Ashley Johnston stepped into the room and found a monkey on her back again.
The room was filled with an all-day buffet of rich, processed food. For weeks, she has resisted temptation and was finally eating healthy on “The Biggest Loser” ranch. Now, the NBC series was offering her pancakes, hot dogs, pizza and cookies to her heart's delight, a test of her will power.
And it was tough. “It's getting harder and harder to resist,” she said.
The person who ate the most risked gaining weight but would get the power of a sole vote to cast someone off the show. Koli Palu ate the most with 4,100 calories.
Johnston, a Knoxville resident, was able to stay away from the offerings for the most part – but one taquito was calling her name. Turns out she only had a third of it and didn't like the taste. A whole taquito was 70 calories.
However, during a group workout, Johnston finally came to her breaking point – not with food but with loneliness. With her mother, Sherry, and her close friend, Andrea, voted off the show, Johnston was struggling for support.
“I'm having a really bad day,” a tearful Johnston told trainer Bob Harper.
He told the cameras: “Ashley seems very lost right now. She seems like one woman on an island.”
But Harper reminded Johnston she has gotten this far in the competition because of what she's done – not the accomplishments of others. Harper's words comforted her.
“If I can make it through seeing my father die and come out of that, I can make it through months of losing weight, and I will sneak up and win this,” she told the cameras.
At this point in the show, Johnston has lost 116 pounds. While talking about her progress with a doctor, she discovered shedding so much weight has extra benefits. Her diabetes was under control.
A giant building block challenge had Johnston stumped, but a fellow contestant gave her tips on how to stack her blocks. (Johnston wasn't following what he was saying but paid attention nonetheless.)
The challenge had contestants stacking blocks up to a ladder, which contestants had to climb to grab a flag. The first to do it won the challenge and would get a 1-pound advantage at weigh-in. The one coming in last got a 1-pound disadvantage.
When O'Neal Hampton stumbled atop his blocks and fell several feet to the ground during the challenge, Johnston was spared from coming in last.
Johnston has not won any challenges, but she's keeping the weight off, keeping her in the game. Harper gave her eating tips to help.
Unfortunately, at weigh-in, Johnston only lost 4 pounds during that week, meaning she got rid of 1.55 percent of her original weight. It proved to be enough to keep her out of the bottom two.
Palu had the option of picking off one of the bottom two. His choices were SunShine Hampton and Victoria Andrews. He picked Andrews.
© 2010, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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