sounds like an early age, did you ever think growing up or even in adulthood that you would participate in something like The Biggest Loser?
Kristi: I never thought The Biggest Loser was going to be in my future. I never thought that going on a reality show to expose my deepest, darkest vulnerabilities was something I would ever voluntarily sign up for, but in hindsight it was the best decision I ever made in my life, and it has truly catapulted my life in a new direction.
Floor8: How did you find out about the opportunity and did having your husband and son at home make you ever second-guess joining the show?
Kristi: I found out about the show by a social media posting by casting director. I saw it and thought, maybe this is a sign, and I’m not big on all of that, but I thought maybe this is something I should look into. So I talked to my husband and I said, “Hey listen, if I do this, what do you think?” And he said “Do it.” And I said, “This means you’re going to have to be essentially a single dad for potentially months, are you okay with that?” And he said “I’m on board.” So I made a video—he helped me with the video—I submitted it, and 14 hours later I had a call from a casting director. It kind of set the ball in motion, and six weeks later I was in New Mexico for the final casting stage. It just happened so naturally and organically that I didn’t really have the opportunity to step back and go, “Woah, woah, woah, is this something I really want to do?” I kind of just said, “Let’s do it, let’s see where this takes us.’’ It was difficult having to lean into my husband and trust that everything was going to be okay while I was gone. Before the show I was very much a type A personality, and felt like I had to control everything, and so to have to trust and ask for help was really difficult and was just something I had to figure it out.
Floor8: During the circuit challenge in your final episode, you mentioned having the mantra in your head of reminding yourself that you’re doing this for [husband] Tom and [son] Cole, which was super inspirational especially after you had just video chatted with them. Is that something you reminded yourself of frequently during the show?
Kristi: It was something I started in my head day one, week one. It started the first workout when we were walking on the treadmills warming up—Erica had us jogging for 30 seconds because that was all we could do. I would say to myself, “For Tom, for Cole, for myself, for my team.” And I kept repeating those four things over and over, and when we went to individual [challenges], it went to, “For Tom, for Cole, for myself.” And when things got difficult and challenging, that played in my head over and over, because at the end of the day you have to be self-motivated and that was it. Myself included, I was worth it.
Floor8: Erica said in this same episode that she was really impressed with how much everyone had progressed in just those short weeks. What impressed you the most with yourself throughout this journey?
Kristi: I think what I was most impressed with physically was that in week one we were completing one mile, and I think I completed it in 18 or 19 minutes, and by the time I left I was able to run a 12-minute mile. That is something I never thought I was able to do. I’m kind of like the Rebel Wilson from Pitch Perfect where I’m like, don’t sign me up for cardio, that's not my thing. I’ll do horizontal cardio. [Laughs]. I was running four or five miles at a time before I left. So that was a really proud moment I had, and I don’t think it was shown on camera, but that’s a moment I will carry with me.
Floor8: How did you feel going into that final weigh-in? You nearly won the circuit competition in that episode—did you anticipate you would be going home?
Kristi: We were into week eight and there was nothing but strong competitors left. I was hopeful I was going to stay, I knew I left everything on the table and there was nothing more I could've done so I wanted to stay, but I also knew that every single one of us could’ve been gone and I wasn’t exempt from that. I really thought it was going to come down to me and Teri [Aguiar], because Teri had a broken ankle. If anybody was going to have a bad week it was going to be Teri, because she had just had two great weeks after her injury. It stung a little bit to know if I had won that challenge I would’ve been staying and Micah [Collum] would’ve been going. That stung, but I’m still grateful I had the eight weeks that I did.
Floor8: You and Erica clearly got super close during your time on the show, and you even said after you were eliminated that she “changed [your] life.” Why do you think you were able to bond so well with her, and what sets her apart as a trainer?
