Even before the 15th season of "The Biggest Loser" kicked off in October, Ruben Studdard was praising producers for giving him an opportunity to compete.
"This show has given me a second chance to live a better life not just, you know, professionally but personally," he said. "It’s really given me an opportunity to put me first and not to put my career ahead of my health, and that’s what I've been doing for the past couple of years."
On Tuesday's evening's Halloween special of the NBC series, viewers were saddened to see Studdard eliminated from competition. The 35-year-old, despite losing an impressive 39 pounds over four weeks of hard work, did not lose the required 11 pounds to save his team.
"This experience is one of the toughest things I've been through," Ruben said. "I've been through two-a-day football practices; I've been through the 'American Idol' experience; I've been through a lot of mentally and physically challenging experiences in my life. And this, you know, ranks right up there at the top."
Studdard's failure to meet his goal likely had nothing to his work ethic and everything to do with his body hitting the dreaded weight loss plateau. It's a common problem among dieters — and one that often takes time and a shake up of both nutrition and exercise. Even Studdard's personal trainer Dolvett Quince admitted that he likely "hit a wall." In an interview from 2012, Quince said that plateau is the most difficult aspect of his job.
"The toughest part is continuing to find a way to lose weight, trying not to hit that wall," he told Reality Wanted.
The good news for Studdard is that if he continues on the path created for him by Quince, he should start to see his weight start trending downward. After his elimination Tuesday, he promised just that.
"America, my voice may be soulful, but the next time you see me, my body will be sexy," he vowed.
Beyond good health and avoiding a lifetime of fighting diabetes, Studdard still has some financial incentive to keep up his diet and workouts at home. Eliminated contestants return at the end of "The Biggest Loser" for another weigh-in. The person with the biggest weight loss will win $100,000.
"My goal coming to 'The Biggest Loser' ranch was to leave here a changed person," Studdard said. "I think I reached that goal."
You can watch video of Studdard's elimination below. We look forward to seeing him return sometime around the show's finale slated for Dec. 31. Good luck, Ruben!