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Video: ‘The Biggest Loser’ winner visits

By
TODAY contributor
updated 4/16/2008 10:58:29 AM ET 2008-04-16T14:58:29

Ali Vincent reveals a new formula to the world, after winning season five of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” on Tuesday night. The hairdresser from Mesa, Ariz., lost more than half her body weight, but gained a whole new perspective on life.

“I am a whole new woman,” Vincent told TODAY’s Lester Holt on Wednesday. “There are no limits. There are absolutely no limits and I started to dream big again.”

Vincent, 32, started the show tipping the scales at 234 pounds and ended it weighing 122 pounds. Although her overall weight loss of 112 pounds was less than second-place Roger Schultz (164 pounds), “The Biggest Loser” winner is determined by weight-loss percentage.

By shedding 47.86 percent of her weight, Vincent became the first female winner of “The Biggest Loser.”

Said her trainer, Jillian Michaels: “She’s a dream come true for me. I just think she’s inspiration incarnate and she’s sending a message to women out there that when you connect your mind and your body and your attention, anything is possible.”

Second chances
In her youth, Vincent, then a synchronized swimmer, said she was “the one everyone wanted to date.”

But in her 20s, she saw that she “literally got fat five pounds at a time.” She was prompted to do something about it when she started “not getting as much affection.”

She decided to try out for “The Biggest Loser” with her mother, Bette-Sue Burkland. Despite some early success, Vincent and her mom were voted off the show in the fourth episode.

Vincent, however, remained undaunted.

“I was like, ‘Nobody can take this away from me,’ ” she recalled. “I’m going to do it. I’m going to go back there and I’m going to stand on that stage, even if it’s with the at-home people, and I am going to be the Biggest Loser.”

Fortunately for Vincent, the show, in an unforeseen twist, was bringing her back.

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Even better for her, she lost 33 more pounds on her own — while no longer a contestant for the show.

She teamed with Michaels upon her return to the show. Michaels described their workouts as “beatings — eight hours a day. Sometimes 10 toward the end.”

And Vincent was in for the long haul.

“The tears ended after about week three,” Michaels told Holt. “It was just, ‘Tell me what I need to do.’ She just took every single order. She did everything that I asked for.”

Continued rewards
Vincent pocketed $250,000 for her losing ways. After taking a red-eye flight from California to New York, one of the first things she saw was a copy of USA Today with a “Got Milk?” ad featuring her chiseled self.

“That is, like, strength, you know?” Vincent said of the picture. “I feel like that’s what beauty is — to feel strong and confident. And I feel like in that picture. When I saw that [picture], I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh. That’s what I wanted. That’s what I’ve been going for.’ ”

Vincent hopes her dramatic weight loss will put her in a better position to achieve her goal of becoming a platform artist for a large corporation. Until then, she is enjoying her role as an inspirational figure for those looking to lose weight.

“I’m going to continue to go for what I want,” she said. “My physical being is a direct representation of what I feel inside, which is strong and confident and beautiful.”

“This show is not only a piece of pop culture,” Michaels added. “It’s doing real good in the world and it’s because of people like Ali inspiring millions.”


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