Last Thursday, The Biggest Loser: Glory Days revealed the latest weightless winner, Toma Dobrosavljevic. This iteration of the show featured all former athletes who trained with Jessie Pavelka, Jennifer Widerstrom and Dolvett Quince, while Bob Harper trained the contestants at Comeback Canyon. OHSOGRAY got a chance to talk with Toma on a press conference call and he shared the details on his big win.
What your biggest personal obstacle that you had to overcome to be successful?
Toma Dobrosavljevic: I honestly think it was a combination of the grieving of my father’s loss and the – just not believing in myself anymore. I think those are two things. After losing my dad, I kind of just – I kind of – I don’t know if it was losing faith or just losing belief in myself and I can’t really see a future for myself. So being able to really understand where the weight gain was coming from, but also understanding how to let go of that grief really, I think,helped me become – basically get to the point where I’m at today.
What are a couple of things that you’re going to do just to maintain this weight loss?
Toma Dobrosavljevic: Yes, pretty much – in my schedule, I’ve kind of blocked off 90 minutes a day for myself to concentrate on health and wellness. So for basically 90 minutes, it’s going to be my time to work out, exercise, plan my days, make sure I have basically a good plan in place. I think without – if I don’t do that, I think there’s a good chance that I could fall back into my past things. So I’ve kind of committed myself to making sure that I give myself at least that 90 minutes a day for me to work out and concentrate on me.
What all will you do in the 90 minutes?
Toma Dobrosavljevic: I would say probably 60 minutes of that is going to be working out, 60 to 75 minutes working out and then the other time is going to be food planning for the week and whatever needs to be done, whether it be meditating, stretching, something for me.
You’ve mentioned before that sleep is important. Do you have a better sleep schedule now?
Toma Dobrosavljevic: Absolutely. That was the one thing that I was really, really surprised with. Our bodies,…we definitely need sleep. Sleep is important. Obviously eating well, working out, those are two really important things. Getting enough rest is also the third part of that, I think, of that whole pyramid. I’m definitely going to try to get into a schedule where I can get my 7-1/2 to 8-1/2 hours of sleep and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t, especially with – if I lay out my schedule for the week and plan accordingly.
How have your feelings changed before and after your weight loss?
Toma Dobrosavljevic: I will tell you, before weight loss, I struggled to actually even stay awake throughout the entire day. I felt like I needed naps all the time. When I did start moving, I had a hard time breathing, my joints hurt, my back was sore and I just kind of felt miserable and I really wasn’t happy. After losing all this weight and really eating well and exercising, I feel amazing. I feel like there’re really nothing I can’t do and I’m looking forward to waking up in the morning and working out and I’ve got plenty of energy to last throughout the day. It’s just really an amazing feeling.
When you saw Sonya at the weigh-in, how confident were you that you had beaten her?
Toma Dobrosavljevic: I wasn’t. Honestly, when she stepped on the scale and she put up her number, I actually thought I had lost. I thought my – I said it was a good competition and I think she had it in the bag. I knew Rob was still coming up so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But, yes, I was quite surprised to be able to beat her.
What wast Jen like as a trainer and how she’s different from the other trainers?
Toma Dobrosavljevic: I can’t really talk about the past trainers but I know I can tell you my experience with Jen was absolutely amazing. She is truly very genuine. She spent a lot of time with us on the ranch, put together workout plans for us, gave us tons of homework to do if she wasn’t there, but I think she really, truly invested in us and spent a lot of time with us, talked about meal plans and not only that, got to know us on a real personal level and truly tried to understand what made us tick. In my eyes, [she] really became a close friend of mine.
Are you still hoping to play soccer again?
Toma Dobrosavljevic: I am. I am. I definitely want to put on some more muscle mass. And, yes, I’d still like to play soccer. I’m just going to try to go back and play in some rec clubs, rec leagues, soccer with some of my friends. It’s always been a lifelong dream of mine to try – at least try out for a professional team and so that might be something that I do here in the future.
Could you have lost the weight without the show?
Toma Dobrosavljevic: I definitely think I could have. I’m not necessarily sure I would’ve been able to lose it in that time period that I was able to do it in. I started losing weight before the show started. However, I’m not necessarily sure I’m – I’d be confident enough in myself knowing I’d keep it off. I feel like with the overall transformation that I’ve gone through, not only physically but, you know, spiritually and emotionally, I feel like I’m in a lot stronger place now than if I tried to tackle this on my own.
