By People Staff
Updated January 15, 2009 12:00 AM
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Credit: Michael Caulfield/WireImage

In a heart-wrenching elimination that even had host Ali Sweeney wiping away tears, the show’s oldest contestants, Jerry and Estella Hayes, were sent home. The lovable 63-year-old grandparents of Team White were off to a scary start when Jerry collapsed in the gym on the first day. After bouncing back with an incredible 25-lb. weight loss in the first week, Jerry hit a roadblock in the dreaded second week and fell below the yellow line with Daniel Wright, 19, his good friend and the heaviest contestant in Biggest Loser history. In the end, Jerry was sent home to reunite with his wife and partner, Estella. With the support of his family and those emails from Jillian, he has lost 96 lbs. so far! Jerry spoke with reporters recently about his collapse on the show, how he’s getting fit and why Bob the trainer blew up at another contestant. — Rebecca Gross

How much do you think your age factored into your physical fitness?I don’t think it’s so much my age as much as it’s the fact that I was on a couch for 25 years not doing anything. As far as being old, I think I’m okay. I’m not going to be as fast or as strong as a 27-year-old, I know that. I’m not going burn the calories they burn or lose as fast. I’m getting my metabolism up and everything is working.

What’s the main difference in your life after being on the show?I was a diabetic; I’m not a diabetic anymore. It’s gone — there’s no evidence of diabetes anymore. My blood pressure is well under control. My cholesterol is, I believe, lower than an 18-year-old. It’s unbelievable!

How did you feel about them keeping Daniel when you were voted off?I love Daniel. I wanted him there. I actually talked to them and said they had to choose me. I had my wife and kids at home who were all very supportive. Daniel is very young and has his whole life ahead of him. They came to the right conclusion. I didn’t want to leave, don’t get me wrong. Daniel is a very special person, he’s going to be a Baptist minister and he’s just a kind and nice man. We are friends and talk all the time.

What is your favorite healthy thing to eat now and what is your biggest temptation?I like yogurt with fruit in it. Besides the yogurt, my favorite foods are the same as before, we just modify them. I eat an omelet for breakfast like I did before, but the omelet I eat now is made out of egg whites and the calories are about a third of what it was, but it tastes the same to me. And I love spaghetti and I still have it but it’s wheat spaghetti with turkey meatballs and it’s much more healthy. The temptation is there but I haven’t fallen off the wagon.

What is your advice for other grandparents who are discouraged about exercising?You need help and I have a trainer here. You just have to start slow but you got to get your mind on it and keep trying and trying. You’ll get faster; you’ll get stronger. You got to challenge yourself and you need support whether it is a spouse or friend. The health center we go to has a community of older who feed off of each other. You just got to believe.

What did learn at the ranch that you were able to bring home with you and incorporate in your regimen to be so successful and drop 96 pounds?The doctor recommended a 2 hour cardio program and on top of that, I do another hour either with my trainer or I do weights that my trainer has laid out for me. I found that I cannot get into a weight room by myself without directions because I have the tendency to over-lift and I’ve always screwed up a muscle or something in my years of experience. But it’s essentially 3 hours a day. The diet is the same as the diet they laid out for us up there … We follow the program and journal everything we eat. Me and Stella measure and we weigh everything. I’ve never read so many food packages in my life.

Did your trip to the hospital in the first week put any limitations on your exercise program that may have led to your disappointment on the scale in week two?No. The first week I lost 25 pounds. But I was walking a lot for exercise and trying to make it up there. And by walking a lot I got these blisters on my foot and it made me do the bike more. But I think I lost so much weight the first week that the second week I didn’t recover from it. Once they found out my heart was okay, that took three days, I wasn’t limited in what I could do except for the blisters on my foot.

Was there something that happened in the second week that we didn’t see, which led to Bob’s big blow-up in the gym other than Joelle’s inability to stay on the treadmill for 30 seconds?No, you saw it. Sometimes she just wouldn’t do the workouts. In the gym, there would be homework where for three or four hours we’d have to do our own program because they wouldn’t always be there but they’d tell us what to do and we’d do it. And she wouldn’t always follow that; she was doing her own thing at times. It just led up to it. But what you saw, I saw too, and I just couldn’t believe it. I guess he just got frustrated.

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