Jill Carmen/NBC
January 20, 2010 12:00 AM

On Tuesday’s Biggest Loser, one team member had to teach exercise and nutrition lessons from trainers Bob and Jillian to their teammate, whose result at the weigh-in would be the only one counted for elimination. Even though the trainers got into a heated exchange with the Red Team, it was the White Team that fell below the yellow line, sending mom Maria Ventrella home. The 51-year-old corporate travel agent from Chicago — who started out at 281 lbs., lost 57 on campus and is now at 224 lbs. — spoke to reporters Wednesday about working out, playing the game and shopping for clothes to fit her new butt-free body! –Nina Tyler

How have you managed to continue your weight loss at home?Determination. Once I got home from the Ranch I understood that this is making me feel good. Originally I went to the Ranch thinking about saving my son’s life because of his big amount of weight, and it was a matter of waking up and saying, “Hey, this is for you, too. You’re feeling great, you’re feeling good … continue!” That’s what I’ve been doing.

What are you doing now to put yourself first?Everyday I set aside so much time for me and it’s actually not only physically helping me, but it’s mentally helping me too. It’s making me understand that I’m important … I never thought about myself. I would eat when I was upset and I’ve learned not to do that anymore … Emotional eating is the worst type of eating that you can do because you don’t have control of it. After you’ve eaten, you feel even worse than what you started with … I have to understand my life is here; I only have one life and I have to start living it.

What did you learn at the Ranch that you incorporate into your daily life?They did teach me a lot about changing the fat — we cook with a lot of oils and fry, but I don’t do that anymore. It’s a lot of baking and broiling now.

Do you think were starting to play the game at the Ranch?Definitely. The first week — it’s like a marriage, the honeymoon week. As the time goes on, the more reality hits. The game is being played … Everyone wants to be the Biggest Loser.

What’s your impression of the Red Team? Do you think Melissa threw the weigh-in?Yes. I think she knew she wasn’t the one that was weighing in and I think her thoughts were that as long as her weight was not counting, she was going to try and keep the big number for the week that her weight will count. She’s a very smart lady. She’s playing the game.

Have around you been inspired to lose weight also?My husband has lost 42 pounds since I’ve come back! I have nieces on my husband’s side that have all started exercising. Even my son’s friends — they’re all at the gym with me and it’s so weird because I’m out with these young guys but I keep up with them. I feel pretty good!

Have you been shopping for clothes? What’s great about it is that I don’t have to go in a plus-sized store anymore. I’m really, really happy. Clothes fit me so much better and they all tell me, “Where’s your butt? You lost your butt.” I go, “Thank God!” Jill Carmen/NBC

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