Ogden duo participate in 'The Biggest Loser: Couples'

Mar 31 2011 - 11:10pm


(MITCHELL HAASETH/NBC) LeAnn and Vance Jackson (right), of Ogden, were announced as a secret team on NBC's "The Biggest Loser: Couples."
(MITCHELL HAASETH/NBC) LeAnn and Vance Jackson (right), of Ogden, were announced as a secret team on NBC's "The Biggest Loser: Couples."

LeAnn and Vance Jackson have been a living a secret life -- which was revealed in front of a national audience on Tuesday.

The mother and son from Ogden were announced as a secret team on NBC's "The Biggest Loser: Couples."

The Jacksons were picked as the 12th team during the show's casting search. That's not good -- the show invites only 11 teams to be on the Hummingbird Nest Ranch in Sun Valley, Calif., where the contestants train and are filmed.

But the Jacksons were given a chance to train at home and earn a spot on the show. NBC didn't divulge that the team was training until Tuesday's broadcast.

"I was disappointed, obviously, that we didn't make it to the ranch. But I was excited that we would still have this opportunity," said LeAnn Jackson, a teacher at Mount Ogden Junior High.

Together, they returned to Ogden and started their home programs by working out with a personal trainer.

"Before I even got set up in the gym, what I did was, I started walking," said LeAnn, who had a starting weight of 315 pounds. "I would go walking every morning before work."

Vance, who weighed in at 379 pounds, used high-intensity circuit training with weights. But, he acknowledged, weight loss did not come easily.

"Because I focused a little too much on the exercise, and I really wasn't too concerned about my diet -- not as much as I should have been," said Vance, 19, a graduate of Ogden High School.

The show invited the Jacksons for the weigh-in that aired Tuesday.

If they could beat the percentage of weight loss of the lowest-performing cast member -- which was 25 percent -- they would be added to the cast of the show.

LeAnn had lost 45 pounds and Vance had lost 30 pounds.

Both totals fell short of the goal, so they had to return home.

But they are still in the competition for the $100,000 that will be awarded to the eliminated contestant who loses the most weight by the season finale May 24.

An incident last winter inspired Vance's new focus on weight loss. He was sledding in the Ogden foothills when a friend was critically injured.

"I was up there, and I kept him safe and warm until the paramedics arrived," he said.

Paramedics and Life Flight personnel commended Vance on his emergency care.

That was the moment, Vance said, that he knew he wanted to be an emergency responder for Life Flight.

The problem was, he physically couldn't, because he would take up too much space in the helicopter. That's when he turned to "The Biggest Loser."

LeAnn said she agreed to try out for the competition with him in hopes of helping Vance accomplish his dreams.

But now, as she continues to train, she has found her own strengths.

"One of the biggest things that I have learned is that I have learned what I am capable of," she said. "I've learned that I do have willpower. I do have grit."

The shows are taped weeks in advance, which meant the Jacksons could not reveal that they were affiliated with the show until they were revealed this week on NBC.

Both said their training has gotten better since taping the show. Vance has lost more than 95 pounds and LeAnn has lost more than 79 pounds.

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