Tough guys cry? They sure did at the end of ninth episode of Biggest Loser when ber-competitor Mark Kruger, a 35-year-old aerial device sales representative from Dartmouth, Mass., sobbed after becoming the thirteenth contestant cut from the show. Perhaps Kruger, who dropped only one pound, and his teammates on the Black Team, should have spent more time in the gym rather than out on the Las Vegas Strip. “I guarantee you man, I’ve done a lot of things in Vegas,” said Kruger’s teammate Roger. “And exercise ain’t one of ’em.” The departing Kruger also wept at leaving younger brother Jay, 31, to press on alone. PEOPLE caught up with Kruger, who started the competition at 285 lbs. and left at 202 lbs., to check on how life is off the ranch. –Frank Swertlow
You broke down when you knew you had to leave. Why all the emotion?I was leaving my brother who I had been with for 10 weeks. It is very difficult to be away from your home and your family and not go that long without seeing your kids and your wife. When you are not shedding pounds, you are shedding the emotional barriers, the inner problems that made you so heavy.
What were the emotional problems you were shedding?The biggest thing that added to my weight gain was that I was always standing up for everybody else; I always put up front and I internalized my emotions and instead of dealing with my feelings when I needed some comfort.
You lost a lot of weight on the show. What can you do now that you couldn’t do before?I found it difficult walking to the second floor of my house or running in the backyard with my children. I had to take multiple breaks. I could not keep up with them.
Have you gone shopping for new clothes?One of the most fun things is shopping for clothes. I hated going to the mall and when I went into a store I had to always dig to the bottom to find the plus sizes. Now, I walk into a store and go right to the top. My clothes fit better and I can wear vertical and horizontal stripes. Flying is much easier, even in coach. There is nothing hanging over the seat or the armrest. I am looking forward to going to Fenway Park. The seats are not the most comfortable and not the most attractive. Now, I would enjoy the game.
What was it like to see look at you, sometimes in disgust, because of your weight?I tried not to pay attention to it. I knew I was heavy. I had no respect for myself so it didn’t matter for me. I didn’t give it much thought because I had no respect for myself.
What is your exercise program?I jog four miles every day and also throughout the day while I am working. I get in 30 minute to 45-minute walks in the evening. I do cardio for 90 minutes a day, especially leg resistance. My leg is doing a lot better and I was able to rest up. I wasn’t crying every night after a workout. I don’t use a trainer.
What your diet?I do travel sometimes and I am very particular when I order out and I continue to prepare food at home. Breakfasts are some carbs mixed with protein like oatmeal and yogurt so I am fueled for the morning run and fueled for the morning part of the day. I try to stay at 300 calories for breakfast. Lunch is a salad with some greens and vegetables and either chicken or tuna if I go out with a co-worker or with a customer. I don’t want to totally starve myself and go off the deep end, so I’ll go by have a burger or a slice of pizza, now and then. Dinner is some variety of fish or chicken. At night I like to keep it light. Now and then, I’ll have a steak on a grill. I cook stir-fry or make a burger but only eat half of it.
What about snacking?I snack three times a day. It is very important to keep the body fed. Sometimes, I’ll eat cashews or walnuts or string cheese or an apple or yogurt or watermelon instead of grabbing a candy bar, I’ll buy oranges or a handful of cherries or eat yogurt.
What did you learn the most about yourself?Not internalizing everything you’re feeling. I am a more patient about how things that are going inside of me. I let out my emotions in tears or in frustration or happiness. I also I set my goals and I kept pushing myself to achieve those goals. Chris Haston/NBC