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'Biggest Loser: Where Are They Now?': We chat with Ali Vincent

November 24, 2010 |  3:12 pm

There are two high points in every "Biggest Loser" season: the makeovers -- which we saw this week, and, of course, the finale.

In a category all its own: "The Biggest Loser: Where Are They Now?"

We'll find out Wednesday night at 9 p.m with a two-hour special on NBC. Ali Vincent, the Season 5 winner of the "The Biggest Loser" and the first female winner, is among those featured. She spoke with us recently about life since the show, and let a few secrets drop, including: Tonight's show includes a Thanksgiving dinner with past winners, hosted by celebrity chef Curtis Stone.

"It was really a family reunion, but a family of some people that I'd never met before," Vincent said. Family such as Eric Chopin. Chopin, as devoted fans of the show know, is the Season 3 winner who gained much of his weight back, leading him to hide out in his home for fear of being seen. He "outed" himself on Oprah, and has been struggling to lose the weight once more. Vincent said she felt deep compassion for him. "He had it, and then he lost it, and then he had this notoriety, and then the weight is worse than it was before."

Also on the episode, she said: Viewers will learn about engagements, some Tongan action and baby-making. Wow!

Vincent, 35, wrote a book ("Believe it, Be It") after her win and remains an in-demand public speaker. One of her passions is encouraging exercise among kids. "I tell parents, give them one hour of really sweaty play each day, and one hour of screen time." She is particularly active with the Phoenix Children's Hospital and their Families in Training program, which encourages exercise and a healthy diet among parents and kids. She recently moved to Spokane, Wash., but travels frequently to Phoenix to foster her commitments there.

But let's get down to numbers. Vincent weighed 122 pounds at the finale, having lost 112 pounds or 47.86% of her body weight. That didn't last for too long, but she certainly didn't go to pot. "I live my life at 125 to 130 pounds," she said, adding that she remains vigilant and balances any weight gain beyond that with more exercise and a cleaner diet.

"I don't have all the time in the world to work out," so every minute has to count, Vincent said. She currently aims to do one hour of cardio a day, five days a week, plus strength training a few days a week. She occasionally adds in swimming and spin classes, but doesn't consider that working out because they are so much fun.

She says her continued weight maintenance comes down to one word: balance.

Vincent says she constantly stops herself through the course of her day for a gut check. Is she eating right? Is she pushing herself to hard? Is she getting enough rest? Is she paying enough attention to friends and family. And, most importantly, is she putting herself first. Not in a selfish way. But in a, "I need to take care of myself so I can take care of everyone else" way.

"I'm always asking myself, 'Do I need to make some shifts?' " she said. "That's the key." Before the "Biggest Loser," she said, she was an all or nothing person. "I'd be hot or cold ... I learned it's better for me to operate on 'steady."

Although some of the past contestants went back to their old ways -- and we'll find out who -- Vincent says she never worries about gaining the weight back. "Never. I changed my life. I changed my lifestyle. I quit choosing to let someone else live my life. It used to be, I was living on auto pilot. Now, it's living consciously."

If she has one piece of advice, it's this: Just start writing down everything that you eat and become aware of what you are doing.

She said she believes another key to her continued success is that she doesn't have an "end goal." "I just didn't get in the game and see it as something with a start and a finish. There is no finish. This is my life now."

We tried to delve a little deeper into Vincent's personal life. And we got this much. "Let's just say I share my time with someone."

She said a personal goal is to do an Ironman triathlon. But she was a little squirrely as to a particular date or race. Why? She said she needs to leave some wiggle room for the possibility of family. (Translation: You can't train for the Ironman with a bun in the oven.)

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Ali Vincent. Credit: NBC