Before the Biggest Loser, Mandi Kramer said she was shy and not entirely happy with her body. Having grown up in a house with a bodybuilding mother, she said her rebellion was leaving the pressures of a perfectly heatlhy family and eating whatever she wanted and dismissing exercise. All of this took its toll, and although Mandi was 263 pounds when she started at the ranch, it still took convincing for her husband to understand why she had to go. Today, she says she’s a stronger, more independent person than she ever was. The new Mandi has a better relationship with her husband, her two young sons, her teammate and sister Aubrey, but most importantly herself.
Hear the interview with Mandi now:
Being a mom is important to Mandi, and as we watched in her “where are they now” video, she’s helping her sons to live healthier lives, too. She says these days are more interested in Subway and Quizno’s than they are McDonald’s or Burger King. For better or worse, they are becoming fairly picky eaters in an effort to eat only healthy foods. During the week, the kids help Mandi make the dinner menu, and on Sunday the entire family takes a break and gets to have one thing that they really crave. “It works for us,” she says.
This mom always took a hard look at her kids’ school lunches. These meals are traditionally not the most nutritious fare, but Mandi did something all parents should consider. She went to lunch with her son, saw the foods and even met with the cafeteria staff to see what is in the food they’re serving. “Everything for the most part was perfect,” says Mandi. The family now keeps the school lunch menu on the refrigerator. On days where pizza or nachos are being served, she packs turkey sandwiches for the boys. She says the school has also replaced all pop machines with water and juice and make sure each lunch is served with a fruit or vegetable.
These days, down 90 pounds, Mandi’s not feeling as stressed as the ranch made her feel. She says the stress is likely part of the reason for her two pound weight gain in her final weigh-in. Bob Harper explained to her that as we are stressed, the hormone cortisol increases and holds on to fat, and it doesn’t let the body lose the weight that it should. The stress of being matched against Sione had Mandi wracking her brain, and she felt scared. She said it hurt to have to go home, but “realized Audrey needed to stay more than I did.” She likes the gym and exercising, and Audrey still needed to get to that place.
Mandi also had some stress from having to share her trainer, Bob Harper, with competitors Sione and Filipe. She said she understood the issues they were experiencing with Jillian Michaels. When asked why Jillian ignored Filipe in the gym, she responded “I think she did it intentionally. If anyone there is playing the game, it’s Jillian the most.” She explained that Jillian has her favorites, this season it’s Tara, and she’ll eliminate anyone who tries to get in the way.
Having worked with both trainers, Mandi says the key difference is that with Jillian “you work hard for her so she doesn’t break your fingers.” She prefers Bob, who helped her learn “you work hard for you.”
She wants everyone to know what Bob and Jillian taught her at the ranch. “Realize you have everything you need to succeed inside of you. Dig deep and find it.”