At 360 pounds, Kristin Steede was the heaviest female contestant in Biggest Loser history, and she left the ranch 140 pounds lighter. "I love the lesson that it taught me in life. I wanted it and I worked so hard for it, and I didn't get it," says the 28-year-old from Wisconsin.
"I realized that winning or losing The Biggest Loser would not define who I am as a person. I went there with the intentions of changing my life and I know I've done that. So I got more out of this than I ever expected I would."
Kristin is eager to share what she's learned. "I would consider doing just about anything if it meant that somebody out there who has struggled can have the feeling that I have right now," she says.
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Why do you think you gained weight before the last weigh-in?
There's a certain time of the month for a woman where her weight tends to fluctuate. That, in combination with the stress. Because diet- and exercise-wise, I couldn't have had a better week. I was running farther and running faster than I had ever run in my entire life, so it really didn't make any sense to me at the time. But I realized afterward what was going on.
Were you surprised by how Ron and Mike voted?
I always knew that aligning myself with them would be risky. The one thing that I can say about Ron is he never hid the fact that he was there for the best intentions of Mike. And from a pure numbers standpoint, it was obvious that on a weight basis that I was Mike's biggest competition there. Physically, I'm not the strongest. I'm not the fastest. But for the amount of weight that I could have lost or needed to lose to compete with him, I would really have given him a run for his money. And as far as I'm concerned, in the game of The Biggest Loser, you are in control of your fate. You can't fall below the yellow line, otherwise your fate is in someone else's hands, and I knew that from the beginning.
How did your mom react to your elimination, seeing as how Ron had promised to look out for you?
My mom and I both recognized that this is a game. What would my mom and I have done in that same situation? We'll never know. We would like to say that we would have kept our word. But there are really no hard feelings there.
And Ron technically didn't lie to you, even though Mike voted for you.
He never told me he'd never write my name down, and he never did. I was very well aware of Ron's ability to manipulate the game. So I knew there was a possibility that I could always get burned in the end. And it's a game. I'm so happy with where I'm at and who I am today, and I feel that's good.
What is your diet and exercise routine like now at home?
Right now, diet has been the biggest battle. I've been trying to make sure that I'm consistently eating three meals and two snacks during the day to keep my metabolism going. I've been focusing a lot on very low sodium, clean foods, eating my egg whites and toast for breakfast with a banana or yogurt. Lunchtime, I'm doing grilled chicken breast or pork tenderloin — some type of good protein — with a steamed vegetable. I'm surprised at how well I've been doing at home with exercise and that the food's been more of a challenge. I'm usually getting two solid hours of cardio in the morning before I go to work. During work, I try to sneak away for a cardio kickboxing class around my lunch hour and then I'm usually back in the gym at night trying to get some more cardio in, just preparing for the finale. I know that when I go into the maintenance mode after the show that I'll be able to keep up my exercise in the mornings and live a healthy active lifestyle in the evenings after work.
Is there an activity that you didn't do before that you are going to start doing now?
I would love to try to water-ski this summer. My mom has a spot on a lake up north in northern Wisconsin where we're really active when we go boating and fishing and things like that. Just because of the sheer size of my body, I had never even really attempted to water-ski. So I'm really excited to see if I can actually get up. I think that'll be a really neat testament to how far I've come.
What weight are you aiming to reach?
If I could live my life in the 180-190 range, I think I would be very, very comfortable there. I think that that would be a pretty healthy weight for me. Those are figures that have been given to me by the doctor that I was surprised by. He said with my build, I'm just naturally larger.
You said you and your husband want to have children. How has getting healthy helped?
I don't think I could have ever gotten pregnant at 360 pounds. I'm so excited to know that hopefully my chances of conceiving a child are much better because I understand that with being overweight, you're a lot less fertile. I've learned so much about the body and what eating certain foods can do to your body. It's amazing when you think of carrying a child how important it is to not only make those right decisions for yourself but for your child, too.