Cathy Skell has spent years fighting addictions to alcohol and food, but her latest addiction is one she doesn't want to kick: spinning. She was eliminated in week 11 of
The Biggest Loser: Couples after her Blue team lost the weigh-in and had to vote someone home. Fearing a tie would end with her daughter and ranch partner Kristin sent packing, Cathy volunteered to go. TVGuide.com spoke with the 49-year-old mom, about losing 78 pounds to get down to 215, how it felt to complete a half-marathon, and if chewing gum really helps to curb those cravings.
TVGuide.com: What went through your head when you were given the challenge to run a half-marathon?
Cathy Skell: Oh my god, I'm lucky I'm running on a treadmill, much less a half-marathon! I was scared, I was so scared, and it turned out to be one of my greatest accomplishments.
TVGuide.com: How much of it did you run?
Skell: I paced myself where I ran and then walked a little and ran [for] the entire 13.1 miles. I made little points for myself: "I'm going to run to this section, then I'm going to walk," and then sometimes I'd push myself a little farther. I didn't have to stop at all, I just kept going the whole time.
TVGuide.com: Going back to the split into two teams, were you happy to stay with Bob, or did you want to work with Jillian?
Skell: It would have been great to train with Jillian but [I was] absolutely ecstatic that we stayed with Bob. I love Bob, there's that reason that we picked Bob, and I was glad we stayed with him, and Kristin and I got to stay together. That was an added plus.
TVGuide.com: Two episodes ago, Kristin was sitting out with injuries. Can you explain what happened?
Skell: Kristin had three herniated disks in her back. To this day, she's still suffering with it. She's a candidate for back surgery but she doesn't want to have it because she doesn't want it to interfere. She did have some back issues before, but with losing the weight your body kind of shifts a little. A lot of it too [was] that jumping challenge, a lot of the running, and all that impact. She's been a real trooper because she just fights through the pain.
TVGuide.com: Can you tell me more about your other daughters? Were they immediately inspired to lose weight with you, or did it take some urging to get them to the gym?
Skell: Well, they started once I left, because they knew Kristin's battled this her whole life [and] my daughter Carrie has gained it with children. They knew since we were going to be losing weight, they wanted to prepare themselves for when we came home. But nothing prepared them for when we came home with our reveal, and you could see by Carrie's reaction of "Wow." So once we did come home, they really bumped it up more. [It's] something we've never done as a family before, it's totally amazing.
TVGuide.com: At home, which is harder to keep up: the diet or exercise?
Skell: Right now, it's the exercise. The diet, I'm not struggling with it that much, but I am struggling with some hip issues. I meet with my trainer at 5:30 am and it's a half hour drive for me to get there, so yes, I get up at 4.
TVGuide.com: What's your go-to healthy snack?
Skell: Right now, I like yogurts or a piece of fruit. And I always keep gum with me. ... It honestly works because there are some wonderful flavors out. My trick is the cinnamon because it's so peppery and cinnamon-y that you lose taste, nothing else would even taste good after that.
TVGuide.com: What's the greatest lesson you learned from your trainer, Bob Harper?
Skell: The best lesson he taught me was to be proud of ourselves and our accomplishments. He showed me that I could pretty much do anything I put my mind to. He would have things up there for me to do, that Mandi was doing, and I would walk up there like, "Aren't you going to change that? You know I'm 49-years-old." And he would just look at me, and I would do it. It was amazing. If we're running sprints, he would just look at me and I'd look in his eyes and we didn't even have to say a word. I made it through it. What he taught me is that it is in myself and I can do it, there are no excuses why you can't.