updated 02/06/2014 AT 5:45 PM ET
•originally published 02/06/2014 AT 7:20 PM ET
But after returning to the show 45 lbs. lighter than she left it – for a total weight loss of 155 lbs. – the spotlight is now focused on whether Frederickson, 24, may have resorted to extreme measures to lose the additional weight in advance of the show’s Tuesday finale.
Currently a size 0/2 and 105 lbs., Frederickson herself briefly addressed the controversy in a conference call on Wednesday.
“First and foremost, my goals are to be healthy and strong,” the former competitive swimmer replied when asked about the backlash regarding her slender frame. “I’m an athlete. I’ve been an athlete since I was a little girl. And I went on The Biggest Loser journey to find that confidence that I lost.”
Asked about her diet and exercise regimen, the L.A.-based voice actress – who told reporters that her height is 5’5”, although her driver’s license states that she is 5’4” – specified that in the months leading up to the finale, she had been taking in 1,600 calories a day via five small meals while following the advice of the show’s dietitian, Cheryl Forberg.
“I just continued to follow the support system that I had from The Biggest Loser’s [diet] plan, Dr. Cheryl’s nutritional advice and … continued to eat super healthy.”
Citing several recipes from the Ranch, she said egg white French toast and an egg white, spinach, tomato and mushroom omelet are her “go-to breakfasts,” adding, “Now I cannot be out of the kitchen. I have this zest for looking up recipes and trying them and adding new vegetables.”
At the same time, she said she had been taking “maybe three, four classes a day” at the gym, including Zumba and spin. “I even went home over the holidays to Minnesota,” she said, “and I went running outside.”
Frederickson also spoke about the experiences that led her to The Biggest Loser at a peak weight of 260 lbs., including a breakup that sent her into a weight-gaining tailspin.
After quitting competitive swimming at 18 to move to Germany for a relationship, “the weight started coming on,” she said, “and when the relationship ended I just lost myself and then, little by little, as I went to pastry school, I just started to gain the weight and I hid more of myself until I came on the ranch six years later.”
Reiterating that she is now in “maintenance mode,” she said she was excited for “this next part of my journey, as my body balances and, you know, it finds its rhythm.”
Asked whether her maintenance routine would change now that the show has wrapped, she replied, “It’s going to be about finding, maybe doing a yoga class this day, a gym class this day and I even, I think I’m going to try dance classes.”
While The Biggest Loser trainers Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper have declined to address the firestorm surrounding Frederickson, citing their lack of involvement in her transformation, her trainer, Dolvett Quince, spoke out on Tuesday, saying, “Rachel’s health is and always has been my main concern and her journey to good health has not yet ended!”
Asked whether she felt she was now at a “healthy and sustainable” weight on Tuesday, Frederickson replied, “absolutely.”
Reporting by PATRICK GOMEZ