By People Staff
Updated October 16, 2009 12:00 AM
Credit: NBC

After losing the weekly weigh-in to the Black team, the Blue team seemed almost certain it would vote out Tracey, the most disliked woman on the Ranch. The remaining contestants, however, sent Mo DeWalt home instead after he pleaded with them that Tracey was a stronger competitor. The 55-year-old youth mentor from Louisville, Ky., started at 355 pounds and is now down to a healthy 275! Coach Mo spoke to the press about why he decided to save Tracey and how his life has changed since being on NBC’s The Biggest Loser. — Nina Tyler

Tracey is portrayed as the villain of this season. How calculated was she really? Tracey was in a bad spot. She was injured, she wasn’t allowed to work out and the panic mode continued to set in. She conferred with me a lot of times on some of her decisions. The thing I tell everybody is: Take a look at her decisions. They were not really bad decisions. They came out pretty good for her and for us and pretty much she was not the only one playing the game. Other were playing the game as well. I think she acted appropriately, I really do. Majority of the time I do. Sometimes she would act in haste but majority of the time I think she did very well.

Why did you decide to tell the Blue team in the end to vote you off?My decision was based on so many different things. It was based on the injury that I had just gotten with my foot; it was based on the fact that I had lost six pounds and everybody else had lost seven. I just thought it would send a bad signal… that it just wasn’t fair at that particular point and I could just not continue on and I was the one who lost the least amount of weight.

What kinds of lessons from the Ranch were you able to integrate into The Village, the youth mentoring program you have?Almost everything! I teach a lot of mental toughness and discipline and structure. One of the main reasons I came on the show was because I wanted to show them that you know ‘yes, I can do this,’ it’s not just my teaching it to you but I can do it as well. Since we’ve been back their food habits have been changed, the way they think about food. I tell them about the diseases that I had and how I was able to change my life around, not being a diabetic anymore and not having high blood pressure anymore.

Were a lot of the kids watching you on TV?About 95 to 105 children from what I’m told were watching the show constantly.

What was the worst habit you had from before the Biggest Loser that you can now say you no longer have?It’s between smoking and eating. I loved fast foods with a passion because I stay on the go constantly and working with the kids, going from school to school, I didn’t have time to sit down and have a meal. I would go to McDonald’s, eat Burger King or something, you know? I’d eat a big sandwich and just keep on going. I think that was probably the worst habit that I had… eating improperly and eating fast foods.

How has your transformation affected your family?My wife has lost close to 35 pounds. My daughter has lost close to 40 pounds. My son has lost 30.

Now that you’re at home, how have you continued your weight loss?I work out four times a day. I’m eating my meals and keeping up with my calories and I’m walking six miles in the night. I’m doing about 150-200 sit-ups every night, so I’ve stayed extremely, extremely active. I’ve been working on The Village and keeping distractions away from me and pushing on and concentrating on my weight loss. To date I’ve lost 80 pounds!