Pink is the new black! For the third consecutive time, a Pink Team woman trained by Jillian Michaels has won the title of the Biggest Loser. Helen Phillips, a 48-year-old mother of two from Sterling Heights, Mich., went from 257 lbs. to 117 lbs., dropping a whopping 140 lbs. (and 20 dress sizes!) to become the winner of season 7.
“The energy here is so unbelievable,” Phillips tells PEOPLE after a shower of confetti lined the finale stage. “But I feel so good! I feel like I can do anything.”
Phillips beat out 19-year-old Mike Morelli, who lost 207 lbs. to go from 388 lbs. to 181 lbs., and 24-year-old Tara Costa, who started at 294 lbs. but lost 155 lbs. to get to 139 lbs.
“My mom is really motivated,” says Phillips’s daughter Shanon Thomas, 29, who herself lost 92 lbs. as part of The Biggest Loser: Couples. “She is just as tough mentally as she is physically. I knew she had just as good of a shot as anybody. She’s come such a long way — when I look at her I have to do a double-take. I’m so proud of her.”
Also proud is trainer Michaels. “I always want the underdog to triumph,” she says. “Helen is 48, she was the smallest contestant, she was absolutely an afterthought and she ended up beating everyone’s percentages. But I’m willing to let a man win next year!”
A man did take home a prize this season: Jerry Hayes, 64, took home this year’s $100,000 at-home prize after losing 177 lbs. “I was wondering if I was going to get to my 65th birthday,” Hayes tells PEOPLE. “Now I’m thinking, well, maybe 90’s okay! I feel so much better. The whole thing is wonderful. I’m enjoying my grandkids and my family.”
As for how Phillips will celebrate her $250,000 win, she says, “I really, really, really want to take my husband Russell to the Bellagio in Las Vegas! I really want to take him there for a nice break because he has been such a support system to me. I want to lay by the pool, go out to lunch, and be able to go work out in the middle of the day and have a nice salad somewhere and relax!” — Cynthia Wang and Rebecca Gross
For more on Helen, Tara and Mike, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday.
Tell us: Are you surprised by Helen’s win and weight loss?