We’re pretty vocal about our love of The Biggest Loser around these parts. And while Bob has a lot to do with that love, we’ve also fallen for a number of contestants because of their amazing and inspiring stories. Take for example Shay Sorrells, who is an alum of season 8. With an amazing spirit and a don’t-give-up attitude, she was instantly one of our BL faves.
Since Shay’s time on the show, she’s lost a total of 225 pounds and is training for the New York Marathon. She isn’t out of the limelight though. Shay is now The Biggest Loser correspondent over at DietsInReview.com and continues to share her journey at ShaySorrells.com. Girlfriend has it going on!
We recently had the chance to ask Shay a few questions. Here’s what she had to say…
- FBG: What is it like watching The Biggest Loser after you’ve actually been on the show? Is it surreal? Does it bring back good memories?
- SS: It is completely surreal watching BL after you have been there. It brings with it a ton of memories—of the fun, the sweat and the tears. You really relate to the people as you watch them on the screen and you feel a level of connection with them, especially because you know what they are going through, but also because you know what is to come for them!
- FBG: What’s it like to blog for the DietsinReview.com team? Are you excited to add “writer” and “blogger” to your resume?
- SS: It is truly exciting to enter the blogger world. I have realized how empowering it is to have a voice, and yet how humbling it is to realize that people look to you for answers and guidance because of your experience. I feel like there is a duty that we all have after BL to share what we have learned with others. DietsinReview gives me that ability to help others in so many ways!
- FBG: The Biggest Loser has come under fire from various media sources and even past contestants recently. What are your thoughts on that?
- SS: I think people will always find fault in something, and I also think that some people are negative no matter what. I know what I experienced on BL, and it was the greatest thing that has ever happened in my life. I think it’s sad that a show like BL that is helping inspire millions of Americans has to constantly deal with this stuff.
- FBG: How much weight have you lost now?
- SS: I have lost 225 pounds total. I am currently maintaining at that weight, and that is just as hard as losing.
- FBG: How do you keep yourself motivated? Any tips you can share?
- SS: I get this question daily, and what I tell people is that for me, I was at the place where I was staring death in the face. So for me I didn’t need much motivation. That was only a year ago for me now, so it still is like it was yesterday and still motivates me. Also I continue to set goals, different ones like running a marathon or doing a triathlon, keeps you going. You must set a destination or goal in order to start a journey—otherwise you’ll go in circles!
- FBG: Besides the obvious physical transformation, how has your life changed? What is different about you now?
- SS: Everything is different because it’s not just about my body. My life has changed because it’s a lifestyle. The things I like to do with my family have changed. Instead of movie nights, we have bike nights. Instead of take out, we all make dinner. With my friendships things have changed, too. I don’t go out to eat at restaurants or happy hours that often anymore; instead I invite friends over or go for a walk. Everything is different in some way. I also took a different position at work so that I am not driving from home to home anymore where I can’t plan my meals.
- FBG: Have any of your friends or family sabotaged your weight-loss efforts? And if so, how have you dealt with that?
- SS: No, they have been absolutely supportive, and I am super thankful. However, I cannot expect everyone to change because I have, so I have attended family functions or friends’ parties where there is nothing that I am able to eat. That is where I have to plan ahead and realize that this is my lifestyle, and I will do what is best for me. I eat before I arrive, I pack my own snacks or entrees, or I come for a period of time and exit as food is served. I realize that it’s my journey alone.
- FBG: Do you still have cravings for unhealthy foods? What do you do to curb them?
- SS: Absolutely, but they are more mental than physical cravings. I am a food addict and just like if it were alcohol or drugs, it does not go away—it will be a lifelong battle. So for me, I do many things when stuff like this comes up. I try to really figure out what else is going on: Am I stressed? Sad? Angry? Frustrated? If so, I deal with those emotions. If it’s not that and I am just bored, I find something else to do that will be proactive, like going for a walk or bike ride. Also I think about what my body may need nutritionally: Am I really thirsty? Do I need to eat more veggies or a different protein? After the 20 questions, I can usually see the root of the problem and try to do something better for myself. If it comes that I just want that taste or flavor, I come up with a creative substitute like fro-yo for ice cream or a homemade pizza.
- FBG: On the show, I know you worked out for hours a day. What is your workout plan like now that you’re out in the real world?
- SS: I try to get in 60 minutes of intense activity a day and 30 minutes of moderate activity. On my one rest day, I get one hour of moderate activity. I mix it up and try different things. As I prep for the marathon though there is a lot of running and walking.
- FBG: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
- SS: The best advice was when Bob told me, “Shay, this is going to be the rest of your life and when you swallow that big ol’ huge pill, it will get easier.” I love that, and I take that with me. There will be days when I screw up, days when I don’t feel well, days when I rock, but there will always be something and this is forever. Once you face that head on, forever doesn’t seem so bad.
- FBG: Anything else you’d like to tell our Fit Bottomed Girl readers?
- SS: Go to my website to see where I will be speaking next, and please feel free to follow me on Facebook and Twitter and my website www.shaysorrells.com where I give tips for workouts, good eats and everything in between!
A big thanks to Shay for the awesome, honest interview. You inspire us, girl! —Jenn