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"Now, I am just such a happy person," she tells PEOPLE after losing 60 lbs.

By Patrick Gomez
September 27, 2014 02:20 PM
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Credit: Trae Patton/NBC

At 244 lbs., Andrea Wilamowski wasn’t happy.

“I never realized how sad I looked,” The Biggest Loser contestant tells PEOPLE of watching herself on the 16th season of the NBC reality weight-loss competition.

Wilamowski, 43, says she first started gaining weight in her early 20s while coping with an abusive marriage. Despite being happily remarried, she feels she spent her whole life focusing on other people rather than herself.

“That continued while I was on the Ranch,” Wilamowski says of asking to be eliminated by her fellow teammates. “I thought that someone else deserved it more than myself.”

But things began to change for the vice president of operations for the Detroit Pride Cheerleaders, when she was given a second chance at Comeback Canyon with trainer Bob Harper.

“I realized exactly what emotional eating was about,” Wilamowski says of her time there. “I had a huge ‘aha’ moment when I figured it out. That one moment has changed my whole life.”

Although she was sent home after just two weeks with Harper, Wilamowski has now lost a total of 60 lbs. with the help of her husband and son.

“My son is a football coach, so he was already the fit, athletic one,” Wilamowski says of her 21-year-old, who works out with her at home in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan. “But my husband actually lost 48 lbs. while I was gone.”

Wilamowski says she was “shocked and amazed” by her husband’s progress, and now enjoys playing tennis and running every day with him.

“We are eating much more healthy, which has given us so much more energy and opened up so many avenues that we never had before,” she adds.

Plus, she doesn’t think she looks sad anymore.

“My mood is amazing,” she says. “Now, I am just such a happy person.”

The Biggest Loser airs Thursday nights on NBC.

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