‘The Biggest Loser’: First Female Winner of Reality Show Shares Her Heartbreaking Story

When Ali Vincent became the first woman to win The Biggest Loser weight loss competition in 2008, it was a watershed moment for the NBC reality show.

Ali Vincent winning Season 5 of 'The Biggest Loser' in 2008
Ali Vincent winning Season 5 of ‘The Biggest Loser’ in 2008 | Dave Bjerke/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

The Biggest Loser had been on the air since 2004 when Vincent won. While she did enjoy her success for quite a few years, the weight has crept back on the 44-year-old.

Ahead of The Biggest Loser‘s reboot premiere on Jan. 25, Vincent discussed her real feelings about the show and its being brought back.

Find out more about what led Vincent to regain the weight after having worked so hard to lose it.

Vincent’s big win on ‘The Biggest Loser’

At the beginning of the fifth season, showrunners decided if a woman didn’t win that year, they would begin crowning male and female winners the following season. The Biggest Loser had been on the air for four years and each year, it seemed its female contestants were simply unable to lose the same amount of body fat as their male counterparts in so short a period of time.

left to right: 'The Biggest Loser' host Ali Sweeney; trainer Jillian Michaels; Ali Vincent; and trainer Bob Harper in 2008
left to right: ‘The Biggest Loser’ host Ali Sweeney; trainer Jillian Michaels; Ali Vincent; and trainer Bob Harper in 2008 | Dave Bjerke/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Vincent changed that with her win. She lost 112 pounds over 30 weeks, winning the $250,000 prize.

“I was not about to let that happen on my watch. I didn’t want a special category to win. I wanted to just win, plain and simple,” Vincent told Yahoo Lifestyle. “I honestly never would have thought being part of such an experience would have such a profound impact on my life.”

The terrifying incident that caused Vincent to regain the weight

After her win, Vincent went on to host her own program, Living Big with Ali Vincent on the Live Well network.

She explained how an incident of sexual abuse played a major role in her regaining over 100 pounds.

“I was getting a massage and I fell asleep, as I often do in massages, and I felt so safe in this place, I had no guard up. And I woke up to — I woke up to someone feeling in my vagina,” Vincent told People in 2016.

Ali Vincent talks to Oprah Winfrey in 2016 about gaining back over 100 pounds

“And I was just like in shock, like what’s going on, what’s happening? And then I just jumped up and I ran out and just hid. And I was sitting there in a ball and I was just shaking, and I don’t know how to explain it. But I just was so afraid. I was scared.”

“I haven’t talked about it because it’s not something you just talk about,” she says. “A lot of things have changed over the last couple of years in my life. I moved here, to Northern California. My routine completely changed. I’ve realized, over the last year, as I’ve gained this weight, it was so much of my life slowed down, that a lot of stuff came up that I just hadn’t dealt with.”

Vincent faced a slippery slope

Vincent has, as she noted, moved on with her life, married her longtime partner, and even underwent IVF treatments, all enough stress to cause anyone to let go of their fitness plans and gain weight.

Ali Vincent in 2016
Ali Vincent in 2016

Still, Vincent doesn’t let herself off easy. She shared that she felt a personal sense of shame at allowing the weight to creep back up on her.

“When I first went on the show I weighed 234.7, and now I’m, like, 234.8,” Vincent told Us Weekly in 2016. “People recognize me but … they never even put it together that I was the girl that won The Biggest Loser.” 

“When I tell them how they know me, they look me up and down with this confused look on their face. It makes me not want to leave the house.”

Read more: Should ‘The Biggest Loser’ Reboot Even Bother?: Former ‘Losers’ Who Gained It All Back