Tumi Oguntala: "Conquering obesity isn't just a math problem or else there would be no Biggest Loser. I knew how to add and subtract but I had to learn why I was emotionally holding myself back when getting healthy was clearly in my best interest."
The turning point:
"I went for a mammogram on my 41st birthday and for the first time, the doctors said that I needed a second one because I had gained so much weight that they had trouble interpreting the results. I turned out to be okay, but it created a sense of urgency that I needed to make a change."
How I did it:
"Going on The Biggest Loser was definitely the toughest, most rewarding experience of my life. Eliminating food as an emotional crutch — while I was in constant physical and emotional pain — was a challenge. After a workout with Jillian, I realized I was phoning it in at the gym before. On the ranch, I was very intimidated by the former and current athletes and what they could do physically from day one of the competition. It took me a while to get my mojo, but I was determined to prove that at 41 I had yet to see the best of me, and fitness was definitely an area where I had room to grow.
I went through a sacred journey with people who weren't just morbidly obese, but also broken, and I came through it with a new lease on life and a willingness to pay it forward. I was also the most successful at-home winner in the history of the show. Now I exercise between one to two hours per day, six days out of the week. My workout regimen consists of about 60% high intensity cardio and 30% weight training. I eat clean, consuming whole grains, unprocessed foods, lean meats without hormones or antibiotics, and low amounts of sugar and sodium."
"Before" and "After" Photo Credits: NBC
"Finding my next high intensity point with exercise. I have a lot of stamina because of my training on the Biggest Loser and while I know my workouts are tough, I'm in such good conditioning that I constantly have to keep pushing myself. When I think about how recently I was morbidly obese, it's shocking to know that I can run for over an hour and still not be working hard enough to push myself!"
Advice for other brides:
"On my talk show Talk Tumi, I discuss how making small changes each day can help you keep your commitments. A good place to start is by trying to drink at least one gallon of water per day, which will naturally suppress your appetite and help your body let go of extra water weight."
Enlist the support of your fiancé:
"When I came home from the show, I asked my fiancé if he still loved me (the new me) and when he said yes, I asked him if he was willing to be my partner in fitness, because I couldn't go back to the lifestyle we had before. We both had to recommit to each other and we're determined to walk down the aisle as the most healthy version of ourselves possible."
"After" Photo Credit: Tumi Oguntala
Where I am now:
"I wanted to be proud during my final weigh-in and I definitely accomplished that. I lost 175 pounds and reached 15% body fat (I started with over 50%). When I had my final medical appointment, the show's doctor said that I've become an elite athlete. As a former couch potato, this made me immensely proud. I can't wait for my wedding, which will take place in the fall at a historic casino in Saratoga Springs. It will be the most romantic evening of my life, with the people I love most in the world dressed to the nines!"