updated 03/15/2012 AT 10:00 PM ET
•originally published 03/17/2012 AT 10:00 AM ET
“Everyone saw me as a threat,” eliminated contestant Emily Joy explained in a chat with reporters Thursday, after she fell a pound short of safety at the weigh-in this week.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Joy said of standing on the scale. “I knew right then and there I was going home. There was no amount of fight that I could give.”
But she’s not letting an early departure get her off course. “I’m glad to go out that way because I’m strong,” she said, “and I’m going to hit it hard and win the at-home prize.”
As a former competitive weightlifter, she has had that fighting spirit since the age of eight – but says she lost it over time.
“It slowly started to dwindle when I moved out of the house and started my career,” said Joy, 29, who struggled with balancing work with diet and exercise.
And while Biggest Loser rejuvenated her confidence, being home in Huntersville, N.C., has been challenging. “I’m working full-time and I have to sprinkle in six hours of hardcore working out,” said Joy, a teacher. “I also have to manage my diet which means prepping my food. I’m still really dealing with that time-management excuse.”
Still, Joy has lost 74 lbs. since starting The Biggest Loser.
“Shopping is just so much more fun now,” said Joy, who now weighs 190 lbs. “The confidence I get from being able to put on something I wasn’t able to before is amazing. It substitutes the feeling of wanting food.”