Sanjana 'Sunny' Chandrasekar to appear on 'Biggest Loser'

04:49 PM, Jan 04, 2013

The Biggest Loser Season 14 will feature three teens for first time in the show's history — one of them is Sanjana 'Sunny' Chandrasekar, 16, of Pittsford. (Chris Haston/NBC)/

Written By Caurie Putnam

Wendy and Chris Cody and their two children not only live an extremely healthy lifestyle, but they also enjoy watching others work toward that goal.

When they are not at their business Fit Club 24/7 in Brockport or hiking, biking, or running together as a family, the Churchville residents enjoy watching NBC’s hit reality show The Biggest Loser.

Video: Watch Sunny’s introduction.

Their interest in the show’s 14th season — which premieres over two nights on NBC this Sunday and Monday — is piqued because the cast includes a Rochester-area teen.

Sanjana “Sunny” Chandrasekar, 16, is a junior in high school and one of three teens participating in The Biggest Loser for the first time in the show’s history.

This tennis player and singer will compete alongside 15 adults as an “ambassador of change who can inspire kids all over the country to get healthy,” according to a statement by The Biggest Loser.

Chandrasekar of Pittsford and her fellow teens, Lindsay Bravo, 13, of Fillmore, Calif., and Noah Gray, 13, of New Windsor, Md., will focus on getting healthy rather than numbers on a scale. So, unlike the adult contestants, they will not be eligible for elimination and will not weigh in on camera.

The teens will work with fitness trainers and pediatrician Dr. Joanna Dolgoff at both the show’s ranch and at their homes, and their progress will be featured in every episode.

I’ve always been a fan of The Biggest Loser and really felt confident the show could help me transform my life and hopefully the lives of other people around me,” says Chandrasekar in her introductory video on the show’s website.

The aspiring doctor told show producers that she wants to improve her endurance level at tennis and also be able to compete for better roles in plays. She says she gained most of her weight in her early teens. Born in Channai, India, her family moved to Rochester, then spent several years in Australia before moving back here.

Local fitness experts like Chris Cody are glad the teens will be under the watchful eye of a pediatrician. That is his first piece of advice for all teens looking to lose weight.

His next words of wisdom are to take it slow.

Teens need patience and to think of weight loss as a lifestyle change,” Cody says. “It is about day by day, not a final weigh in. How are you going to be healthy for the rest of your life?”

He recommends that teens try lots of different activities in and out of a gym and, if possible, approach this lifestyle change as a family.

The success rate I see here in our fitness center is tenfold when family members sign up together,” Cody says. “There is accountability, and it is easier to change eating habits for all.”

Mary Eggers, a nurse, yoga instructor, tri-athlete and tri-athlete coach from Henrietta, has similar advice for teens like Chandrasekar.

The emphasis should be on health, not weight,” says Eggers, who is pleased The Biggest Loser will not be subjecting the teen participants to a scale. “The teen years are the prime time for eating disorders to develop, so getting healthy needs to be about lifestyle, not weight.”

Eggers also recommends that teens work with a pediatrician and get healthy as a family.

My biggest piece of advice is to look at it as a lifestyle change as a family,” says Eggers, who works with local teens through the Teens Living with Cancer organization. “Not every family will have a personal trainer or a chef, but they can work together to get healthier.”