Ali Vincent has revealed the heartbreaking occurrence that triggered her weight gain, years after winning The Biggest Loser.
"I realized last year, as I gained this weight, so much of my life slowed down, that a lot of stuff came up that I hadn't dealt with," the 2008 champion of the reality-competition series shared in a new interview that aired last night on OWN's Oprah: Where Are They Now.
Vincent, who wrote candidly about gaining weight and her determination to lose it back in April, went on to share that she was sexually assaulted in 2015, her first time talking about the traumatic experience.
"I was getting a massage and I fell asleep, which I often do with massages," she recalled emotionally. "And I felt so safe in this place. I had no guards up. And I woke up to..." Vincent paused, tearing up.
"I woke up to someone feeling in my vagina. And I was just like...in shock, like, 'What is going on? What's happening?' And then I just jumped up and ran out. It just hit, and I was just sitting there in a wad, shaking..."
Vincent started to cry but she powered through. "I don't know how to explain it, but I just was so afraid...I was scared."
She then recalled the manager coming out and saying, "'It's not like he raped you.' And he was right!"
Understandably, the heinous experience continued to haunt her, though she tried her best to move on with her life.
"I got engaged, I got busy planning a wedding," Vincent said. "I was very, very busy. I was making my own color of glitter, that's how busy I kept myself because I didn't want to deal with what was coming up for me."
Vincent married Jennifer Krusing in May 2015, but even that happy time in her life could only distract her for so long.
"When my wedding was over I just kind of got into this cycle of mindless eating and drinking," she said.
"I don't share this story of me being assaulted because it's an excuse or something I'm dwelling on. It's something that I'm working through. It doesn't have to be the end of my story," Vincent said. "It took far too long. By not wanting to deal with it, I let it subconsciously affect me and take too much power. And it doesn't get the power."
Vincent says that catching one of Oprah Winfrey's Weight Watchers ads in the middle of the night helped turn things around for her.
Vincent says she had weighed in at 234 pounds, the weight she was at when she first started her 112-pound-shedding run on The Biggest Loser, and vowed to get back in shape.
"I am no longer 234 pounds, even today, at all," she laughed. "I'm hitting these little markers of success, and with each successful moment I feel empowered. I feel like I'm getting my strength back."
If you have experienced sexual violence and need crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).