John Rhode is finding out exactly what he is made of as he moves closer to becoming the biggest loser on national TV.
The Kennewick native is a contestant on the reality series The Biggest Loser, which airs at 8 p.m. Tuesdays on NBC.
After this week's episode, Rhode was the last member of his three-man red team to stay in the game.
"I feel so blessed to have made it this far," Rhode said in a telephone interview this week.
He entered The Biggest Loser season weighing 445 pounds. He is down to 310 and maintains his lead in weight loss among all his opponents. Several weeks remain before the show's Dec. 13 finale, he said.
"I used to be in good shape when I was an athlete in high school, but after living a sedentary life for many years, I ask myself if I still have what it takes," Rhode said. "I believe I do, and this whole process is helping me find out what I'm made of."
A challenging week is ahead, however, as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches and all that scrumptious food will be tempting his palate.
"I've always loved the browned skin on the turkey, and I remember my brother and I used to fight over it when we were kids," Rhode said. "But I can't eat that anymore. I'll eat turkey though."
Rhode, 41, is a graduate of Kennewick High School. He now is a teacher and football coach at Desert Ridge High School in Mesa, Ariz.
His mother, Hazel Rhode, lives in Kennewick and hasn't missed an episode of her son's weight-loss quest.
"It was a tense episode this week, but a relief to find out he will be there for another week," she said. "I'm sure he will have the skills to convert old recipes to healthy meals. He's a good cook, so it's reasonable to believe he will do quite well in the kitchen."
He remains confident he'll make it to the final four, which will be determined in the Nov. 29 episode. From there, it's on to the final weigh-in and the $250,000 grand prize for being the biggest loser.