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Abby Rike: 'The Biggest Loser' experience was a "great catalyst"


By Christopher Rocchio, 10/29/2009 

Abby Rike described her The Biggest Loser journey as a "great catalyst" for regaining the light in her life that others thought was permanently extinguished when her husband and children were killed in a 2006 car accident.

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"I think that it's one of those things that when things are really tough and really sad it's hard for people to know what to say. And I get that completely," Rike told reporters during a Wednesday conference call. 

"But then whenever something great is happening its like people are comfortable coming up and supporting you and saying all the things that they thought this whole time.  And so I think that The Biggest Loser was just the greatest venue for showing the world that I wasn't just falling apart and that I was still here and still a part of life."

The 35-year-old teacher from Mabank, TX became the seventh contestant eliminated from The Biggest Loser's eighth season during Tuesday night's broadcast of the NBC reality competition.

Rike volunteered to be ousted from the competition after her Black Team lost their second consecutive weigh in -- a decision she still doesn't regret.

"I'm very comfortable with that. I went on the show to get a life back, and I felt like I was getting it," she explained.

"It was never a game for me -- it was never about a prize money -- the prize for me was life.  And so at that moment I felt like I was really, really, blessed and these precious children that I love it was just what needed to be done, it was the right choice for me."

Rike added that she isn't sure when the thought of volunteering to leave first crossed her mind, however she thinks it was when her friend and fellow Black Team member Shauntina "Shay" Sorrells failed to win immunity.

"Whenever Shay was standing on the scale and she was not the highest percentage winner -- at that point I could tell that it was like the decision had been made. It had been an incredibly emotional week," Rike told reporters, adding she would "take a bullet" for Sorrells.

Rike described herself as "naive" when she first arrived on The Biggest Loser campus to begin her weight-loss journey.

"I just wanted to feel better. I've tried several things -- I never quit trying -- it's just things weren't working.  And so when I went on there it was kind of like, 'Okay, I am here and I am willing to try anything at this point.' As I went through and the relationships that developed and things like that I realized that I started physically feeling better," she explained.  "The tears and the sweat were so healing for me."

Since she was suffering from a stress fracture that hindered her workout abilities, Rike said she spent a lot of time by herself in the pool.

"So I had lots of time for reflection and thinking and those types of moments," she said.

"I guess it was just that whole culmination of 'I was feeling' again. And even [though] it was pain it was feelings. And then it was happiness... It was just that sort of feeling again. And then it was like, 'Okay, what do I want to do with my life?' That ball just started rolling. But that really started rolling more probably once I got home. I think it was just that whole concept of feeling again."

Now that she is home, Rike said she's come to terms with the fact that her biggest support system -- her late husband -- is no longer physically there for her. However she said she has found support elsewhere.

"I think I realized that there is no one person that can fulfill that many roles for me," she explained. "And so the beauty of it is that I have learned that I have a very, very wide range and support group that I lean on. And so it's just not one person. I'm blessed to have lots of people that support me and further my journey."

Rike said she took the year from teaching to continue on her personal journey as thinks a speaking career might be in her future.

"That's probably where I'm being lead right now, is to go into that full time," she said.

"I love teaching, I love it. I think to do it well it takes so much emotional energy for the day in and day out to be what I've always tried to be and have pretty much been. And so I don't know that I would have the chance to do more to be on a bigger scale about getting out of the classroom and speaking to larger groups of kids and being exposed to so many more kids as well as businesses and whatever."

In addition, Rike said she's not concerned about what her ultimate weight-loss is at The Biggest Loser's live eighth-season finale in December.

"Whatever number ends up popping up at the end is just going to have to be what it is because I've done it 1,000% the right way," she said. "I eat my calories, I drink tons of water, I get rest and I have friends and family that I love. And so it's just a great place to be."

(Photo credit NBC)


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