104 pounds lighter, Alabama 'Idol' Ruben Studdard works toward 'Biggest Loser' finale (video)
Mary Colurso | firstname.lastname@example.org
By Mary Colurso | email@example.com
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on November 12, 2013 at 2:48 PM, updated November 13, 2013 at 6:29 PM
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- He's 358 pounds
, and counting.
That's the latest from Ruben Studdard, who's continued his campaign for weight loss and health after being cut from the cast of "The Biggest Loser."
During a recent teleconference, the Birmingham resident (and former "American Idol" winner) revealed that he's lost 104 pounds thus far
-- a significant drop from his starting weight of 462 pounds.
Do the math, and you'll find that Studdard, 35, has shed 65 extra pounds since leaving the NBC reality series
. Upon his exit, he tipped the scales at 423 pounds.
"I’m doing great," Studdard said. "You know, still on the same plan I was on, and I’m just moving forward."
Episodes of "The Biggest Loser" are filmed in advance; it's not clear how long Studdard has been off the show's ranch, working toward the finale on his own. We do know that he was the second person to leave among the 15 contestants on Season 15. Studdard spent about four weeks on the ranch, supervised by trainer Dolvett Quince.
Studdard's still eligible for the $100,000 at-home prize, awarded to one of the eliminated contestants during a weigh-in on the final episode of the season. (Gina McDonald of Hoover won the at-home prize on Season 14.)
Ruben Studdard 101513Ruben Studdard said he got no special treatment as a celebrity contestant on "The Biggest Loser." "Honestly, some days I kind of wished they would have treated me differently," he said. "Maybe the workouts would have been a little easier. But no, they didn't. It was like everybody at the ranch is on an equal playing field." (NBC photo | Trae Patton)
Studdard, an R&B singer, said he wasn't about to second-guess his time on "The Biggest Loser" ranch. His progress there varied from week to week; Studdard dropped 21 pounds the first week, followed by 10 pounds, 3 pounds and 5 pounds on subsequent weeks.
"I don’t think that there was anything that I could have done differently," he said. "I think we all are pretty much on the same regimen. We work as hard as we possibly can to achieve a team objective. … I lost 5 pounds in a week, and that wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t on the ranch. So, you know, people are excited about losing a pound in one week. For me it was a win-win all the way across the board."
Studdard -- the first celebrity to compete on "The Biggest Loser" and the heaviest contestant this season -- said he had no regrets about training with Quince.
"There’s a reason why Dolvett chose me," Studdard said. "He felt like I was strong willed, you know, and had what it takes to train with him. His workouts are ... I’d just have to say they’re pretty insane. And he knew that I possessed the mental toughness to get through them, so I’m glad that he chose me for his team."
During his tenure on the series, Studdard was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Although he called the doctor's report a shocker, Studdard said he was keeping the illness under control with diet and exercise. He's also feeling less stress during his workouts these days.
"Running on the treadmill is a lot easier," Studdard said. "I’ve taken on a promise to myself to have a more active lifestyle." Back in Birmingham, fans will be able to see a slimmer Studdard on Nov. 24, when he participates in the Magic City Half Marathon. The downtown race is a benefit for his Ruben Studdard Foundation for the Advancement of Children in the Music Arts.
Studdard also has resumed his music career -- he's recording an album with producer David Foster -- and that means plenty of travel. If you happen to see the Velvet Teddy Bear on a plane flight to Atlanta, Los Angeles or New York City, just know that he's feeling extra-comfy in his first-class seat.
"A big victory for me recently is no more seatbelt extensions," Studdard said. "That’s great."