A week after being named runner-up on the latest edition of “The Biggest Loser,” Knoxville resident Ashley Johnston has gained three pounds already.
But after shedding more than 175 pounds during her time on the hit NBC series, Johnston isn’t worried. She isn’t about to go back to the way she was before.
“I think it’s water weight,” she says. Johnston still has a goal of dropping another 30 pounds.
She eats healthy, counts calories and works out daily with a trainer.
Over lunch at Tomato Head in Market Square on Tuesday, Johnston talked of her life before, during and after “Loser.” She’s eating a tuna salad and drinking water. Patrons walking into the place rubberneck when they see her. Then they check out what she’s eating.
“People stare at me all the time,” she says. “I walked out of Earth Fare the other day and a woman came up to me and said, ‘What’s in your bag?’ It’s weird.
“I’m being judged all the time, but it’s OK because I don’t have anything to hide. If you want to look through my grocery bag, you’ll find all healthy food.”
Sometimes she still sees herself as being overweight. “They call it phantom weight,” she says. “My mind hasn’t caught up with my body.”
Johnston, 28, came in second on the finale of “Loser” a week ago, but she won no money for the showing. She’s living off per diem checks she collected during her time on “Loser.”
“I do have a shopping problem now that I can buy (smaller size) clothes,” she says with a laugh. (Johnston now wears a size 10 jeans.)
Her future now is open, and she is taking her time chewing over her options. Without a 9-to-5 job, she’s considering speaking gigs and starting a clothing line for women who wear sizes 6 to 16. Also, she’s mulling a move to Los Angeles.
“(Los Angeles) has totally sucked me in,” she says. “I love it.”
Being back home means an adjustment in her attitude. “I think when I don’t work out six hours a day then I’m not really working out,” she says. “I don’t have to work out that much anymore.”
Some people don’t like eating around Johnston anymore. “I’m, like, ‘Go ahead and eat.’ I notice a lot of what people order,” she says. “I think, ‘If they had done this and that to their order, it’d be better for them.’ ”
Seeing herself now as an athlete, Johnston is training for a triathlon and getting used to not working out six hours a day as she did on the ranch.
“It’s all about finding a good balance for me now,” she says.
Terry Morrow may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 865-342-6445.
© 2010, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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