Second Place Winner, NBC’s Biggest Loser, Season Two (2005) - 2009 Season finale is May 12
Founder, Body Evolution, a weight loss system designed to get and keep weight off
Matt and Suzy Hoover: The Happiest 'Losers'
By Mimi Elliott
The 700 Club
WINNING AND LOSING
Matt was a wrestler in high school in the 171/189 pound class. Wrestling became his passion and helped Matt to stay slim in the years that followed. He eventually won two state championships, earned all-American status three times and represented the U.S. in the Junior World Championships.
As he headed off to the University of Iowa in 1994, Matt had high hopes for a successful collegiate wrestling career. Instead, Matt was unable to achieve any of his important wrestling goals due to injuries. He was disappointed in himself and in his performance. After his wrestling career ended, Matt personally struggled with his failures.
“I had come to identify myself as an athlete,” Matt said.
He totally lost the motivation to stay fit. Ten years later, Matt weighed 340 pounds. Matt compensated for his excess weight by being the life of every party.
“I used my sense of humor to cover up the way I was really feeling,” he said. “I didn’t really consider myself a fat guy or a real loser.”
Matt was depressed deep down, stayed in bed for days at a time and grew his hair long to make his face look thinner.
“I didn’t tuck in my shirt because I thought it would hide that my belly was hanging over my pants,” he said.
One night, he was on the couch watching The Biggest Loser Season One and eating a bag of chips. He saw the contestants crying about how hard it was for them because of the exercises on the show.
“I thought, ‘I wrestled at the University of Iowa. I carried people on my back up the stairs. Nothing is harder than that,’” he said.
The next day Matt went to the casting call for Season Two, which was being held an hour from his house. In February 2005, Matt was cast to be on the show.
Suzy, raised in a Christian home, was heavy all of her life but wasn’t really sad about it.
“I tried all the diets,” said Suzy, who is a hairdresser.
One day while she was in a client’s home, Suzy saw the commercial for The Biggest Loser Season Two. Her client persuaded her to send in an audition tape. So she decided to send a funny video on the deadline day.
“I totally forgot about it after that,” she said. Two months later, Suzy got a call from producers.
Suzy, then 28, says when she first met Matt on the show that they didn’t like each other. The first time they met, all the contestants were crammed into a 15-passenger van in nearly 100 degree heat. Matt remembers the look of disbelief on Suzy’s face, but neither of them said a word. As the show progressed, Matt disliked Suzy.
“I couldn’t stand him either,” Suzy said.
Matt said Suzy was too giggly and looked like she enjoyed being herself. As the pounds came off, Suzy says Matt’s defenses came down.
“I learned a couple of weeks into the show that her joy came from being a committed Christian,” Matt said. He was backslidden at the time.
On one episode, the contestants were getting makeovers. Everyone but Matt got new haircuts. A few days later, Suzy went into Matt’s room with scissors to cut his hair. Matt felt like a new person.
“This annoying woman who squealed when she laughed allowed me to become a new person right in front of her,” Matt said.
Two weeks before the show ended, Suzy and Matt went to the mall to get new clothes and started talking. Right before they left, both of them asked each other, “Do you like me?”(Suzy had never kissed a boy nor ever had a boyfriend.)
Matt won the grand prize of $250,000 and Suzy won second place. Matt lost 157 pounds; Suzy lost 95. Together they lost 252 pounds. For five months, they were not allowed to contact each other. On the finale/reunion show, they saw each other and decided to date long-distance (Suzy lived in Seattle and Matt lived in Iowa). They dated and got married in September 2006. They have two children, Rex (22 mts.) and Jax (7 mts.).
Since the show, Matt and Suzy continue to maintain their weight losses by eating right (six small meals each day) and exercising. They developed a system called Body Evolution which is how to lose weight and keep it off.
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