Viewers chose to give Amanda Arlauskas a chance to change her life during last season's Biggest Loser finale. Having started out wearing the formidable Pink shirt, the 20-year-old nursing student is now part of the Black Team and will be giving InTouchWeekly.com readers all the exclusive behind-the-scenes dish every week! The eighth episode of the season saw the contestants head to Washington, D.C., where they got to work out in front of the Washington Monument as well as whip up a salad in the White House kitchen. "How many people can say that they went to the White House to pick vegetables out of the first lady's garden and then actually cook in their kitchen? It was so cool," Amanda tells In Touch.
Click here to read more about what you didn't see on this week's episode of The Biggest Loser.
What did you think of your trip to DC?
Amanda: I thought it was absolutely awesome. I'm from the East Coast, so going there was like going home. I'd been away from home for so long while filming in California, so it was comforting. I was excited.
What was it like to be cooking in the White House?
Amanda: It was so cool. The Obamas' personal chef was right there cooking with us and showing us the way that they eat. I never realized just how healthy the first family eats. The salad that we prepared was a typical meal for the Obamas and the food was unbelievable. Those vegetables were the freshest-tasting I've ever had in my entire life. While we were in the garden, we were all snacking on little tomatoes, until finally the one chef told us we had to hold off because they needed them for later.
Was the Obama family home?
Amanda: We didn't get to see them. I know the president was actually on his way out. We saw his helicopter leave. Michelle and the girls were also in the house, but we didn't get to see them, although we did see Michelle's mom, briefly. She walked through and gave us a quick wave. It was such an awesome experience.
During the Washington Monument challenge, you seemed to be the fan favorite, so how did Liz end up winning?
Amanda: That challenge was insane. We were running around Washington trying to recruit as many people as we could to come work out with us. I got a lot of support because people recognized me from the finale. But I remember Liz saying that she'd gotten a tour bus full of people to come with her, and that was it. There was no chance for any of us to beat a whole bus full of tourists who knew what the show was all about. They all knew Bob and Jillian, so of course they were 100 percent going to come be a part of it. Liz lucked out with that.
What were you thinking when you went from being on a team to being judged individually?
Amanda: I was excited. I had been on the black team for a couple of weeks and you saw my struggles with Gillian. I wasn't in the right place the entire time I was on the black team so I was definitely really excited to know that I was finally just in the game for myself.
Did you change the way that you're performing on the show now that you're only responsible for yourself?
Amanda: Yes. This happened at the right time for me. You saw my breakthrough with Gillian last week. I feel like during this episode it became clear that I was ready to change and I was ready to fight for it. Now that I'm single, I feel like it's my time to shine. This is definitely where you'll see my stepping up and rising above.
Did you feel better after talking to Bob about your gym breakdown with Gillian?
Amanda: I needed to talk to Bob because he knew that I was having issues. He was supportive and made me feel like it was okay and that I'd get past those problems. I managed to do the sprint on the treadmill for Bob, when I had been unable to do it for Gillian. It all just kind of started to work out for me. Everything gets better for me from there on out!
Why do you think you worked better with Bob?
Amanda: I don't know what it is. Bob and I just have a connection. It's hard to describe. Going into the show, I know that I wanted to train with Bob. And I don't know how it happened but we got closer and he really understood me. He became a mentor for me. He understood me. I wasn't in the right place and when he saw me struggling he grabbed my hand and ever since they he seemed to make everything better for me.
How has your thought process changed in the eight weeks since the show started? Do you feel different about yourself now?
Amanda: Yes, for the first time I finally realized that change is okay. I was so scared of change before. I had only known being a failure. All of a sudden I realized I was losing weight and becoming a better person and I needed to accept that. My mentality changed in that moment - not that I became overly confident, but I started to feel confidence. I became aware that I could be the person that I always wanted to be.
Were you happy to see Tracey go home?
Amanda: I was happy. Don't get me wrong, we did have a better relationship at that point but she betrayed me twice and for that reason I had no idea what she had up her sleeve. I wasn't going to give her the option to do it again.
What do we have to look forward to next week?
Amanda: Next week is really, really crazy. Two people are going to go home! One person will go home immediately from the weigh-in room. That's really scary for everyone and put us all on edge. That week was insane. We kept that in mind during every workout and every meal we ate. We go from eight contestants to six during that week. Everyone is scared. No one wants to go home.