Kristi: I think the reason we bonded so closely so quickly was because we’re very similar people in the sense that we put something in our mind and we go for it. There’s nothing holding us back, and the only thing that could get in the way is ourselves. If we can move ourselves out of the picture, we can achieve anything. I don’t know if people noticed, but there’s only a 10-month difference between us, so we have gone through similar things. She’s been married before, she has a son, and we had many similarities. But I think what allowed myself and the rest of the red team to bond with her is that she’s walked the walk and she’s talked the talk. She carries the stretch marks on her body everyday as a reminder of where she’s been and how far she’s come. And she is a walking definition of perseverance and consistency that you can’t help but respect and find motivation in everyday. If you want to give up and not push hard, you can look her in the eyes and think, if I keep pushing forward I too can be where Erica is, or I can also be where I want to be. She wears her heart on her sleeve, opens up emotionally, and tries to connect with you so much so that you can't help but fall in love with her. She can’t get rid of me!
Floor8: When we saw your “Where Are They Now?” segment, you were down to 198 pounds and just looked fantastic. Apart from looking slimmer, you looked so happy. How would you say this experience has affected your outlook on life and your mental health?
Kristi: I think this experience affected my mental health in more ways than one. For one, I’m starting to feel comfortable in my own skin, and I don’t know if I ever could fully say that as an adult. Even as a teenager, I don’t think I ever felt comfortable in my skin. Of course, I’m human, so there’s days where I don’t feel comfortable, but the fact that there’s a glimmer of hope that I’m in control of my body is the biggest change for me. Before I came on the show, I felt the need to control everything and everybody in my life because I wasn’t in control of myself. So now that I’ve been on the show, I have found inner peace. If I can control my workouts and what I'm eating, I don't need to control everything else around me. I don't have to be in control of everything to feel in control. It’s having that confidence of being like, no matter what’s going on around me, if everyone’s in quarantine and it feels like the world is going to s**t, as long as I focus on my food and my movement, nothing else can derail me. I have the mindset of, can I do this, should I do this? I always say yes, and I figure it out later. It’s a really good feeling.
Floor8: I can’t believe you ran a 10k after you left The Biggest Loser! Congratulations. Can you describe the feeling of finishing the race? I’m sure it was extremely emotional.
Kristi: It was one of those things I would've never thought of doing before The Biggest Loser. I had done a 1k before and I was pretty proud of that. [Laughs]. I think it’s those little monumental moments that keep you motivated and going. I've been talking with Teri, and we’re talking about doing a triathlon next year in Tampa. 2019 Kristie would've been like, “Uh, screw you,” and double fingers to the world, but 2020 Kristie is like, “Uh, why can’t I? Let’s do it and let’s figure it out.”
It was really interesting—my husband ran it with me and he just had surgery like three weeks or a month before. I made him run ahead, because I was like, I need you to capture this moment of me finishing, because I needed to capture this monumental moment. And I remember seeing the finish line, and I literally had tears in my eyes because I’m like, this is one of the moments where you've never been prouder of yourself. There’s nothing like telling yourself you can't, and showing yourself you can. I’m getting teary-eyed just thinking about it now. It’s something so simple as running, just putting one foot in front of the other, but you’re doing something you never thought you could’ve. It becomes an addiction, of thinking what else there is that I’ve said I can’t do that I can.
Floor8: Right now, of course, everyone is social distancing and gyms are closed because of Coronavirus. What have you been doing to keep up a fitness routine, and what advice would you give people who are feeling maybe sad and unmotivated to work out at this time?
Kristi: I have not been able to go to the gym but luckily for me and the red team, we won the week four challenge so we got Planet Fitness ellipticals delivered to our houses. So I have an elliptical in my garage as well as a treadmill and some free weights. Besides that, there are so many outlets on social media where trainers are training from home. Erica and Steve [Cook] are actually putting together online workouts, and I'm following along with those. Planet Fitness has some you can do, too, and so it's just finding a movement. You’ve got to start your day with the intention that, I’m going to move for, say, 30 minutes. There was a guy I saw on the news who ran a “marathon” in [about] seven hours on his balcony, so there is no excuse. This is where creativity and spontaneity come into place when you have nothing to distract you. Find something. It could even be putting dish rags on the floor and using them as sliders to do workouts on, or using cans from the grocery store as free weights. It’s all about finding that creative way to give yourself a moment to yourself to move.