She was portrayed as the villainous gal who was only in it for the money but Tracey, a 37-year-old homemaker from Allen, Tex., got the last laugh. While giving hugs to anyone who called her “unrecognizable” at the Dec. 9 finale of The Biggest Loser, Tracey talked to EW about her 87-lbs weight loss (from 250 to 132!), that fateful race at the start of the season, and her enviable dress size today. (Plus, a full list of everyone’s weight loss, after the Q &A.)

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You’ve been watching the show. How do you feel about how you were portrayed?

Everybody asks me that question…and it’s okay. The person I saw [portrayed on the show], I was like, “Are you kidding me?” I was being portrayed like a villain who’s mean and nasty, and I’m not really a mean and nasty person! I really had to get myself composed. It took me a couple of days. Once I did, I realized what I had to do to stay there. I was doing what I had to do to take care of me. No one saw me staying in the hospital for 10 days from heat stroke and wanting my chance. No one ever saw that. When I finally got myself up out of that bed and went to that ranch, I thought, “I am not going to stop.” I want to be where I want to be. I’m finally going to live the life that I love. That’s what I had to tell myself every day. I put myself in a cocoon.

When you go back and watch that moment you dropped to the ground, do you second-guess the show’s decision to make you run a mile? Did they put you in harm’s way?

You know, there were a bunch of fat people who needed to change their lives. I think it takes something drastic to start with to make us all wake up and say, “I need help!” I needed help. Did you see me when I ran out the gate? I was like, “I’m gonna kick your ass!” That’s what I said running after Daniel, and I got in my mind that I could do it! But my body was not going to allow me to do it. So it was something drastic that happened that day. It was a freak accident, but when I go back and look at it, it made me stronger.

Was it a safe weight loss program?

It is a safe program. Your body will not quit on you. And if it does, you have to keep going. I was the perfect example of that. My body quit on me because I couldn’t do that mile. But I overcame it and kept going. And look at me now!

Look at you! Are you a size 2 or 4?

I’m a 2! I was a size 22 when I got on the ranch. I lost 20 sizes. 20 sizes! They had to take in my finale dress every single week. We brought three wardrobe changes.


Final Weights

Danny 191 (down from 430)

Rudy 208 (442)

Amanda 163 (250)

Rebecca 140 (279)

Tracey 132 (250)

Julio 227 (407)

Antoine 215 (367)

Abby 147 (247)

Shay 304 (476)

Allen 209 (325)

Daniel 201 (312)

Sean 289 (444)

Liz 176 (267)

Dina 174 (253)

Alexandra 218 (309)

Coach Mo 263 (355)