I had to work late at the office last night, which for me meant no Biggest Loser :(, so when I needed a mental break from all the fun I was having working (yes, that is sarcasm you hear), I decided to check out the BL website just to get a little fix and that’s when I saw Bob Harper gracing the cover page of VegNews. Doesn’t he look fabulous? VegNews chose Bob as their Person of the Year because of his compassionate passion for animals, people, and helping others live happy, healthy lives. So in lieu of a Biggest Loser recap (I was really looking forward to that Live Reveal, but I will catch you up later this week), here are some excerpts from the VegNews article and interview with Harper.
The 45-year-old motivator made waves this year by formally announcing that he’s a loud and proud vegan. Through the launch of his branded website, posting videos encouraging veg eating, and working with groups such as Farm Sanctuary and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Harper’s making America a healthier, happier, more compassionate place.
VN: Are animal rights becoming more important to you?
BH: Yes, it’s really starting to creep into my life. I was talking to Ellen DeGeneres of all people about this, and she told me that I needed to watch this documentary called Earthlings. It was one of those things where I didn’t have the strength to watch it. I started watching the first 15 minutes and I was like, I can’t do that. I know what’s going on, I know how the kill floor works, I just can’t see it – I can’t have those visuals in my head.
VN: How did the training community react to you going vegan?
BH: Of course those die-hard fitness guys are like, “You gotta eat steak, you need to eat your chicken breast every day or your body’s going to just waste away.” My body did go through a period that was really interesting because I evaluate people for a living and all of a sudden it became self-evaluation. When I first went vegan I did lose a lot of weight. I got really thin, but then my body just needed to go through a transition period – it was reconstructing. I’m a big believer in trying to be as age-defying as possible and how you live your life will help or hinder that. And I really believe that living more on a plant-based diet is turning back the clock on me, or I like to say that it is.
VN: Judging from the success of shows like The Biggest Loser, people now want purpose and focus in their lives. Why do you think that is?
BH: I believe there is a storm of change out there, and I want to be on the forefront of that. People now are realizing that how we live affects our children, and our children are now dealing with Type 2 diabetes and obesity. We can no longer just close our eyes and wish that it’ll go away. We all have to do something about it. That’s why I love magazines like VegNews. It’s out there preaching in a way that’s more respectful.
VN: One of the main things that you stress is recognizing small accomplishments. How has that been effective?
BH: It’s hugely successful. I truly believe that it’s about finding that inner strength. Any change is difficult. You can overcome an old behavior, and what better cause for celebration? It really just feeds the self-esteem; it feeds that inner resolve. I also believe too, and I tell this to people all the time, that life is a process. Life is how a surfer thinks of the waves, there are ebbs and flows. So if you mess up, you know what? Today’s a new day. And I really think that it gives people not necessarily freedom, but it gives them forgiveness. Because I’ve worked with people now for so long who are so quick to condemn themselves. “Oh look what I’ve done; I’ve already made these bad choices so eff it, I’m going to go back to eating whatever I want.” You know what? You made a mistake; you messed up. It’s over.
Before signing off I forgot to tell you that Jimmy and I are going to make some vegetarian “Thanks-Living” dishes this week and post the recipes (the ones we love) next week. It will be a reveal of a different kind!