Tara Costa dropped 155 pounds in front of millions of...

Tara Costa dropped 155 pounds in front of millions of viewers and competed in "The Biggest Loser" finale on May 12. Although the top prize went to fellow "Loser" contestant Helen Phillips of Sterling Heights, Mich., Costa proved herself to be fiercely competitive and determined on the show. She remembers a time not long ago when her attitude was completely different.

Click here to read her story

Catching up with dozens of past contestants, 50 of whom compete in the San Francisco Triathlon.

 Long Island has had a prominent role in "TBL," with two winners - Lynbrook's Bill Germanakos in season 4, and West Islip's Erik Chopin in season 3. And season 7's Tara Costa was a series stand out. A review DVD was not available, but both Costa and Germanakos are on tomorrow night. In recent phone interviews, they told me what they've been up to:

"I'm at 214 - maintaining about 120 pounds off my weight loss. My goal weight was 205. . . . I represent different fitness companies . . . travel four, five days a week, and do a lot of [spinning] classes all over the Island, too. I'm also national spokesman for the American Liver Foundation. I speak generally on health and wellness" to groups around the country 250 times year. "My main focus is motivation, and getting people to accomplish what we've accomplished. My mantra on the show was to be- come half the man so I could be- come twice the man. Now, I'm trying to reach that second half by trying to educate people."

And yes, Bill's twin brother, Jim, of Massapequa - also on the show, and season 4's "at-home" champion - is a police officer in Freeport, and expects to retire in a couple years. "He's run two marathons since we've been off the show, but he's a powerlifting guy," Bill said.

Costa Broke a tibia, which took her out of training. "It was a weight-bearing joint." But she also has formed a company with - surprise! - Chopin: After his victory, he "put the weight back on, struggled and then got in shape. . . . We complement each other - our personalities are similar - and have a good working relationship, and we'll be able to help a lot of people." The website for the company, The Greater You, launches before year's end. The company "is really about how you change your mind, then you change your body. It's weight-loss coaching for people who feel hopeless and scared." Costa, meanwhile, is doing great. She's been dating her boyfriend for the past year and a half, got a master's in physical education at Hofstra, and has kept her weight at 160, save for a few added pounds while her leg healed. Working out again, Tara knows how to get rid of those.

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