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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Big desire to lose weight gave Biggest Loser contestant drive

Biggest+Loser+contestant+Tracy+Yukich+spoke+to+a+group+of+students+on+South+Campus.+Yukich+lost+the+competition+by+four-tenths+of+a+pound+but+said+she+gained+her+life+back.%0D%0APhoto+courtesy+Tracy+Yukich
Biggest Loser contestant Tracy Yukich spoke to a group of students on South Campus. Yukich lost the competition by four-tenths of a pound but said she gained her life back. Photo courtesy Tracy Yukich

By Yocelin Hernandez/reporter

Biggest Loser contestant Tracy Yukich spoke to a group of students on South Campus. Yukich lost the competition by four-tenths of a pound but said she gained her life back.
Photo courtesy Tracy Yukich

The number one New Year’s resolution made is “to get fit and lose weight,” but the question is what someone is doing to get there, a former The Biggest Loser contestant told South Campus students early this month.

Tracy Yukich visited the South gym March 6 to share her journey of transformation. She said the gym was a good place to tell her story because that’s where she spent most of her time getting to where she is now.

“When you want something so bad, you think about it, and you want it even more,” she said about her desire to lose weight and get fit.

As a military wife and mother of four, the North Carolina native hardly had the time to care for herself. Yukich said her husband was absent for long periods, so she devoted all of her time to caring for her children. She said she was good at managing everything around her, but she fell short when it came to herself.

“I made that choice — to manage everything, except myself,” she said.

Yukich was not always overweight. She said she was active during high school and college, playing sports including softball and cheerleading. It wasn’t until she had her first child that things changed. She began to let herself go and did not take care of her eating habits, she said.

Her breaking point came one Friday night. She said her husband was not home, and her children were “being kids.” She found herself eating Oreo cookies in her bathroom, crying. Yukich described herself as a closet eater. She ate in her car, at home or even just because she was alone. She said she had no control over her cravings and did not do anything about it. Yukich looked at herself in the mirror and decided she couldn’t stand herself and needed to make a change.

That night, she walked into her living room to TiVo The Biggest Loser.

The following Sunday, instead of attending Mass as usual, she drove to downtown Dallas to audition for the show. It was pouring as she stood in line for hours. Yukich said she made a lot of girlfriends waiting in line that day — women who all wanted the same opportunity she did, a chance to better themselves. She was the only woman chosen for the show that day.

On the first episode of her season, the contestants were told to run one mile on the beach. That day, Yukich collapsed suffering from heat stroke.

“If that helicopter wouldn’t have picked me up, I would be a dead duck,” she said. “That helicopter saved my life. Losing weight saved my life.”

Although the situation did not air, she said she was hospitalized for a total of 16 days. The producers of the show even suggested that she leave and sign into a rehab center, but Yukich was determined to stay.

Yukich said she set a goal of weighing in the 130s by the end of the show. She went from 250 pounds to 132, a total of 118 pounds lost.

“I said I was going to do something, and I did it!” she said.

Yukich joked that life revolves around food but said she realized that what goes into the body is what comes out, meaning that eating right will energize the body in the right way. People can feel a difference in the brain, in the heart, in the way the body reacts when they eat right, she said, describing it as respecting the food one eats.

A photograph taken prior to her transformation still hangs on her refrigerator. Yukich said it serves as a reminder of where she used to be and helps her appreciate how far she’s come.

Offering encouragement, she advised students to own up to their daily excuses for not living a healthier lifestyle. She suggested writing down what they want to accomplish.

“Because when you write, you’re going to remember it,” she said. “And you’ll be accountable for it.”

Just like the image Yukich has on her refrigerator, she said the writing will serve as an inspiration to get something done.

“Write it. Speak it. Do it,” she said.

If people really want to do something, they will find a way, Yukich said. If they don’t, they will find an excuse.

“If you invite someone to go run and they don’t show up, ask yourself, did you [run]?” she said. “Just because your support doesn’t show up doesn’t mean you should fall behind. If you invite someone and they actually show up, rock on!”

Yukich said God was her trainer, and that was all the support she needed.

As The Biggest Loser came to an end, Yukich said the only thing she did not want was to feel as if she could have done more. In the end, she did not feel that way.

Although she lost the competition by four-tenths of a pound, she said she is not bitter. The winner was in her 20s and did not have children. Yukich was in her mid-30s with four children, she said. Although she did not win the cash prize, she said she won something that no one can take from her.

“I lost $100,000 dollars that day, but you know what?” she said. “I won my life back.”

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