Cicero natives are already winning big before the result are in for the grand finale for the 17th season of “The Biggest Loser”.
Twin brothers Roberto and Luis Hernandez have always been on the heavy side. Being active growing up by playing sports to even playing college level football the Hernandez brothers have been struggling with being overweight since birth. When the brothers were first announced on “The Biggest Loser” a large amount of local support shared their thoughts and well wishes for the twin’s during their weight loss.
The Hernandez brothers not only gained support from past students, Cicero/Chicago residents, but also gained support from Hispanic and Latino communities. Support that “The Biggest Loser” hasn’t gained before.
We were able to speak with the twin brothers before “The Biggest Losers” season 17 season finale where both brothers were completing for the top prize.
Collegian: You received a great amount of support from the community. Did that surprise you? How was the overwhelming amount of support?
RH: As soon as I was announced I got overwhelming amazing support. My community has been great I grew up in Cicero I went to high school Morton (East), Goodwin Elementary, and I work at District 201. I got people who I haven’t heard from since high school or grammar school. People I didn’t even know that message me through Facebook that were just happy to see someone from Cicero and someone from the Mexican American culture representing them on the Biggest Loser.
LH: It’s been awesome! We can’t walk around the town with people stopping us and congratulating us and being excited for us.
Collegian: Intentionally or not you got tons of support from the Hispanic commity. How was it representing a culture on a show like The Biggest Loser?
RH: Every time I wanted to quit the show I remembered the people that are watching the show especially the Hispanic community and my surrounding community. I knew they were watching and I knew if I gave up I would disappoint them. I knew every time that I didn’t want to run on the treadmill, or run up the mountain behind the ranch, or eat the healthy food I thought of obviously my family but also the people that were watching from my community. That motivated me to kept me going.
RH: Having to change the environment I grew up in. Growing up your mom would make tortillas de pozole, chicken soup, tacos, sopes all in a span of a week. Then the weekend wil be filled with parties growing up in a Hispanic family as kids we were used to that. We’re used to eating that almost every day. For someone to say you can’t eat that it’s like “Wait a minute, that’s what I grew up eating?” Sadly, that’s how I got to the point of weighting 348 pounds, obviously there had to be some type of change. I’m not saying you’re never going to have tacos again what I am saying is that you have to moderation.
LH: I am very proud to be Latino. We show our colors and we always represent who we are. Latinos have a very proud and cultural way of life. It’s hard also to show a little weakness. The situation that we were in is what majority of Latinos are facing. We tend to let the health part get away from us making it second nature saying, “Yeah well get to eating and being healthy for later.” At the same time as Latinos especially since we’re from Chicago, as soon as it’s hits 40 degrees outside cooking! That’s how we are, we love to party that’s how we celebrate. That’s how we celebrate at Quinceanera, webbings, we even celebrating with food when somebody passes away! Food has always been a big part of our community and it will be but like what Roberto said we have to find a way to enjoy our life in moderation.
LH:That’s what I want to show the community that this gordito can do, you can do it too. It’s not hard. I’m 36, I’ve lived 35 years of my life obscene! It was time to change it’s important that my community, my rasa looks to my brother and I as the poster boys and glue on to us and definitely use us an example for motivation.
Weight loss is a very hard battle that many struggle with. How is it having your brother by your side on this journey?
R: Were twin brothers and we’ve been each other’s backbone our whole lives. From being picked on as the two little gorditos on the playground fighting back and standing up for ourselves from running those miles and climbing those hills at the ranch we’ve had each other’s back.
RH: It was an amazing trip God works in mysterious way. I think I was getting too comfortable with him there so when Luis left I was faced with a new challenge where I had to prove to myself to continue the things I was already doing at the ranch but by myself.
RH: I missed him a lot he was my biggest supporter there so when he left it became super hard. Using that same motivation, I worked really hard to get where I’m at today. That said if it wasn’t for Luis going home I honestly believed that he’s one of the top contenders for the “At Home” prize so we can sweep this on Monday.
LH: Since birth we’ve always been together. We went to the same grammar school, high school, college, grad school, we even work at the same place. It’s been an awesome ride to have my brother as my companion our bond will never be disconnected.
LH: He is my backbone, he has motivated me to continue go on through the process after I got eliminated. I know for a fact that if I would have given up he would have been disappointed in me and vise versa. I’m very glad he made it to the Top 3. Hopefully at the finale were both raising our hands in victory. God willing to come back as winners to our home town and not only represent the Hernandez family but those in Cicero, Chicago, and nationwide Hispanics.
Since the start from the show your weight has changed for the better. What else from the start of the show has changed?
RH: If you’re not proud of what you do then don’t do. I’m excited and very thrilled to continue my life as soon as the show ends. It’s going to be a struggle I know it’s going to be a struggle. My main goal is to keep this weight off currently on the show I’ve lost 114 pounds, I want to keep that weight off and to make sure I keep this wealth lifestyle for the rest of my life it’s important for me because I’ve got 3 little ones looking up at home along with my wife that are looking for me to be the leader of the family that I need to be.
RH: This is also not just for my family. I would be an embarrassment if I walk down the street and someone asked “What happened? How did you gain all that weight back?” That’s not going to happened. I promised that to myself and my family.
LH: It’s still a little hard not even about 5 months ago I was 308 pounds and now I’m basically a whole new body. When I wake up in the morning I wake up in amazement. I’ve never been this skinny before it feels awesome. At the same time, I got to make sure I put the effort to stay at this way for the rest of my life. It’s not going to be easy. It’s scary, I mean once that door is shut on The Biggest Loser what’s next in my life? I’ll be by myself I’m not going to have the coaches or nutritionist.
LH: But we’ve made promises to ourselves and to our family that were not going to gain that weight back because even after all that we’ve done for the past 6 months it would go down the drain.
RH: Yeah we don’t even recognize ourselves sometimes. That’s absolutely no lie sometime I wake up and I think I’ll see the 348 person and when I see me now I think “This is amazing.”.
Collegian: Both of you guys are up for big prizes. Luis you’re in the running for the at home prize while Roberto is in the grand finale for the $250,000. What’s your game plan for the finale? What do you want to get done on Monday?
LH: I’m working my butt off. There are times when you stop and think about how $100,000 dollars can change your life. But you have to work hard for it. I’m doing that working my butt off and will continue to do so. On Monday there’s going to be a whole new person you’ll see on t.v. There’s going to be a new Luis up there that you guys will be seeing. Cicero get ready here comes the Hernandez boys.
RH: The $250,000 is a life changer. Of course I want to win that but from day one we’ve been about the weight loss, the transformation, about us being around for our families. It’s also us motiving other people.
RH: Motiving people comes from the heart. You’d be surprised if I told you the amount of people that have reached out to me just to say “Thank you”. People that I don’t know from all the way from Japan to Australia it’s amazing how many people were moved. Maybe this is peaking a new interest in me becoming a motivational speaker but we’ll see first and foremost I would love to win that money but I’m already a winner.
Roberto was named ‘The Biggest Loser’ at NBC’s live finale last night, winning $250,000. He started season 17 at 348 pounds and ended weighing 188, shedding 160 pounds and 45.98% of his body weight.
Luis Hernandez, took the $100,000 ‘at home’ prize among eliminated contestants. Luis began the show weighing 308, and lost 139 pounds and 45.13% of his body weight. He weighed in at finale at 169 pounds.