Before she was famous for becoming the first female to win The Biggest Loser, Ali Vincent was a nationally and internationally ranked synchronized swimmer. So how did this fit and trim athlete gain more than 100 pounds? Ali talks to FatFighterTV about how that weight kept piling on, how tough it was to shed 112 pounds on The Biggest Loser, and what it’s like keeping that weight off in the real world… nearly six months after the Season 5 Finale.
Before… The Biggest Loser
Falling off the Deep End
“I never really considered it [synchronized swimming] exercise. It was just what I did. It was my life. So when I quit my sport, I didn’t substitute it with anything at all. Athletes that are at that level – we eat a lot because we have to. I didn’t substitute the physical activity I was doing, but my habits of eating remained the same. I ate a lot.”
Five Pounds at a Time
“All I ever saw was five pounds. Five pounds was controllable even though I wasn’t doing anything about it. By the time I got to the new five I had come to grips with the old five. Before I knew it, five pounds was 50, and 50 was 100.”
“It was uncontrollable. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to get myself out of this big, dark hole that I had built around me. I felt like I was looking up, trying to reach for something but there was nothing to grab. It was too big. To know you have to lose over 100 pounds seemed too overwhelming, too impossible.”
During… The Biggest Loser
“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life and then double that. It was so hard because they’re constantly pushing you to do more. You think you’ve worked out and done the hardest thing in your life, and then the next moment you’re doing the hardest thing in your life again.”
“You’ve gotta be willing, and know that you’re going to be in pain and you’re going to be sore and you’re going to be sweaty everywhere. It’s itchy when you’re sweaty and you’re fat and you get a rash in between your legs. It’s not pretty, but it gets you to where you want to go.”
“I knew this was the biggest opportunity of my life – just even to be able to remove yourself from your entire life and just focus on you. And I really took that on. I knew that I would learn how to eat right and exercise. But I also knew that my weight was emotional and I had to tell the truth about a lot of things in my life. I had to figure out what I was hiding from, what I was holding back, what I was afraid of. And I did… and I do. It’s a constant battle as far as telling the truth to yourself. That’s why it’s forever.”
Winning It All! (It was meant to be…)
“I knew that it was my destiny. I truly believed that it was bigger than me. I promise myself I’ll never forget what it feels like to go for things that feel impossible. I gave everything – everything I had and more than I thought I had – towards it. It was amazing to fulfill that and to feel that content.”
After… The Biggest Loser
“I didn’t win The Biggest Loser and that’s it. That’s not it. It’s constantly re-evaluating. It’s constantly figuring out my trigger things like, why am I hungry now? I just ate. I’m hungry now because that phone call upset me. Let’s tell the truth about it. And then deal with things in my life as they come up versus push them away and shove them down by shoving food down my throat. So I just started paying attention and started telling the truth.”
Who Is That???
“I still don’t believe I was that big. Honestly, why wasn’t there an intervention? (laughs) I didn’t see how big I looked. And now people are like, ‘Oh, you’re tiny!’ And I’m like, ‘I am?!’ I don’t see that, just as much as I didn’t see the big girl. I just see me. I guess it’s just because you get comfortable with your body. Whether you’re happy with it or not, you get comfortable. You gotta keep checking in to see if you’re happy, because that’s the difference. For whatever reason, I had to go there so I could get here.”
“I still have to choose every day. Some days I wake up and I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m feeling good!’ I’m up and at ‘em. I’m at the gym. And some days it’s like snooze, snooze, snooze – the last thing in the world I want to do is get out of bed and the last thing I really want to do is go to the gym. But I make myself, because I know that it’s worth it. That’s how I remain in control of my life and that’s how I’m able to feel proud about myself.”
Training Wheels Are On
“I treat myself like a toddler now because I’m just learning how to walk in this world of being healthy. My house is childproof. I don’t have stuff that I can binge on that will let me go too far. There are grapes and there’s cantaloupe… and frozen yogurt with 68 calories in four ounces, so it won’t let me get that far out of control! It’s setting myself up to win.”
She Did It!
“The Biggest Loser provided me the space and the opportunity and the training. But I did it. It’s not the ranch. I changed my life!”
Want more Ali? Find out her weekly workouts, what she gives up to save calories, and her tips for those trying to lose weight at her Weight Loss WooHoo! page– just FatFighterTV’s fun way of celebrating healthy weight.
And check out The Biggest Loser Club for customized diet and exercise plans and to join up with other groups who have weekly motivational challenges. Plus you’ll get the scoop on everyone’s favorite Biggest Loser contestants.