By People Staff
January 28, 2009 12:00 AM

After an emotional night saw the departure of Daniel Wright, the heaviest contestant in Biggest Loser history, the 19-year-old student, of Willow Spring, N.C., spoke with PEOPLE about how he’s doing at home. Wright lost 60 lbs. off his 454-lb. frame in four weeks during his run on the show and now has lost 41 more, bringing him down to 353 lbs. Wright also revealed his diet and exercise plan, talked about the support of his family and why he isn’t ready to shop for clothes. — Cynthia Wang

What were the first changes you noticed in your body after so much weight? I definitely have more mobility and energy … Before going to the Ranch, I could barely walk around with my friends for more than 15 to 30 minutes at the max. My joints would hurt, my lower back would be in pain, I would have to go sit down somewhere on a bench. The best thing is to be able to stand all day without sitting down or being able to keep up with my friends and family.

What has been the reaction of your family and friends?I’ve always had the family support right there ready to accept me once I was willing to step up. My mom and stepdad always play a lot of tennis and I can keep up with them now, and my sister is a cheerleader and she’s really active and now she comes to the gym with me. They have always been pretty active and now I’m just joining them!

Have you gone out and bought new clothes?I am avoiding shopping for new clothes because I still have all my old clothes from before gaining weight, so I’m just kind of stepping backwards with the style, a decade, so I’ll be rocking the double polo soon! … Most of the new stuff that I am buying are exercise clothes, so it’s cool to see the fit change in those, but I am avoiding buying the good or street clothes until I’m done.

What has your typical day been like now fitness wise?I run from 8-9 in the morning. After that, I will do either circuit training with weights or some type of cardio machine in the gym like an elliptical machine or a treadmill, and then I will usually take a break, come home, fix my second meal, relax a little bit, then go back to the gym for another two hours and do more cardio or work with a trainer. Then, I rest again and more cardio at night. It’s been great.

What did Jillian teach you in terms of why you were eating?Rather than facing those fears that come up in life, I would retreat and eat, and I would eat foods that were pretty comforting and usually pretty fattening and high in calories. I realized … it’s not wrong to be afraid. Even though it hurts, the hurt or the pain that come from whatever situation I’m afraid of will be far less than the hurt of going home, eating ice cream and gaining another 100 pounds. Looking back, I wasn’t sure what I was afraid of, laughing at me or whatever, but so what? Now I’m on national television with my shirt off and I don’t care any more!

What was a typical lunch like before the show? What’s it like now?I would do something normal, like have a sandwich and chips, but once everybody left, I would eat whatever was left on the table, or I would also grab three or four snacks out of the cupboard … So, my lunch would look pretty normal but what I was eating behind the scenes was making my lunch pretty big. Now, for lunch, I will have 4 ounces of grilled chicken, some broccoli, and a sugar-free Jell-O pudding cup. Or today I had 4 ounces of New York strip steak with the fat cut off and mixed vegetables. It was really satisfying and I focused on cooking it right and I love it.

For more on Daniel and his weight-loss, pick up a copy of PEOPLE on stands Friday. ERIKA LARSEN