Julio Gomez Julio Gomez

Julio Gomez, who entered The Biggest Loser ranch at 407 pounds, lost his partner in the first elimination. Left to fight solo, the 40-year-old Chicago father of two was sent home after having one of the lowest weight-loss percentages in week four. TVGuide.com caught up with Gomez, who now weighs some 279 pounds.

TVGuide.com: After the first elimination, some of your fellow contestants felt you deserved to go home over your partner Alexandra. Do you think they didn't understand your workout process?
Julio Gomez: I completely think they didn't understand my workout process. That was a hard week for me, and the 13 pounds was a good weight loss ... I had no issue getting up at 6 in the morning, getting to the gym while other people were still asleep. If you want to call it hidden from them, maybe it was, or maybe while someone was at the pool, I was at the gym. I didn't feel it was necessary to work out as a group at that time; it was a personal thing for me where I had to get over my own hump. I wasn't an athlete growing up so it wasn't natural for me to go to the gym.

TVGuide.com: Was it hard to be the only team of one for a while?
I often ask myself if it was better or if it was worse because No. 1, I didn't have to worry about someone else, and No. 2, well, I didn't have to worry about someone else. So it was good and bad at the same time. I terribly missed Alexandra. If you notice in every shot of me, I'm wearing a black sweatband on my right wrist. I didn't start wearing that until Alexandra left and that was my little silent partner. Partners were encouraging each other and I didn't have that directly, but I had such good friends on the show who almost adopted me into their teams [so] by the end it was a lot of easier than when I started.

TVGuide.com: Are you gunning for the at-home prize?
Julio: I don't think most of us went on this showing thinking we're on a money-winning reality show. All of us are people with real issues, wanting to change our lives, going on a show that would not only afford us the best opportunity in the world to do so, but maybe inspire a few people along the way. If by chance we came out on top and won the money, that's just a bonus. So my answer to you is this: I'm going to keep going to the end of this thing like I promised my family and like I promised myself, [and] if I happen to win due to those efforts, that's just icing on the cake.

TVGuide.com: What's your go-to healthy recipe?
Julio: I was a big griller on the show and it's a low-fat way of cooking. I love just taking a chicken breast, seasoning it simply, then making a fresh pico de gallo or any topping like that, and layering it over. It gives you a fresh flavor and taste.

TVGuide.com: What about during the Chicago winter?
Julio: I'll roll my grill up to the patio door — I'm a griller at heart.