And The Biggest Loser is

Name:Michael Ventrella
Hometown:Bartlett, IL
Occupation: Self-employed mobile DJ
Favorite cheat food: D'Amato's Pizza, 1124 West Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL. They have the best pizza I have ever tasted in my life.
Goal for 2010: I don't have a specific weight I want to be at because I plan on body building after the show. Nothing professional, just enough to fill in my frame. I also just want to be able to walk into my doctor's office, have him smile at me and say, "You are healthy as you can be!"
Starting weight: 526

iVillage: What was your big turning point-either during the show or before that made you realize you needed to lose the weight?
I knew I had to change my life and get healthy when I started losing so many happy things in my life. I could not do the things that normally made me happy that everyone else just takes for granted -- like riding a roller coaster, going to the movies and sitting in one seat, traveling on a plane and sitting in one seat, etc. These things used to make me feel good and at that time they made me feel ashamed and embarrassed.

iVillage: What is one thing you wish you had known before going on The Biggest Loser?
I always knew how to exercise, I just wish I knew that it was better to eat on a schedule. Forget that breakfast-lunch-dinner exists and start eating small-portioned meals six times a day (instead of one big meal a day and not eating in the morning at all.)

Did you think it’s harder or easier to be on the show with a family member as a teammate as opposed to competing by yourself?
I loved the fact that my mother was on the show with me. Even though she was not on long, this opportunity didn't just change my life, it changed hers too! It also brought us so much more closer together. My amazing mother is not just my mom -- she's one of my best friends too now.

iVillage: If you could have done one thing differently during the show, what would it be?
Ummm... my first initial response would be "I wouldn't change anything", but as I think, I would say that during the times I really hurt and I felt like I was about to die, I would just go harder. Even to this day without Bob and  Jillian, I LOVE to push my body to the limits, really see what I am capable of.

What's the hardest thing to adapt to while living on the ranch?
One thing I never got used to being on the ranch was working around the production schedule and having to do certain things at certain times. Growing up I had two very strict Italian parents who always kept me under close guard and order. It reminded me of then, only this time by way more then just two people.

iVillage: What is one thing that keeps you motivated when you don't feel like working out or you want to eat junk food?
Even to this day with all the changes I have made mentally and physically, I still get small moments of weakness. I do one of two things. Either I allow myself to give in within moderation with the exception that I work off the calories, plus more before I eat junk food, or I remind myself that that food was the reason for all my wasted years of my life including risking my life to obesity. Plus I promised myself a body like David Beckham (LOL) I don't like letting myself down.

What is your favorite workout?
I love to mountain bike. While at home I would send out mass texts to all my friends asking who would like to go on crazy trails and five-hour (or more) rides with me. I kept close watch of my heart rate and time. It is that slow and steady burn that just makes the weight extremely drop. Plus I'm not in the gym and time flies when I'm having fun with my friends. (I also love to see them struggle doing things that are easy for me because it used to be very much the opposite way around only a few months ago. (Hehe).

What's the best advice Bob or Jillian has given you?
The best advice I got from the trainers was when Bob really helped me understand to celebrate me today -- really understand to enjoy the small victories and keep moving on to achieve others. In doing so, I just looked a few steps ahead of me every week on the ranch. I gave myself realistic goals and killed them every chance I had. It is greatly due to that method that I did how I well I did the whole season through.

iVillage: What is your favorite meal or snack?
I really enjoy snacking on almonds. I go into the grocery store and check out all the healthy flavors and types on the shelf and I honestly think I have tried them all. They are really great for quick energy after a workout or just a snack. What I love the most is they don't need to be prepped in a special way, just through a serving in a bag and go!

iVillage: What's something viewers at home wouldn't know from watching the show?
(LOL) I'm kind of a very quiet and private guy. I love my alone time. Especially, alone time working out while watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer on my portable DVD player in the gym. (LOL) Please don't Judge me... Ashley still teases me till this day about it.

The Other Final Four
Koli Palu
Daris George
Ashley Johnston

Watch The Biggest Loser on Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC.

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