Viewers chose to give Amanda Arlauskas a chance to change her life during last season’s Biggest Loser finale. Now a member of the formidable Pink Team, the 20-year-old nursing student will be giving intouchweekly.com readers all of the exclusive behind-the-scenes dish every week! In the fourth episode of season 8, contestants were forced to order in all of their meals, so those who were good at guessing nutritional information did well — including Amanda. “As soon as you got to the ranch, you were forced to start paying attention to food: counting calories, measuring things. I got into this mindset that every single piece of food that I put into my mouth, I knew exactly what was in it,” she tells In Touch. And it paid off: she and partner Rebecca won the food challenge, which means their kitchens will be stocked with free, healthy foods for a year!
Click here to read more about what you didn’t see on this week’s episode of The Biggest Loser.
When does your year of free food start?
Amanda: After the episode airs, we get the prize, so I should be receiving that really soon. I’m definitely excited, because it will help in preparing for the finale. Right now, I’m not working, and it’s been hard to scrape money together to try to purchase healthy food, because everyone knows that healthier and organic food is more expensive.
How do they send it?
Amanda: I believe it comes in the form of gift cards. They ask you which grocery stores you want in the area.
How did you do so well in the challenge?
Amanda: Rebecca and I were just asking as many questions as possible. People don’t realize that there are so many different ways to prepare food that the littlest change could add a massive amount of calories. So I was able to figure it out by asking the right questions.
When it comes to making something that is low in calories but tastes similar to what you crave, what is your favorite substitution?
Amanda: I have the biggest thing right now for spaghetti squash. I used to be a big pasta lover. When I got home from the ranch, I knew that would be out of the question. There are whole-wheat pastas, but they’re still high in calories. So as an alternative, I take a spaghetti squash and throw it in the oven for 45 minutes, and when it’s done you just scrape it out like a fork and it comes out like spaghetti. I put a little bit of marinara on it or I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. I can switch it up with different things on top of it. And it’s so low in calories. You can have a cup of it for like 40 calories — it’s insane. So I can have a big bowl and get full and yet know that what I’m eating is so healthy.
For the immunity challenge, you dropped out pretty quickly — what happened?
Amanda: What people didn’t see is that those boards that we were laying on were full of grease. As soon as you put your feet up, you just slid. I didn’t have any upper body strength at the time. In my first position, I was able to hold myself, but as soon as I let my arms drop, I was in trouble. I had all my weight on my fingers. Another thing, is that during the challenge, Liz was right next to me and she was scared to death. She was crying, “I don’t think I can do it!” and saying how scared she was. And that was messing with my head. Hearing somebody struggling so hard next to me made me struggle.
And it would have been a good week to get immunity because you were forced to order from restaurants.
Amanda: Breakfast, lunch and dinner. We had a couple of different places we were allowed to choose from. You got to realize which places weren’t really listening to you order. For breakfast, we would order egg-white omelets. You would say, no oil, no butter, no salt. They’d bring us the food and it would be the correct order but it would have greasy potatoes all over it! It defeats the whole purpose. But you know that’s all you have to eat, so you’re taking napkins, trying to pat down all the oil. These restaurants, you can’t guarantee that they’re doing what you ask them to do.
What did you order?
Amanda: Egg-white omelets in the morning. For lunch, grilled chicken, grilled fish and vegetables. One night I got a turkey burger with no bun. But it’s hard because turkey burgers notoriously have salt in them. You try to change it up, but then you get the same taste every day. We had no sauces, nothing. Legit, that kitchen was locked down. I wanted I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray one time and they were like, “No you can’t.” It was hard, so you were forced to work with whatever you got.
Do you ever order in or go out to eat at home?
Amanda: I do, maybe once a week. I’m not afraid to order how I want something cooked. If I’m going to really amend something on the menu, I’ll tell them, “This will be a difficult order, but I will tip you well if you do it right, because this is really important.” You just have to let people know you’re serious about it.
This was the week that you finally lost more weight than Rebecca. How did that feel?
Amanda: Rebecca and I were so close, but we definitely had a little bit of a competitive relationship. Since week one, she was always losing a little bit more than I was. It was just nice to lose a little bit more this week. I kind of needed that.
Rebecca said that she didn’t think Liz would have a problem voting you off. Did you agree?
Amanda: At that point, I still wasn’t very close with Liz or Danny. We were cordial, but I wasn’t as close to them as I was with Shay or Daniel. So you don’t really know who you can trust yet. Do we get rid of two people, which is a smarter game play decision, or just one? And then you think about who can do it at home, who would potentially throw you under the bus next week. There are so many different factors that go into your decision. I can’t say whether or not I really thought Liz would have voted us home the next week. But I’m sure at that point, because we weren’t so close, she probably could have and not really cared. When game play starts in the house, you kind of have to do it, too. Otherwise, you fall victim to it. At the end of the day, it didn’t come down to our decision.
Your vote wasn’t revealed.
Amanda: We ultimately decided to send Julio home. Instead of going for game play, we decided to save two people instead of one. I love Julio. He’s a great guy, but at the end of the day, I was like, “I’d be a better person to send home one rather than two.” He knows that it was nothing personal.
What’s coming up?
Amanda: Next week should be a really good episode. I can’t wait. That’s when we go black/blue and there’s going to be a little bit more drama!