'The Biggest Loser' 's Blake Benge: I Wanted to Lose Weight for the Wrong Reasons

"In my head, I was going to lose the weight because my parents wanted me to lose the weight," the reality show contestant tells PEOPLE

Photo: Trae Patton/NBC

Blake Benge says she’s tried every diet under the sun, but it wasn t until she changed her outlook that she started to lose the weight.

“You name it, I tried it,” the 19-year-old Biggest Loser contestant tells PEOPLE of her life spent on diets. “When I was out with my friends, I wanted to eat pizza with them and have popcorn at the movies. Then when I would come home, I would be back on a diet. It was always this flip-flop of being on a diet at home and then binge-eating when I got a little freedom.”

And things went from bad to worse for Benge when she went off to college.

“My first year of college was awful. I locked myself into a room. I’d eat. I wouldn’t socialize. And I’d see everybody posting photos on social media and I was jealous,” she says. “I was jealous that I wasn t having fun and I wasn t posting all these photos for people to like.”

Benge was actually planning on getting surgery to help her lose the weight but everything changed when her mother came across an ad to audition for The Biggest Loser.

But even after she was cast on the NBC reality weight-loss competition, Benge still felt like she was trying to lose weight for the wrong reasons.

“In my head, I was going to lose the weight because my parents wanted me to lose the weight,” she says. “But as soon as I got to that ranch, I realized, ‘I don t want to be overweight the rest of my life. I want to change things.’ ”

And although she was eliminated from the show on Thursday, Benge has lost a total of 90 lbs. and now weighs in at 161 lbs.

“I want to be a role model to other young kids who are overweight and are having struggles,” says the Redlands, California, native. “I want to show them that with hard work and dedication, you can lose the weight and you can be the person you want to be when you grow up.”

For now, Benge says her main focus is competing for the at-home prize, but she is looking forward to heading back to school after the finale and starting the life she has dreamed of living.

“I’ll go back to college and I’ll meet friends and I’ll go out,” she says. “My life will just be a regular 19-year-old life – but healthy this time.”

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