'Biggest Loser' winner talks controversy, feels 'proud' of'healthy weight loss'

When Rachel Frederickson won "The Biggest Loser" after dropping almost 60 percent of her body weight, it sparked a backlash on social media from viewers who were concerned about her extreme transformation. Three weeks later, Frederickson wants to set the record straight — she's healthy, and she's proud what she accomplished.

"You know, I did work so hard for the finale and finding myself again," she explained to TODAY's Savannah Guthrie. "I felt amazing on the stage. I felt like I shined in my dress. Then I got off the stage, and Twitter was all abuzz."

Frederickson, who started the competition weighing in at 260 pounds and ended it at just 105, was shocked by the reaction.

"I was (surprised), because I felt proud of everything I'd accomplished," she said. "My journey was my own, and I loved it; I lived it. So, I felt really proud of what I did."

Although Fredrickson recently admitted that she might have been "a little too enthusiastic" in preparing for the finale, she now wants "Biggest Loser" fans to know that she didn't do anything unhealthy to get where she is.

"It was absolutely healthy weight loss," she assured. "I dieted and exercised and did it healthy the whole way. I appreciate all the concern, and I can see where it comes from. There is the 'movie magic' — it's over (the course of) seven months; it's almost a year of my life losing the weight. I was very unhealthy at 260 pounds and now, post finale, I'm the healthiest, most alive I've ever felt."

Image: Rachel Frederickson NBC
Rachel Frederickson, before and after, on "The Biggest Loser."

Frederickson said she's in "maintenance mode" now, "which is just as hard as hard as losing the weight." And despite her successful weight loss, she still worries about slipping into old habits.

"Of course, that thought always comes up, but I think what I've learned is that I have an inner strength," she said. "I have a voice and I can trust myself. (Before) I didn't trust myself. I was critical, and I judged myself."

But she's over than now.

"That's why I love Love Your Selfie week," she added. "It's just this self-image that you're with you the rest of your life, so you better accept you and love yourself. If everyone can have that gift, then that's amazing. That's what I've gotten from 'The Biggest Loser.'"

All week, TODAY is exploring the issues we all face with body image on a daily basis, hoping to help you change the way you see yourself. Everyone from Cameron Diaz to Michelle Obama will weigh in. Follow the series atTODAY.com/LoveYourSelfie.

We also want you to get in on the action. Share your makeup-free photos on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using the hashtag #LoveYourSelfie.

  • Slideshow Photos

    'Biggest Loser' 15: Before and after

    After weeks of grueling workouts and big changes to their eating habits, the contestants of season 15 show off their fab new bodies.

  • 'Biggest Loser' 15: Before and after

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    Rachel Frederickson -

    Rachel Frederickson
    Starting weight: 260 lbs.
    Finale weight: 105 lbs.
    Lost: 155 lbs., 59.62% of body weight

    The season 15 champ of "Biggest Loser" and winner of the $250,000 prize is 24-year-old voice-over artist Rachel.
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  • 'Biggest Loser' 15: Before and after

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    Tumi Oguntala -

    Tumi Oguntala
    Starting weight: 319 lbs.
    Finale weight: 144 lbs.
    Lost: 175 lbs., 54.86% of body weight

    The 41-year-old from New York became the at-home champ and took the $100,000 prize.
    NBC
  • 'Biggest Loser' 15: Before and after

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    David Brown -

    David Brown
    Starting weight: 409 lbs.
    Finale weight: 187 lbs.
    Lost: 222 lbs., 54.28% of body weight

    The 43-year-old project manager came in second place.
    NBC
  • 'Biggest Loser' 15: Before and after

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    Bobby Saleem -

    Bobby Saleem
    Starting weight: 358 lbs.
    Finale weight: 170 lbs.
    Lost: 188 lbs., 52.51% of body weight

    The 29-year-old lawyer from Chicago finished in third place.
  • 'Biggest Loser' 15: Before and after

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    Marie Pearl -

    Marie Pearl
    Starting weight: 249 lbs.
    Finale weight: 138 lbs.
    Lost: 111 lbs., 44.58% of body weight
    NBC
  • 'Biggest Loser' 15: Before and after

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    Craig Arrington -

    Craig Arrington
    Starting weight: 385 lbs.
    Finale weight: 223 lbs.
    Lost: 162 lbs., 42.08% of body weight
    NBC
  • 'Biggest Loser' 15: Before and after

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    Chelsea Arthurs -

    Chelsea Arthurs
    Starting weight: 241 lbs.
    Finale weight: 146 lbs.
    Lost: 95 lbs., 39.42% of body weight
    NBC
  • 'Biggest Loser' 15: Before and after

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    Jennifer Messer -

    Jennifer Messer
    Starting weight: 266 lbs.
    Finale weight: 162 lbs.
    Lost: 104 lbs., 39.10% of body weight
    NBC
  • 'Biggest Loser' 15: Before and after

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    Jay Sheets -

    Jay Sheets
    Starting weight: 297 lbs.
    Finale weight: 183 lbs.
    Lost: 114 lbs., 38.38% of body weight
    NBC
  • 'Biggest Loser' 15: Before and after

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    Matt Hooper -

    Matt Hooper
    Starting weight: 356 lbs.
    Finale weight: 223 lbs.
    Lost: 133 lbs., 37.36% of body weight
    NBC
  • 'Biggest Loser' 15: Before and after

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    Fernanda Abarca -

    Fernanda Abarca
    Starting weight: 250 lbs.
    Finale weight: 163 lbs.
    Lost: 87 lbs., 34.80% of body weight
    NBC
  • 'Biggest Loser' 15: Before and after

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    Tanya Winfield -

    Tanya Winfield
    Starting weight: 262 lbs.
    Finale weight: 175 lbs.
    Lost: 87 lbs., 33.21% of body weight
    NBC
  • 'Biggest Loser' 15: Before and after

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    Holley Mangold -

    Holley Mangold
    Starting weight: 351 lbs.
    Finale weight: 255 lbs.
    Lost: 96 lbs., 27.35% of body weight
    NBC
  • 'Biggest Loser' 15: Before and after

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    Ruben Studdard -

    Ruben Studdard
    Starting weight: 462 lbs.
    Finale weight: 343 lbs.
    Lost: 119 lbs., 25.76% of body weight
    NBC
  • 'Biggest Loser' 15: Before and after

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    Hap Holmstead -

    Hap Holmstead
    Starting weight: 403 lbs.
    Finale weight: 322 lbs.
    Lost: 81 lbs., 20.10% of body weight
    NBC
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