John Rhode is looking so good in his attempt to be The Biggest Loser that TV Guide magazine is featuring him in its Nov. 29 issue.
The 6-foot-5 football coach looked much different dressed in a suit and tie and sporting a trim full beard than the oversized jersey and shorts he's been wearing at the ranch for 10 weeks since the NBC reality show began.
Rhode, 41, is a graduate of Kennewick High School, and is now a teacher and football coach at Desert Ridge High School in Mesa, Ariz. His mother, Hazel Rhode, still lives in Kennewick.
When the Herald checked in with Rhode this week for a progress report, he talked about the latest elimination on the show, how his staying power maintains its focus and the most important lesson he has learned about food.
"I take one moment at a time and I stay focused," Rhode said. "I've maintained consistency each week in my progress, which is why I'm the only one left who's never been up for elimination. No one else on the show can say that."
No one else in the show has lost as much weight as Rhode, either. He started at 445 pounds and he's down to 305. But no matter the progress he has made, Rhode still has to pinch himself.
"I'm still stunned I made this show," he said. "This whole process has been a psychological, as well as physical, journey for me. I've grown so much emotionally and learned to renegotiate my association with food."
He said he learned to think of food as fuel, not comfort.
And though its been a grueling 10 weeks of being pushed to the limit physically and mentally, Rhode said he is looking forward to next week.
"It's spa week," he said enthusiastically. "We get the whole makeover, hair, clothes, the whole ball of wax."
The week after that he'll be rounding the home stretch to the marathon episode, which precedes the show's Dec. 10 finale.
"No matter what happens on the show, I'm thrilled with who I am today," Rhode said. "I don't feel the need to suppress my emotions anymore and that is what will help me keep the weight off. I've done everything I need to help myself become healthy, and because of the time I've spent on The Biggest Loser I've become a better husband, father, coach and friend."