By People Staff
Updated October 22, 2009 12:00 AM
Credit: Trae Patton/NBC

Although the Blue Team won the chance to go home during a grueling sand-digging challenge, they gave up their tickets to the Black team and stayed at the Ranch with Bob for a week. Their choice paid off as the Black team lost the weigh-in. Although Daniel disappointed the group by gaining a pound, the Black Team ultimately sent Dina Mercado, a 27-year-old custodian from Commerce, Calif., packing. Beginning her journey at 253 lbs., Dina now weighs 178 lbs. She spoke to reporters about her time on the Ranch and more importantly, her time back home. –Melody Chiu

Even though Daniel gained weight, did you sense that you would still be the one to go home?That’s initially what I was hoping for … I wish they would have thought twice and kept the Black Team strong, but instead they went with friendship, and I wasn’t too surprised.

You successfully jumped on to the box. How long did it take you to actually master that and what went through your mind the first time you got up there?I came home and I found a trainer right away. That was one of the first things I mentioned to my trainer, that I couldn’t jump on this box. He wanted me to, and I said no. I wasn’t ready … I put it on a time-out, but I had to face it, and I wanted it bad … He had me jumping about three to four inches higher than the box, but when I came to the box, I still couldn’t do the box for probably a couple of weeks. He was like, “Dina, you’re jumping higher than the box … You go over there, you know you’re going to do it and you commit to it and you do it.” … That big word “commit” stood in my head, and … ultimately, when I did get up on that box … it was like me committing to my future and committing to myself that anything is possible and that I can do anything … And that’s just awesome.

How does your son help you stay in shape?When we came back home, we went and bought several different things so that way we can do lots of things together. We went and bought rollerblades and we rollerblade together. I go to the beach quite a bit and do beach workouts sometimes with my trainer, and he also comes along. We just do a lot of outdoor activities, I guess you could say, so that way I can still spend my time with him and still get a decent amount of time working out in. Several times, I do go to the gym alone while he’s at school right when I get out of work, and so I am able to hit the gym alone.

You were disappointed at your husband for all that he ate at the restaurant during your last episode. Has he changed at all?Coming home my husband had a little bit difficult time. He’s gotten on board now. He’s trying really hard to stick with everything that I’ve pretty much been doing myself. He’s very proud of me and he’s ready to start it and he’s come quite a ways. If you see him now today compared to what you saw on the show, you could tell that he’s lost some weight and he’s looking good.

What is the best thing you can do now that you were not able to do when you were at your starting weight on the Ranch?The best thing is being able to just participate with my son in whatever he does. He’s very affiliated into sports programs, and I love the fact that I can not just watch anymore. No more bleachers for me. I’m out there, and I get very involved and running and playing and just not being tired. Being able to keep up with a 9-and-a-half year old is just amazing, and I am loving it. Trae Patton/NBC