Helen Phillips knows age is nothing but a number. The 48-year-old mother from Michigan beat out 19-year-old Mike Morelli and 24-year-old Tara Costa to take home the grand prize on The Biggest Loser: Couples. The five-foot-six-inch Phillips, who went from a size 22 to a 2, lost more than half her body weight as she slimmed down to a svelte 117 pounds. She talked with TVGuide.com about her weight-loss secrets, how she plans to maintain her current frame, and why she calls her daughter and Biggest Loser partner Shanon a "rock star."
TVGuide.com: Congratulations on winning. How do you feel?
Helen Phillips: I feel wonderful. I feel like a winner.
TVGuide.com: How did you lose so much weight at home?
Phillips: I ended up finding a trainer, actually three trainers, and I went back to the old-school type of training [like] running up and down bleacher stairs. I was on such a strict regimen, I would get up at 4:30 every morning, hit the gym [for] two hours in the morning, two hours in the afternoon, and two hours in the evening. In between, of course, plenty of good food and rest. So it paid off.
TVGuide.com: Were you working at all?
Phillips: No, not at that point... I was concentrating on finishing my journey.
TVGuide.com: Do you think you can maintain this weight?
Phillips: Because of my age, I have some loose skin because I've dropped 140 pounds. I knew that was going to happen, however, I haven't really been toning my muscles. So what I plan on doing now is working on toning, and working on building some muscle strength for upper body, abs, lower body. So just that alone will put on a few pounds here and there, which is fine because there's no body fat, it will all be lean muscle.
TVGuide.com: Going into the finale, were you worried about America choosing Mike?
Phillips: I had a feeling America would choose Mike and honestly, the way that I was working out, and the dedication that I had at home, I knew that I was going to do my best and I was going to try to get to my goal weight, which was 120. Well, I went below that and I couldn't have been happier. I really was never afraid, I was never nervous. I knew that whatever happened I could look back with no regret [and] that I did everything in my power to get to the lowest weight that I wanted to be at. I came back to the ranch with so much confidence that I was going to win this thing, but I did tell myself that no matter what happened, I was a winner, because look what I had accomplished.
TVGuide.com: How is your daughter Shanon doing? Is it her goal to lose the kind of weight you have?
Phillips: Shanon is doing remarkably well, she is a rock star. The best moment for me with Shanon is when she looked at me and said, "Mom, I'm doing so well. It may be coming off a little bit slower, but I'll never be what I was before. I'll incorporate exercise and a good nutritional diet plan in my life from now on." And for me as her mother, looking at her telling me this, I couldn't have been happier because this is a lifestyle change. It's not about how low can you go, it's about being a healthy, normal weight, and that's what I want to see my daughter at.