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‘Biggest Loser’ winner shares how he is keeping the weight off

Toma Dobrosavljevic is a changed man after winning NBC’s Biggest Loser: Glory Days by literally one pound.

Dobrosavljevic, a project manager for a technology company in Chicago, lost a total of 171 pounds, going from 336 to 165. And a month after the Jan. 29 finale, he’s managing to keep them off. The reality star will show his support for fellow soldiers in the battle of the bulge Saturday for the fifth annual Diabetes Research Institute’s Walk at Marlins Park, raising funds for research. For Dobrosavljevic, the cause is personal — diabetes runs in his family. We spoke to him before his trip:

So how did it feel to snag the title of Biggest Loser by just one pound or .01 percent?

Wow, I had some stiff competition. The runner-up, Sonya Jones, remains my friend. We were friends the whole time so it’s been great. She’ll be in Miami with me at the walk. It’s one of those things where throughout the competition all 20 of us were all supporting each other. We all wanted the other to succeed, so there are no hard feelings or anything like that. Regardless, I think we are all winners because we’re all healthier.

Where are you at physically?

I feel great, like I’m on top of the world! Now I’m starting to build muscle a little bit and trying to maintain basically what I learned on the show from the experts. At my job I do a lot of installation, climbing ladders, walking around construction sites and crawling into tight spaces so I get around easier.

What are you doing to maintain your new physique?

About 60 to 90 minutes of cardio six days a week. I usually work out in the evening, depending on my schedule. I change things around. Some days I prefer to do 30 minutes on the treadmill and 60 minutes on the elliptical. I’m also trying Cross-Fit. I love riding a bike and maybe will throw a swim in there because I find that enjoyable. I thin I’m regulating my weight well. I told myself there isn’t a magic number on the scale. It’s about being comfortable. If my clothes start to feel tight I’m going to cut back. My girlfriend is a bit of a health nut, and she has two kids who live with me, so they keep me accountable.

Your prize was $250,000, yet you’re back at work? C’mon! Any plans for a vacation or other splurge?

Well, my intentions are helping my mom with her mortgage and paying down some school loans. But I also want to invest in a new wardrobe. I still haven’t gone out and purchased a whole lot of clothes. It’s exciting not to have to stress about trying things on to make sure they fit. I don’t have to go to Big & Tall stores anymore. I used to do a lot of online shopping because I had trouble finding clothes off the rack. If it didn’t fit I would just return it. My sizes were hard to come by.

What do you think made you gain so much?

For me, it was convenience. I’d pick up food on my way home, sit down on the couch, eat and then go to bed with a full stomach. I got into a bad routine. I don’t do that anymore. It just feels uncomfortable. I was tired, and I think I needed more sleep, not more calories.

Do you have any tips for people out there who are going through weight issues like you did?

It’s really important to get rid of bad snacks and others things around you that could trigger a craving. Because those are the first you reach for. Planning ahead is really important. A lot of us we’re working, we’re busy, we’re in our car. On your way to work, you might see a fast food place or a convenience store and just stop and get, say, a doughnut. If you prepare ahead of time and have fruits, vegetables, yogurt or nuts with you, you may not be so tempted. Set yourself up for success.

Saturday’s DRI Walk for Diabetes (5K and 10K) begins at 8 a.m. All registrants receive a running shirt, finisher’s medal and downloadable race photos. A grand prize raffle will award three with a weeklong stay for two at The Biggest Loser Resort, with locations in Chicago; Niagara, New York; and Amelia Island, WalgreensWalkDRI.org, 800-321-3437

MADELEINE MARR

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