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Losing It With Jillian: The Vivio Family

June 29, 2010 06:01 PM by Nancy Floyd


Tonight on NBC, Jillian Michaels travels to Tennessee to work with the Vivio family on a new episode of Losing It With Jillian. During the emotional episode, Jillian works with a dad who has dealt with 13 heart surgeries and a fourteen-year old boy who weighs in at a whopping 330 lbs! Keep reading for more details on tonight’s new episode…

On tonight’s new episode of Losing It With Jillian, Jillian Michaels works with the Vivio family in Springfield, Tennessee. The gang insists of overweight football-obsessed dad Mark who has undergone 13 heart procedures, mom Lavern, and teenage sons, Jedediah and Elijah. The entire family is over six feet tall and overweight. Due to his constant medical woes, Mark was forced to shut down the family business, leaving the family financial stress entirely on Lavern’s shoulders. Fourteen-year old Elijah is following in his father’s footsteps, weighing in at 330 pounds despite his young age.

Jillian Michaels arrives at the Vivio’s Tennessee farm and is quite the fish out of water. Her first impression of the ginormous family is that she feels like a leprechaun in their presence. When she’s standing next to any of the giants, she looks more like a munchkin. First things first, an entire family workout in the backyard using tractor tires, giant cable spools, massive rocks, and tractor pulls. Lavern, Jedediah, and Elijah start working hard and don’t complain, while dad Mark watches from the sidelines, unable to participate because of his health issues.

Elijah is struggling with the workout so Jillian Michaels pulls him aside for the first heart-to-heart of the episode. At 330 lbs, Elijah is clearly dealing with not only his physical health, but his emotional well-being as well. He’s shocked to hear that Jillian Michaels was a fat kid as well. He shares his desire to lose weight, develop a closer relationship with his dad, and find some self-worth and confidence.


The next morning, Jillian Michaels joins Mark as he drives a school bus route and gains a little insight into his mentality. He grew up with a tough father who provided for the family financially but never expressed any emotion. Back at the house, Jillian meets the other giant Vivio sons, college-aged twins Caleb and Jeremiah. The entire family plays a game of football in the yard and Jillian Michaels realizes that football is the way to gain Dad’s approval. Unfortunately, Elijah doesn’t possess the same athletic skill as the other boys, leaving him the odd man out and desperate for Dad’s love.

Next, the family joins Jillian Michaels for a workout at the gym. While Elijah is doing sprints on the treadmill, he continually beats himself up and considers himself a failure. Jillian Michaels pulls him aside for another conversation to discuss how he’s feeling. She addresses how Elijah’s lack of interest in football makes him feel like a disappointment to the entire family. Terrified of being deemed a crybaby, Elijah feels that he needs to keep all of his emotions inside and never speak of them. I just want to give this precious boy a hug!


Next up on Losing It With Jillian, Jillian Michaels is teaching the family about healthy eating. Cue the pre-scripted Subway spot. After the shameless sponsor plug, Jillian Michaels takes Elijah and Lavern back to the gym in an effort to build Elijah’s confidence. Despite the fact that Elijah does a great job on his sprints, he has a hard time accepting Jillian Michaels’ compliments. After a discussion with Lavern, Jillian soon realizes that he’s learned to be so hard on himself from watching his mother do the same thing. Time for a heart-to-heart with mom. Jillian Michaels and Lavern sit down outside the gym to discuss Elijah and what a smart and sweet kid he is. Jillian helps Lavern realize that the greatness in Elijah is partly due to her and the way she’s raised him as a mother.

The next day, Jillian Michaels accompanies Elijah to school and joins him for his leadership class. She addresses the class on topics of bullying, respect, and confidence. Elijah has an eye-opening experience during the class when he discovers that nearly all of his classmates, even the popular ones, have felt picked on at one point or another.


Back at the house, Lavern sits down with Mark to discuss the issues Elijah is facing. Jillian Michaels and Lavern try to help Mark understand that discussing his emotions doesn’t make him less of a man and that his sons desperately need to have an open and honest relationship with him. Mark is moved to tears as he realizes the mistakes he’s made as a father, but hopes to be able to set things straight moving forward. He starts off by having a conversation with Elijah and trying to find common ground. Mark is finally able to communicate that he’s proud of Elijah, news that comes as a surprise to Elijah. All in all, Mark and Elijah come out of the conversation feeling stronger and more secure in their relationship with one another.

During the Vivios’ last day with Jillian Michaels on Losing It With Jillian, it’s time for one last workout that has an emotional significance. In 2007, the Vivios built a bridge on their property, but just three months later it was swept away by a flood. As a result, Mark tore his ACL and discovered his heart issues. The family nicknamed the broken bridge “the downfall of man.” Jillian Michaels assigns them the task of rebuilding the bridge as a symbol of putting their lives back together.

It’s time for the Vivio family to set their goals for the next eight weeks. Lavern wants to drop 30 lbs, Elijah wants to gain more confidence and develop a closer relationship with his dad, and Mark wants to lose 50 lbs, stop telling the boys to “suck it up,” and be more encouraging to his family.


After eight weeks, Jillian Michaels returns to Tennessee to see the new and improved Vivio family. The bridge is now completed and looking great. Elijah Vivio is the first one to make his appearance, wearing a big grin and total confidence. He lost 50 lbs. in the time since Jillian Michaels left the family. Dad Mark is up next and he looks amazing, having lost 56 lbs in eight weeks. Last, Lavern makes her appearance, looking svelte after dropping 31 lbs. The family dedicates the bridge and addresses the crowd, thanking Jillian for the work that she’s done in their family.

Next week on Losing It With Jillian, Jillian Michaels works with a Native American family who finds their identity in their food and size.

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Photo credit: NBC

Topics: Losing It With Jillian, NBC Reality TV Shows |

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