Credit: Trae PattonNBC

After losing 155 lbs. on season 7 of The Biggest Loser, Tara Costa is ready for a new challenge. Costa, 25, plans to run the New York City marathon on Nov. 1. And it would be unwise to bet against her: Costa won more challenges than any other contestant in the history of The Biggest Loser. We asked Costa about how she’s keeping up with her new lifestyle, why she wants to run 26.2 miles and whether she’s ready for her new assignment, blogging about season 8 of The Biggest Loser for when the show returns to NBC on Sept. 15. –Aaron Parsley

Since the show ended, have you kept up with exercise?At first I was very skeptical of allowing myself to go out with friends on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I knew that on Saturday mornings I would be doing my long jog with my workout buddies and I didn’t want to jeopardize feeling sluggish. I make choices now — some days my workouts are far more intense than the average and others are just an hour of a fun activity with friends.

How about your diet?Everyday I make a promise to myself to stay away from the foods that led me to be 300 pounds. I still have to keep myself in check — I log my food into a Blackberry application that tracks my calories … I do not deprive myself of anything. If I want something, I eat it. I no longer eat the whole container or bag, but I have a portion. But my cravings have changed. I no longer crave chicken wings and fries. I would rather have a grilled veggies and chicken kebab.

What made you decide to run the New York City marathon?I was born and raised in New York. Growing up as a little girl I was in love with New York City — the action, the different smells, the bright lights. Then I lived in New York and took advantage of all the great pizza joints, bakeries and restaurants, but never once stepped foot in Central Park or seen the Statue of Liberty. I want to prove to myself that I can be active in my old environment and embrace everything that New York has to offer.

What’s your training plan? I am so excited that I will be working with the New York Road Runners online training program. It is hard for me to dedicate a definitive time and place on a weekly basis to train, so this online training program will offer me the guidance and flexibility that I need.

Are you anxious now that you’ve decided to do the marathon?I was watching a video clip from a past N.Y.C. marathon and couldn’t help but get the butterflies in my stomach, realizing that will soon be me … I want to experience what it will be like to run with thousands of other and relish in the fact that a year ago I would have never thought this would be happening.

Can you share your best dieting tip or trick?Just because I lost weight, doesn’t mean that I don’t have an appetite anymore. Around 4 p.m. every afternoon I am famished, so I chug 20 ounces of water so I don’t snack before dinner. If 20 minutes after drinking the water I am still hungry, I pop a piece of gum. If that fails, I go for a small garden salad. If that doesn’t work, it means I’m bored I get out of house and I go for a walk with my dog or friend.

What’s been the most enjoyable thing about your life since losing the weight?Everything! I am creating a new life for myself, and I am doing everything and anything. It’s hard sometimes because I still have a “fat girl” mentality where I find myself second-guessing most situations. I actually have to talk myself into things because it is scary going shopping for a bathing suit, but even scarier wearing that suit at the beach!

Are you excited to blog about the new season of The Biggest Loser? What will you be watching for?I can’t wait to blog about season 8 of the Biggest Loser. It is going to be so nostalgic for me. When the Biggest Loser airs, it will be one year ago that I stared my own journey and … it will allow me to reminisce on all of the fun I had. I also can’t wait to see Jillian and Bob kick some major butt! Michael Caulfield/WireImage