Going along with season 8’s theme of second chances, Biggest Loser: Couples fan favorite Daniel Wright, now 20, gets back on the Ranch when The Biggest Loser returns to NBC tonight (8 p.m. EST). At last season’s May finale, Wright weighed in at 312 lbs., losing 142 lbs. total, from a starting point of 454 lbs. “I am still obese,” he says, “but I am halfway there.” PEOPLE talked to Wright about coming back to Loser, his diet now and whether he’d like to train with Bob or Jillian. –Cynthia Wang
When did you know you were coming back?The producers asked me at the finale! It’s a chance at losing 100 pounds and if I can do it faster here than at home, I’ll do it.
Did you plateau at home? You did lose 82 pounds there. I definitely established a rhythm but the only thing difficult was trying to exercise as much as I have to to keep losing the weight that I have. But I did a 5K. I think I did it in 49 or 50 minutes, so that was great, like a 14 to 15-minute mile. But I want to be able to run faster and longer.
How has your diet changed?I love fish. I love turkey burgers. I try not to eat out because food out has too much salt. When I go out with friends, I take my food with me. Mondays and Wednesdays and sometimes Saturdays, I will cook my food and keep it for a couple days in a lunch box cooler and carry it with me. I will order water and a diet soda and call it a day.
So no old cravings?At the finale, all of us contestants had to take a little break and a lot of the old foods I liked — I tried a pizza, a burger or two — the issue was I didn’t want them any more. I kind of felt gross and I actually wanted to go running! That was the weird part. I never thought that after five or six months of continually moving and feeling like you are sore and in pain would get me to the point where I feel healthy and don’t want to hurt my body the way I used to.
Do you have something you like to cook now?I like veggies and brown rice. The cool thing to do with brown rice is take little pieces of apple and microwave them in some water, which kind of sounds gross but it softens them up kind of like an apple pie, and you take the little pieces of apple and put them in the brown rice, and take like half a serving of sugar-free maple syrup, which is, like, 15-20 calories, and mix it up and put cinnamon on top.
Are you starting to be more positive when you look in the mirror?I am starting to. Cutting my hair helped a lot with that! Just taking a hard look in the mirror and seeing myself shrink and things starting to shape up is kind of great. I’m still big, I still feel my weight, so sometimes the mind goes, ‘I’m still fat,’ but in reality, I didn’t know my space. I still think I take up more room in public. It’s trying to re-visualize reality.
Do you want to work with Jillian again or switch to Bob?I love Jillian to death but I don’t mind who I get. The best thing is Bob and Jill, they really care about the contestants. It’s best not to attach myself to them because at home, I’m not going to have them. The fear for me this time is different. I lost more on my own than on the Ranch. My fear this time is letting myself down that I didn’t go all the way. I am no longer afraid of if I can do this at home, because I know I can.
Tell us: Are you excited for Daniel to come back? Chris Haston/NBC