“Last mom standing!” proclaimed Biggest Loser 9’s Sherry Johnston in her post-elimination interview. In a season full of moms, six to be exact, Sherry made it the longest and left with her head held high, confident her daughter Ashley Johnston would continue to do well and 55 pounds left behind on the gym floor.
Sherry started at the ranch weighing 218 pounds and boasted a sunny disposition that she maintained throughout the competition. If anything, it only got brighter with each pound she lost. She says her elimination wasn’t really as a surprise. Speaking to concerns about ageism on the ranch, Sherry said that she and fellow contestant and mom Cheryl George (the two have become great friends) had discussed the topic and knew the younger players would stick together.
Nicknamed “Little Mama” by trainer Jillian Michaels and “Mama Sherry” by her fellow black team members, Sherry stepped into a motherly role for many of those younger players who would eventually vote her off the ranch. When Stephanie and Sam began “dating” in week three, she said she offered friendly advice to not forget the reasons she was at the ranch and said that Stephanie was appreciative.
But her number one charge was 27-year-old daughter Ashley. During week nine Ashley confessed that she was struggling with constant concern over her mother’s well being, a burden she took on after the passing of her father. Sherry said “As a mom I don’t want to hold her back,” and was surprised to see how responsible Ashley felt for her. She was confident that after she left Ashley would be able to thrive.
Sherry wasted no time in returning to her normal life at home. Within a day or two she was back to her full-time job, and quickly realized the pressure to fit in the workouts, food planning and work. “It really can be done if you make a strong effort to do it,” she said. And seeing that she was down to the 130s in her “Where Are They Now” segment, she’s clearly made the effort.
She continues to live at home like she did on the ranch. She wakes up at 4:30 a.m. for a 5:00 a.m. bootcamp, then returns home to get ready for work. After work she gets in another workout. And it’s clear in speaking with her that her diet and food intake continues to be a priority she isn’t slacking on any time soon. Sherry maintains the “clean eating” habits she learned on the ranch. She says this means looking at what she eats, staying on task, reading food labels and watching the ingredients closely.
“Don’t put anything in your mouth that you don’t know what is in it,” season seven’s Tara Costa told her. And it’s good advice she adheres to.
When she finds herself in a rare moment where she just has to have something “bad,” she has one bite and says that is satisfying. “I’ve worked too hard,” Sherry says, and she isn’t willing to throw it away on an entire candy bar or pizza.
If it weren’t living up to her own expectations, you might say that the winning legacy of being on the pink team was keeping her in line. Sherry said they were “excited and proud to be picked to be the pink team” for this season. Like many of her predecssors (Ali Vincent and Michelle Aguilar), Sherry says you’ll see her wearing pink every day.
As she’s quickly working her way back down to the size five dress she wore on her wedding day, Sherry says “I feel like I did in my 20s… that’s exciting!”
Due to technical issues we were unable to record today’s interview.
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March 17th, 2010