Ali Vincent’s loss was her gain. “The Biggest Loser” season 5 winner shed an incredible 112 pounds off her 234 pound frame. The former hairdresser from Mesa, Ariz., has managed to keep the sleek physique and will show off her athletic prowess at Sunday’s fourth annual Nautica South Beach Triathlon. Vincent, 36, will complete a half-mile ocean swim, a 19-mile bike course and four-mile run. We caught up with her before she started huffing.In your self help book, “Believe It, Be It , ” what is the biggest message? I wanted to share my story so that others just like me could realize that even if they find themselves at a place in their life that they are not happy with, they can change it. What do you think is the biggest impediment to losing weight? I think people struggle most with the thought that this is the journey of the rest of our lives. There is no end. Once I realized that, I was able to look past the weight loss and focus on being healthy. Do you have a guilty pleasure? I allow myself to have whatever I feel like. I don’t have as much of it, and I make sure that I account for it physically. I will say I have quite a sweet tooth these days, which is new. Before, I would have said I craved salty fat things but now I’m more of a sweet girl. I try to get a lot of those flavors in my protein shakes. How often do you exercise? I work out at least five days a week for a minimum of an hour. Usually a little more, because I like to do Pilates every day as well as some form of cardio. If I have no time, I always carry a jump rope and it will give you quite a burn quickly. What is the best tip anyone ever gave you in regards to food? I love to give the tip, “If you can’t taste it, don’t waste it.” What I mean by this is, cut back on extra ingredients that add calories and fat when you are not going to really taste it among all the other flavors. When you go to the grocery store, what is your biggest temptation? I love finding new things to add to my diet. Flour tortillas that you cook yourself are my biggest temptation, which I no longer think are worth the calorie value. What did you do with the $250,000 prize money? I mostly got out of debt, which was like getting rid of that last bit of weight weighing me down, and a new wardrobe of course. Do you love to go clothes shopping now? I love shopping, period. I used to buy tons of shoes and handbags, because they always fit. Now I’m a pretty true-to-form size 4, and 27 jeans, but sometimes I’m bigger and sometimes I’m smaller, depending on the label. Do you still weigh yourself? Do you weigh the same as you did after the show? I actually just started weighing myself again because I’ve gained a few pounds. When my clothes aren’t feeling the way I like them to I go back to the basics. I call it “Biggest Loser” mode!
Spectators are welcome to cheer on the participants (first race begins at 6:55 a.m.). There will be an expo with interactive stations open to the public at 10 a.m. For more info, go to www.nauticasobetri.com.