After winning “The Biggest Loser,” Olivia Ward faces struggles every day.
She is surrounded by a world of bad choices, and eating in a healthy way can be a challenge. But she did drop almost 125 pounds during her time on the reality show — and she goes into the world each day with a plan and armed with items in her purse if she needs to snack.
“I find temptations everywhere,” she said by phone recently, “and that’s sort of the mind set I take. Life is life, and it’s going on all around you. I just have to (remember that when) I go out without being prepared and (when I have) to make (eating) choices I normally would not.”
Ward and her sister, Hannah Curlee, were the final two left on season 11 of “Loser.” Today, they take lessons learned from their time on the show and apply them to real life — and it’s working for them.
Ward’s a vegetable eater, avoids rice and works out at least 45 minutes a day and sometimes more than an hour.
Ward and Curlee, who is three years her junior, will headline the News Sentinel’s Women Today Expo, set for March 1-3. The sisters will share their weight-loss journey at 3 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 Sunday.
Admission is $8 at the door and $6 for senior citizens.
As diligent as Ward is, she isn’t a total taskmaster about what she’ll allow herself to consume. “If you’re at a birthday party and they are serving chocolate cake, it’s OK to have some, as long as it’s a small portion,” Ward said.
“It’s OK as long as you don’t go crazy with it.”
She doesn’t get caught up in carb counting. “I just try to eat as clean as possible,” the 37-year-old former mezzo-soprano opera singer said.
Ward grew up on Southern comfort food. She was born in Pascagoula, Miss., and lived with her family in Houston, Texas. During her senior year, she lived in Mobile, Ala., and then earned a degree in vocal performance from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
For seven years, she lived and worked in Nashville, and traveled to Knoxville from time to time to enjoy the scenery. “Who hasn’t been to Dollywood?” she said with a laugh.
These days, Ward lives in New York City and works as a motivational speaker (as many former “Loser” contestants tend to do).
Ward’s opportunity to do “Loser” came relatively easy. She applied once to be on the hit NBC reality show and was accepted.
“Loser” coaches Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper still keep in contact with Ward, offering an ear and advice if needed.
Support, sometimes, is just as vital as dieting and exercise.
“They are really good. I know Jillian comes across as tough on the show, but she is also very caring,” Ward said, “and you need that sort of (combination) sometimes.”
© 2013, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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