Did you forge any friendships with your fellow contestants that you will keep up?
Toma Dobrosavljevic: Absolutely. I think I became really great friends with Jordan and Sonya and Scott Mitchell, all really nice people—everybody on the initial white team, I think we all forged a really close bond. The entire cast, really, is considered a friend of mine and actually more like family and will be forever.
During the period you were losing weight, how many hours a day or how much time a day were you working out and how much did you have to change your diet?
Toma Dobrosavljevic: So from the beginning my diet had to change drastically. I had to cut out sugar and all those bad things and on the ranch we ate very clean, very healthy foods. As far as working out goes, I initially started out working maybe three hours a day and then as my body became more efficient and it was getting harder, harder to lose weight, I had to increase my workouts. So I – probably by the end I was probably working out anywhere between six to seven hours a day.
Have you been enjoying that feedback from fans?
Toma Dobrosavljevic: Yes, absolutely. It’s been great to hear everyone’s kind words and their support and knowing that I’m also helping inspire them as well and motivate them to lose the weight. It feels pretty good.
What were some of your favorite moments from your time on the show?
Toma Dobrosavljevic: Ooh, some of the greatest moments – I feel like every week there was – it was an exceptional moment. I loved the makeover week. I thought that was a great time. I had a chance to really, truly feel good about the clothes I was wearing, the whole experience with Tim Gunn and Kent Davis and then, of course, my mom and my sister coming out, that was pretty awesome. The Hawaii experience was absolutely beautiful and something that I’ll never forget. Then, of course, you know, the finale last night, something that – memories that’ll last a lifetime.
What would you like to say to everyone who was a fan and a supporter of you while you were on the show?
Toma Dobrosavljevic: I can’t thank them enough from the bottom of my heart, really. Truly hearing their kind words and their motivational words to me really just kept pushing me. I felt like I didn’t want to let anybody down and I was not only competing for myself but I was competing for them as well. I can’t thank them enough.
Can you describe what it felt like when you won?
Toma Dobrosavljevic: Oh, it’s overwhelming. It’s one of those things where all that hard work, it paid off. It’s one of those things where I didn’t think I was even going to get on, The Biggest Loser. I felt like I was blessed and extremely lucky to be on. To finally be crowned the Biggest Loser champion, it’s just one of those things where you feel joy and happiness and sadness. There’s this emotional – you just let go of all that grief that I had a long time ago with my dad throughout this process. I feel like that’s one thing that I can say; I fulfilled that promise to him and I have my future to look forward to and it’s just – it’s really hard to put into words other than just unreal and overwhelming.
A a lot of former contestants go on to become speakers or trainers. Have you thought about what you want to do next?
Toma Dobrosavljevic: Well, I definitely thought about a few things. For right now, I think I just want to – I want to find a nice routine and a schedule that I can be comfortable with as far as working out and getting back to my normal – my job as a project manager. But I definitely look forward to having the opportunity to do some speaking and I truly did mean – I think I’ve said a few times that I really do want to help others with their health and wellness path as well. The experiences that I’ve had hear at The Biggest Loser have been amazing and obviously I feel very blessed and I’d love to be able to help other people as well.
Compared to what you were eating before you were on The Biggest Loser, what are some of your new favorites meals/foods?
Toma Dobrosavljevic: Before I was eating a lot of fast food, nothing really good. So I’ve kind of cut all of that out of my system now. As far as foods now that I like, I love breakfast foods. I really look forward to breakfast. I used to skip breakfast a lot and now I would say [it’s] my favorite meal of the day. I love having a new egg white omelet with some – maybe some turkey, you know, lean ground turkey in there and some onions and some different seasonings. I love avocado. I just feel like since I’ve removed a lot of sugar and stuff and processed foods from my diet, I feel like a lot of vegetables have become a lot more sweet than I realized and even fruits now, I never really thought I’d love fruit as much as I do. But it really, truly is a treat when I do eat it.
What are you planning on doing with your prize money?
