Q&A with Marissa Jaret Winokur

Q: The contestants and the audience seem to love you. How does it feel to be a kind of hero to them?
A: It's really exciting to be a mentor to a group of people and actually be with them on a daily basis, rather than just meet them at Target! When I was on Dancing With The Stars , I was just a bigger girl dancing on a dance show. And then I realized how much it impacted so many people. I was getting the worst scores and America just kept voting to keep me in. And it was because they thought, "I look like her. I move like her." They saw themselves in me.

Then, when I met the Dance Your Ass Off contestants, it was the same thing. And by the end of the show, they said, "You inspire me because of what you did on Dancing With The Stars . That's why I want to do this show. You made me want to get off my butt and do something, and feel not-scared of showing my body and showing my skin, and being proud of who I am."

Q: Do you have a regular workout routine?
A: Well I can honestly say that during the show and after [my son] Zev came home from the hospital, I didn't work out at all. So that was really bad. But since we wrapped the show, I definitely got back to it, and honestly that was because of the contestants. They did this in just ten weeks and I haven't worked out since we started this show. It was a wakeup call for me. I started losing weight a while back, before I did Dancing With The Stars . I lost 45 pounds by dancing and then I lost 15 more during the show. So dancing is really what does it for me. And I started counting my calories. There is no magic pill. I wish there was, but there isn't.

I do as much as I can with my son. I walk with him. I play music. I dance around the house. He does this really cute thing when I do pushups or sit-ups. He will literally climb on top of me. And it's hilarious, because he adds like 25 extra pounds. It's become our family joke that my son doesn't really want me to work out, so he makes it harder for me.

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