Erik Chopin started Thursday 214 lbs. lighter but $250,000 richer.
The 36-year-old, Long Island, N.Y., deli owner claimed victory on the third-season finale of NBC’s The Biggest Loser Wednesday night, and said on the Today show the next morning, “I have new energy. I’m a new dad with the kids. It just feels wonderful.”
Chopin entered the contest weighing in at 407 lbs. – and soon discovered he had diabetes. He initially lost 124 lbs. at the Biggest Loser camp (an all-time record for the compound), then shed another 90 upon going home, bringing him down to 193.
Chopin’s trainer, Bob Harper, said on Today, “It was all about getting Erik in control again. He was out of control.”
“When I started things in the past, I’d never finish them,” Chopin admitted. “I was a big quitter. But Bob said, ‘No – finish!’ ”
Now, when he looks in the mirror, Chopin sees both his old and new selves. “It’s a combination,” he says. “It’s (been) such a short time period. I think I’m still that guy … but I’ll get used to it.”
Loser runner-up Kai Hibbard, 27, from Eagle River, Alaska, set a show record for most weight ever lost by a female: She shed 118 lbs. from her 262 starting weight, and won $50,000.
Mark Wylie, 40, from Miami Beach, started at 309 lbs. and got down to 178, placing him third and winning him $25,000.
Heather Hansen, 36, of West Bountiful, Utah, the show’s fourth Final 4 finalist, skipped out on the finale’s weigh-in – but for a good reason: She’s going to have a baby, her second child. But she was still a winner – the show gifted her with a dream nursery.