Toma Dobrosavljevic: That’s a good question. I still have to really think about that. There’re a few things I definitely want to do. One thing I know I need to do for sure, my bosses have been very generous with me while I’ve been on the show. They’ve basically have loaned me some money and helped me financially while I was working out and concentrating on myself, so definitely going to pay them back because I wouldn’t be here today without them. Also, I’d like to really help my mom out. She and my father were – they mean everything to me and they’ve done everything they possibly could for me. If I could help maybe pay down some of her mortgage so she doesn’t have to be then be – less stressed out about that, I think that would be a good thing. Of course, if there’s anything left over, maybe some school loans or definitely a new wardrobe. I think I’m a little short on some clothes.
What are your thoughts to the current discussion about obsesity and being “too skinny”?
Toma Dobrosavljevic: There’re always going to be critics out there, right, and regardless, if you’re – some people think you’re too fat or too skinny. At the end of the day, I think the most important thing is you’re happy with yourself. I think it’s really hard for a lot of us to be happy with ourselves regardless of what weight we’re at. We all think we have an ideal goal weight that we want to get to, where we’re going to be happy at and if you hit that number, everything’s going to – all your pains are going to go away. That’s not necessarily true because a lot of us have other issues, underlying issues, like myself with grieving the loss of my dad and losing the belief in myself and everything like that. Losing the weight was definitely – helped me obviously feel better about myself but also knowing that I’m healthy. I fulfilled that promise to my dad. I truly do love myself and everything about me. It’s something that I truly appreciate and I do tell people today. They ask me, “I want to lose this weight” and this and that and the other thing. I [say], “The most important thing is you feel good with yourself. You’re comfortable and, you know, don’t worry about what the scale says. And the end of the day, you know, if your pants feel good and you feel like you’re feeling good on you, that’s the most important thing.” So that’d be my advice to anybody. Being fit doesn’t necessarily mean being your ideal body weight. Being fit means being, not only physically capable of doing things but also being happy with yourself.
Is calorie counting one of your focuses and is that something most people can do?
Toma Dobrosavljevic: I think every diet is different for everybody. The things we’ve learned here at the ranch, we were given minimum calorie requirements to hit and we had to make sure we ate. We can eat more than that if you wanted to, but you obviously have to – if you want to maintain your body weight, you also have to make sure you exercise regularly and do those types of things. Everyone’s resting metabolic rate is a little bit different so a 2000 calorie diet might be good for you. It might not be good for me. I might need to be at 2400 or 2500 calories. I will definitely be counting my calories. I don’t know if I’ll always be at 100%. That’s something that’s part of being consistent with what you do. But I think it’s definitely important to have a goal in mind and I think talking to your doctor is really important to find out where your resting metabolic rate is and understanding what that means for you because what my body needs is definitely different than maybe what your body needs.
How were you cast on The Biggest Loser?
Toma Dobrosavljevic: I can generally – mean, I definitely can tell you that the general thing – the experience I had with it. Really for me was kind of a random experience. My life insurance agent had mentioned one time to me that I should sign up for The Biggest Loser. He knew I was trying to lose some weight. I had lost about 20 or 30 pounds. And then one day I found out The Biggest Loser was in my hometown and I said, “You know what? I think I’m going to make a run for it and see if I can, you know, see what this is all about.” I ended up coming to the – going to the open casting call in Itasca. I should say I think The Biggest Loser, now[…] is in Bloomingdale but at that time it was in Itasca. Anyhow, did the process and then just kind of went from there. Got follow up phone calls and filled out some forms and here I am.
What kind of support system do you have?
Toma Dobrosavljevic: I’m really fortunate enough to have a really good support system at home. I have a girlfriend who is also very health and fitness aware. She basically lost quite a bit of weight on her own as well. She pushes me every day. She’s really the one that helped me get off the couch this past – last January and she’s definitely a big motivational factor there. I belong to a really great gym and I think the people there continue to push me as well. So I think surrounding yourself with the right people and, which I have, is one of the reasons why I have been successful thus far and I think I will continue to be successful.
What tips would you share with other people who have to face the same challenge to lose 20 or 200 pounds?
Toma Dobrosavljevic: I think it’s normal to have the feelings that they’re having and they need to talk to somebody. There’re people out there that are willing to listen and be able to help them get through the issues that they’re dealing with and understand that there is a future for them regardless of what they think, and to truly believe and believe in themselves and they can do anything they put their minds to.