KNIGHTDALE — Cindy Archer wants to wear a swimsuit for the first time in 25 years.
Sandra Lee wants to travel without buying two airplane tickets for herself.
Nancy Grissinger-Bair wants to live to see her 8-year-old grow up.
But, when youre 100, 200, and 300 pounds overweight, reaching these goals isnt so simple.
Thats why these women and more than 600 other people stood in line for hours at the new Rex Health center in Knightdale on Saturday.
NBCs The Biggest Loser, a weight-loss television game show, hosted a casting call for its 14th season one of 13 the show is holding nationwide. About 20 will be chosen to compete for the slimmest waist and $250,000.
But no one mentioned the prize money.
Instead, hopefuls shared their struggles and insecurities with strangers, using words like fat and ashamed and scared to describe themselves. In group-interviews, some were comfortable speaking in such frank terms.
I dont mind talking about my weight, said Lee, 57, of Lebanon, Ga., who weighs 294 pounds. I want people to hold me accountable.
A mourning officer
For others, it was tough. Harold Heatley, a sheriffs deputy from Tazewell County, Va., used to run half-marathons and watch what he ate. Four of his colleagues were shot in the line of duty in two incidents in 2011 and 2010. Two died. One is now bound to a wheelchair. Heatley was the first to arrive at last years crime scene.
Heatley, 50 years old and 380 pounds, described the experience to a group of people and a casting woman half his age. Since then, Ive probably gained 80 to 100 pounds, he said, shaking his head and clinching his fist. I just eat whatever is around.
Heatleys apathy for his diet is common for those whove endured traumatic experiences. Studies show that depression often leads to obesity and vice versa.
An abuse victim
Raleighs V.I. Oates is familiar with the cycle. She was abused as a child. At 33, she weighs 450 pounds: Im definitely an emotional eater, she said.
Despite past events, Heatley and Oates echoed many others who said their sedentary lifestyle was to blame for their weight.
Ive got a job, two boys and am getting my masters at N.C. Central (University), Oates said. Its hard to find the time (to work out).
The Biggest Loser, many said, would provide shelter from stress and allow time for intense physical activity.
Archer, 44, says she weighs about 300 pounds because she often works 11-hour days behind a desk.
When I come home, all I want to do is spend time with my kids, said Archer, who lives in Creedmoor with her two adopted daughters.
The combination of working long hours and living with young children makes dieting hard, she said.
Summer nights like these, when its hot and they want to eat ice cream sandwiches, its hard not to eat with them, she said.
The tough reality
Only 40 percent of obese people who try to lose weight actually succeed, according to a 2012 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions National Center for Health Statistics.
Often, people give up on their diets too soon because they try to eliminate certain problem foods cold-turkey, says Ashley Honeycutt, Rex wellness instructor and registered dietitian.
Slowly cutting out foods that are fatty or high in sugar is more effective.
If you drink six Cokes a day, cut it back to four in your first week of dieting, Honeycutt said. Then, in Week Two, cut your soda intake to three a day and so on.
Those moving on to the next round of Biggest Loser auditioning will know by Sunday, said casting director Holland Weathers. She said casting officials would contact 50 to 60 people Saturday night. One-on-one interviews will then be scheduled for the next three days.
Finalists find out if theyve made the show before September, which is when filming begins.
For many, Saturdays audition represented the first step toward a change even if they dont get called.
Im going to lose weight regardless, said Grissinger-Bair of Lizard Lick.
Grissinger-Bair, 34, who weighs 400 pounds, is getting married for a second time in November. In different ways, both marriages motivate her. First, she wants to lose weight look good for her fiance.
It would be great to lose enough where I dont feel uncomfortable looking at photos from my wedding day, she said.
Also, she wants to prove a certain naysayer wrong.
When Grissinger-Bair and her first husband divorced, she says there was no custody battle over her 8-year-old son. He spends time in both places.
To be honest, I dont think my ex-husband expects me to live very much longer, she said. And you know what? If I dont do something about it, he might be right.