Fit to be Gold: Vicky Arrowood

AGE: 54


STARTING WEIGHT: 178.8 pounds

REASON FOR PARTICIPATING: Weight loss and to tone up

HAVE YOU TRIED TO LOSE WEIGHT IN THE PAST? "(I've tried to) diet. But I would not stay on it long because I would not see instant gratification. I have not always been the weight I am now. It's just been within the last five years that I have (gained).

WHAT DO YOU FEEL ARE YOUR PROBLEM AREAS? "Everything. I'm just very overweight. It's everywhere. I can see it in my face. I can even see it in my feet. I know that sounds crazy, but I feel like my shoes don't even fit anymore."

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE? "I've had to make a complete change on my eating. I spend more time in the grocery store now, more time in my kitchen, instead of fast food drive-throughs. And then working in time to exercise. I have learned that exercise is as important as the diet. I never really did the exercise part of it like I am now."

HOW WILL YOU OVERCOME IT? "You just have to make plans. I just have to work it in. I just have to dedicate myself to it. Instead of just going straight home, I now know that a 30-minute trip this way can be worked in. I realize how important the exercise part of it is. And with the exercise that I'm doing now, I can see a change."

HOW DO YOU BELIEVE YOUR LIFE WILL CHANGE AFTER THE COMPETITION IS OVER? "I have learned a lot about diet and about how to exercise. And so I'm just going to continue with what I've learned in the last six or seven weeks."

THE DIET: "I'm not on their diet. Those protein and eggs and egg whites, I could not do that. But I am eating more eggs and I eat more vegetables. Nothing fried anymore. And I'm doing it myself. Not eating out. I ate out, I bet, 75 percent of my meals. And I'm just not eating out anymore. So that has made a big change. All I drink is water and coffee and sometimes a cup of hot tea. I've had to change what I put in my coffee."