Biggest Loser‘s Jay: Show Saved My Life

Biggest Loser‘s Jay: Show Saved My Life
Dave Bjerke/NBC

04/02/2008 AT 12:00 AM EDT

The Biggest Loser crew headed to Australia on Tuesday's episode, but it wasn't a vacation. Whether it was adjusting to the time, taking in too much Sydney nightlife or exerting themselves in tough physical challenges, the Kruger brothers, Mark and Jay, gained one-pound each, landing them in the bottom two.

But Jay, refusing to let his older brother get cut once again, insisted upon his own elimination in another teary departure. "I have been overweight all my life," said Jay, 31, an aerial equipment salesman from New Bedford, Mass., "and I can't say I have my life back because I never had one. I am so happy I've this opportunity to basically save my life."

Jay showed up at the Ranch weighing 293 lbs., and now he's down to 193! PEOPLE asked him about becoming a new man and found out how he's keeping it off. --Frank Swertlow

What were some of the things you could not do before you lost all of your weight?When I got back home I could play basketball and do things that I haven't done since I was younger like making a fast break. I was uncomfortable being in an airplane seat; now there is plenty of slack in the seatbelt. I am not tired anymore. I think everyday is a blessing. When I played with the kids, they would have to come to me, now I can run after them. I look back now when called me Baby Huey because I had such a round face. Now I have a jaw and shaving is more of an adventure. Before, I used to just go around and now I make right turns. I look in the mirror and I don't recognize myself.

Has your mental attitude changed?I was always overweight and always grumpy and now I think the sky is the limit. I didn't have a good self-image; I slouched over and wore baggy pants and tried to hide. I would make jokes about my being fat and I made fun of myself. I believe in myself. I overcame the fear of heights on the ranch. You have to it let yourself go and relax and conquer your fears in little steps. It took me five months to drop a third of a person and it is pretty amazing.

What's shopping for clothes like now?When I got back I filled seven garbage bags of size XX clothes. I got rid of them because I didn't want to think that if I slipped, I had these clothes waiting for me. It is nice to go shopping now in regular stores and not specialty shops. My clothes fit. Before I would wear baggy clothes and try to hide my body. I now wear a size 32 pair of jeans; my neck size is 15 and a half when it used to be 19 and a half. I want to look better, and I want to dress up my body. I just bought a sports coat and it was a 40 regular, before I wore a 52 portly.

Why do you think you became so heavy?I was always fat. I would rather stay at home and eat and watch TV rather than go out and exercise. I got into this lifestyle and routine, and routines can be bad.

Are you sticking to a diet?I am trying to keep my calories low, maybe 1,400 to 1,500 calories a day. I eat carbs in the morning like oatmeal to get me going and some eggs or protein. In the middle of the day, I'll eat salads, and I'll have salads and vegetables at night. I eat lots of fish like salmon and white fish and cod. I am staying away from steak and fast foods. When I shop for food, I go to supermarkets and I'll look at organic foods, but not everybody's on a budget that can afford organic. I stay away from snacks, but I'll eat dried fruit and apples and sometimes almonds and light fat yogurt.

Are you excercising?I am not using a trainer. I am just running. I get up in the morning and I'll run six miles and walk one. It's better than being on a treadmill in a gym. I am a member of a gym, but I don't do too much weight lifting there. I want to burn more calories so I do more cardio by using the treadmill and elliptical machines. I have to earn a living and works gets in the way of exercising. I can do an hour in the morning and an hour and a half at night. I have a family.

Who will win and be the biggest loser?Mark. I'll bet on my boy. He'll go to no end to lose weight. Dave Bjerke/NBC

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