Jay Jacobs: Biggest Loser in Baristaville

Last summer Jay Jacobs was what he liked to refer to as “Functionally fat.”

At 400lbs he felt he could get around and enjoy his life, while still living in the body he had. Little did he know how sick he really was. It was not until his daughter Jennifer Jacobs confronted him with the issue and urged him to accompany her on an audition for The Biggest Loser, that he realized he might really want to change.

After a competitive audition process, Jay and Jennifer learned they had made it onto the show — quite a feat since The Biggest Loser interviews 250,000 people each season. They started training on the ranch on September 29, after arriving on September 16. Before the training began, each contestant had to go through a series of medical tests, it was then that Jay learned he had a serious heart condition. He was almost disqualified from participating, due to his weak heart, however the team of specialists thought it was better for him to stay on the ranch and lose the weight than to go home.

From September 16 to May 24, Jay was in the hands of The Biggest Loser team. “When you get on the show, it’s kind of like getting on an airplane ride — once they close the door you’re not going to get off that ride until the very end.”

In eight months, Jay managed to lose 18l lbs, bringing his weight from 400 lbs to 219 lbs. During his time on the ranch Jay started a trend when he was down to 375lbs and his goal was to go under 350lbs. He would write his various goal weights on his arm with a sharpie to remind him what he was striving for while working out, the first number was 349, which was featured in one of the earlier episodes.This lead him to eventually get a tattoo with the quote “What you’re for strengthens you.”

From the beginning, Jay and his daughter Jennifer were a strong team. Often, other competitors attempted to sabotage them. They were shifted around between the black team and the green team, but Jay managed to make it to the final four. He was literally, the last man standing — although he was not the winner, he was the last male left in the competition.

Jay didn’t expect to be pushed as hard as he was, especially by the 5’2” trainer Jillian Michaels. “I survived 90 minutes with her sprinting!” Most surprisingly, Jay told me that unlike other reality shows, all the blood, sweat and tears were real.

After losing 181lbs Jay says he’s living his life more fully and staying active. He was running on the boardwalk when the owner of a Big and Tall store that he used to frequent ran in to him and said “I’m so glad to lose you as a customer!”

Jay says his entire family has gotten healthy, even his son and wife who were not on the show. Now Jay is back in West Orange, and planning to work with his daughter as a health ambassador in the area. Despite not winning, Jay says the outcome of the experience was a win, “I didn’t win the show, but I lost the most amount of pounds on the show.” And despite it all Jay still remains a foodie, he eats what he wants but these days he’s eating in moderation. He’s still the same hard working and fun guy he was before the show but he’s got more to live for.

Jay is Managing Partner At Shurn Group, a woman-owned strategic branding firm. He is the lead Brand Strategist, a writer and a marketer. Jay blogs on his facebook page almost religiously so his fans can follow what he’s up to these days. To learn more about Jay Jacobs click here

Click here to sign up for Baristanet's free daily emails and news alerts.


  1. That is an incredible story to start the weekend with and very motivational. I hate exercise more then anyone and yet I know I’ll be adding a few extra mils to my hike this weekend now.

Comments are closed.