Biggest Loser’s Nicole: I Don’t Need the Ranch to Lose Weight
04/03/2009 AT 12:00 AM EDT
In this week’s Biggest Loser twist, the Red Team’s Nicole Brewer, 37, earned a surprise return to the Ranch after losing 87 lbs. at home in 12 weeks. But her excitement quickly faded when game play ensued and Brewer realized that the Ranch was not where she needed to be in order to succeed. Just as quickly as she arrived, the wardrobe stylist was sent back home to Brooklyn, N.Y. Having lost 107 lbs. so far, Nicole spoke to PEOPLE.com about being targeted at the Ranch, her upcoming wedding and showing America anyone can lose the weight at home.-- Rebecca Gross
What was it like rejoining the group?It was overwhelming and also very awkward. Rejoining the red team at that time was really stressful. It was no longer just a group of overweight who wanted to change their lives; I was joining the cast when it was the survivors, and it was now about who was going to win the prize at the end of the game. It was definitely a very different Ranch and it wasn’t a lot of fun.
When did you to notice that you had a target on your back?On the very first day. Tara physically put an “X” on my back. So it was made very clear to me at that point. Especially coming in with the second highest total percentage of weight loss, Mike made it clear to me that I was taking his slot in the No. 2 spot.
You would have had immunity but you gained five pounds. Why do you think you gained weight?I think I gained weight because it was a completely different environment. I lost all of my weight at home under no stress with the man fiance Damien Gurganious that I love. Let’s face it: every month, women’s bodies go through fluctuation in fluids. So I believe it was the combination of the change of environment and the fluctuation in fluids.
What was your strategy to losing all your weight at home?I knew that I had to cook all my own meals in order to control my calories. When I was heavier I would avoid stairs. And the very first thing I had to do at the Ranch was the Stair Climber. Once I realized I could do it… every day when I went into the gym that was the first thing I was going to do because it was my biggest fear and it was one of the things I needed to tackle. It got my heart rate up, it made me sweat and it made me feel like I accomplished something.
Being a wardrobe stylist, how does it feel to shop for yourself now?It’s something so deeply personal but also professional for me. For my Where Are They Now shoot, I actually did have to go out and buy some new clothes. I was able to go into a store that I would normally go into for my clients. When I came out I just completely sobbed because I could not believe that I could wear clothes from a normal, regular-sized store.
So how did it feel to put on a wedding dress that was half the size of your original one?It was amazing! When I first went shopping for my wedding gown, I was so happy I had a man who wanted to marry me… But I was just really unhappy that I was at that size. This time around, I could look at dresses that I never could have looked at when I was a size 24. I felt sexy, I felt beautiful, I felt victorious.
Tell us about your wedding!I’m so excited and planning my wedding is one of the best parts about life after The Biggest Loser: Couples. We haven’t picked an exact date but it’s going to be a late summer wedding in New York. We are absolutely going to be inviting some of our new Biggest Loser family members to join us for our nuptials.
Do you feel a little “ripped off” that you didn’t get to spend very much time on the Ranch?Having done so well at home and ending up not doing so well on the Ranch, I realized I didn’t really miss anything. I wanted to be the one to show America that you can do it at home. You don’t need a magical Ranch or someone screaming at you or telling you what to do, you just have to believe that you can do it.