Bill Germanakos: 'The Biggest Loser 4' victory feels "pretty amazing"
By Christopher Rocchio, 12/26/2007
Bill Germanakos went from a self-described "couch potato" to The Biggest Loser'sfourth-season champ -- starting the competition at 334 pounds before shedding 164, nearly half of his original weight.
"It's pretty amazing. We were so happy to have this opportunity to go out and do something so drastic about our health," said the 40-year-old Long Island, NY-resident during a Friday appearance on the syndicated The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Germanakos used the pronoun "we" because his identical twin brother Jim won the weigh-in of the seasons's 14 other previously eliminated contestants after he started the competition at 361 pounds and dropped 186 -- slightly more than half of his original weight and a percentage that was actually higher than his brother's.
"The fact that I was able to do it with [Jim] -- he did the same thing -- it's just fantastic," Germanakos said.
Growing-up, Germanakos said he was a "little bit thick, a little bit heavy" but was quick to add that since he was an athlete, it was never an issue.
"I played college lacrosse," he explained. "I blew-out my knee on the Astroturf early, and from the first knee surgery on -- every single multiple surgery, reconstruction and everything -- I was the guy with the bad knees that became inactive and unhealthy."
Eventually, Germanakos said his physical condition had an affect on his mental state, making him feel "kind of depressed."
"Sometimes it hurts more just to try and think about getting to the gym than it does once you're at the gym," he said. "I became a couch potato like so many of us. I really needed a spark, something different."
That spark, according to Germanakos, came with his fortieth birthday.
"I turned 40 and went to the doctor and found-out my borderline blood pressure had now gone out of control and my cholesterol was insanely high," he told DeGeneres. "I lost my dad at 57-years-old, and he would always struggle with obesity. To leave a family mourning for him, it was something I didn't really want to do. We lost a friend with a house full of kids, and he was in his forties. The thought of that -- leaving my children without a dad... It's hard enough to be away for a few months on the show, but the thought of being away forever really sparked it."
During his time on The Biggest Loser campus, Germanakos sported a shirt with the message, "To become half the man so that I can be twice the man."
"There's so much impeding me being a better dad, a better husband," said Germanakos, explaining the shirt's phrase. "Now that I've had the opportunity to accomplish the first half of it, for the rest of my life I can try to accomplish the second half of it -- to be twice the dad, twice the husband, twice the person."
Since he's returned home, Germanakos said he's also been able to kick the habit of getting the "late-night munchies" and snacking on everything from whole containers of ice cream to full boxes of cereal.
"It's horrible. The next morning you wake-up realizing, 'God that felt terrible!' The only way you make yourself feel better again is to start eating again. They described it to us as medicating with food, and that's what made us feel good," he said. "Now I can go ahead and self-medicate with blueberries and grapes and fruit and antioxidants are always good for you. It's just a different way of eating... It's really been successful."
For being crowned The Biggest Loser 4 champ based on his total percentage weight-loss since his initial The Biggest Loser weigh-in -- a 49.10% weight-loss percentage -- Germanakos claimed the show's $250,000 grand prize. He told DeGeneres he already has plans for the money.