Lauren Lee, before and after
Chris Haston/NBC, NBC
01/19/2012 AT 04:05 PM EST
Unlike on other reality shows, Biggest Loser
contestants are rarely blindsided in the elimination room – but that was not the case on Tuesday's episode when young athlete Lauren Lee was sent home over a much older teammate.
"After the weigh-in we have an hour or so to [deliberate]," Lee told reporters Wednesday. "But we didn't really come up with who was going home. I was completely shocked when my name started coming up."
The voting came down to a tie between Lee, 26, and retired grandmother Nancy Rajala, 63. And while Rajala lost less weight than Lee at the weigh-in, their teammate Kim Stone cast the deciding vote, sending Lee home.
"I fought for myself and said I needed to be here," said Lee of her teammates' claims that she had the will power and lack of distractions necessary to succeed at home. "I have plenty of distractions. I am a recent college grad with tons of student loans to pay off without a job because the economy is so bad right now."
Now back in Poolesville, Md., the former lacrosse player is continuing to fight to find the athlete within.
"I got my undergrad in adult fitness and my masters in exercise and cardiac rehab," she said. "But I grew up being dyslexic and ADD so instead of going to the gym I had to study for five hours."
One confidence boost Lee had recently was completing a half-marathon – a feat she thought she would never be able to do again – and now has her eyes set on a full marathon.
"I would love to run the Marine Corps marathon in D.C.," she said. "I believe in myself a lot more now."
Aside from working out up to four hours a day, Lee is also focusing on her diet. Her number one diet rule? "Write everything down."
"There are temptations all the time – that chocolate bar or that scoop of peanut butter," she explained. "You just have to measure everything and be accountable for everything you eat. Good or bad you have to write it down."
Now weighing in at 193 lbs., Lee hopes to weigh 130 lbs. and "look like a true athlete on stage at the finale" so she can "sky dive and parasail: activities that my weight was holding me back from."
She also hopes to pay forward her Biggest Loser
experience to others.
"I still want to be a doctor," she said. "I want to be in cardiac rehab and help people get their lives back just like I got my life back."