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“Biggest Loser” duo talk about body image

| Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Saint Mary’s College welcomed a mother-daughter pair of contestants from season 11 of “The Biggest Loser”  to discuss their weight loss journey on the show and beyond.

Marci and Courtney Cozier from Gary, Indiana, came to Carroll Auditorium for the Tuesday night presentation, which was part of Love Your Body Week.

Marci Cozier initially weighed 238 pounds and lost 86 pounds for a final weight of 152. She is the first contestant ever on “The Biggest Loser” to reach her goal weight while on the Ranch. Marci Cozier’s daughter Courtney initially weighed 323 pounds and lost 110 pounds for a final weight of 213 pounds.

Marci Cozier said her daughter was the sole inspiration for her to be on the reality television show — she initially told the show’s producers that she hated the show because she thought it exploits fat people.

Marci Cozier said she quit her job of 32 years at a health and fitness center to be on the show for her daughter. Courtney Cozier had been battling weight loss for years before being accepted onto the show and even dropped out of school twice in order to be considered for acceptance.

“At one point Courtney was over 400 pounds,” Marci Cozier said. “I did it for her.”

With Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper as their personal trainers, they were able to begin their journey. Marci Cozier said she could not have done it without her daughter to push her and inspire her whole way.

Marci Cozier said she focused on what she thought was best for her daughter. She and the other mothers there made an agreement to drink as much water as they could before their next weigh-in so that they would not reach the goal and therefore be sent home. Michaels heard of what they were doing and pulled Marci aside asking why she was hindering herself from reaching her goal, she said.

“It’s God first, and then family and everything else. I’m not in that equation,” Marci Cozier said.

Marci Cozier said after talking to Michaels, she reflected on their conversation through prayer.

“That’s when I realized that God lives right inside of me, and if God’s first, that means I’m first,” Marci Cozier said. “You can’t take care of others unless you take care of yourself first.”

“I learned to love the show because I realized what the show was about: mind, body, spirit.”

Courtney Cozier agreed and said “The Biggest Loser” was not just about losing weight. She said the show gave people hope.

“That is something the TV show doesn’t show America,” Courtney Cozier said. “It takes a while to change your body, but it takes a split second to change your mind,”

Marci and Courtney Cozier said they learned that lasting weight loss is reliant on a strong foundation.

”I know that when I go home, I have a plan, and if I deviate, I know I can go right back to it,” Marci Cozier said.

Courtney Cozier said being healthy is not just about the long-term goal, but about the daily or weekly goals.

“You have to celebrate the small victories too,” she said

They both emphasized the importance of creating a balance between everything in their lives.

“I’m healthier and happier on the inside because I found a balance,” Marci Cozier said. “We have to have peace in our mind before we can have peace in our body.”

Sophomore Ellen Raymond said she was most inspired by the Coziers’ faith during their journey.

“I liked how they talked about spirituality and the fact that it’s okay to have different opinions on loving your body,” Raymond said. ““I plan to not being so consumed with outside influences and working out and doing good things for myself and my body alone.”

Senior Lauren Osmanski said she found their view on inner beauty most inspiring.

“It wasn’t about the weight loss; it was about changing her mental state and being more secure about her inner beauty,” Osmanski said.

Freshman Liana O’Grady said she planned to take what the mother-daughter team had said and apply it to her everyday life.

“I plan to look at things as steps rather than the big picture at first — I want to be proud of my accomplishments in the moment,” O’Grady said.

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