The Biggest Loser season 11 winner Olivia Ward and her sister, runner-up Hannah Curlee, had their lives changed forever when they competed on the show in 2011.
“I tell people, I feel like I won the weight loss lottery,” Ward, 47, tells PEOPLE exclusively.
Starting the show off at 261 lbs., Ward and Curlee, 44, who was at 248 lbs., both lost almost half their body weight during the competition, with Ward losing 129 lbs. and Curlee 120 lbs. More than a decade later, they say they feel lucky to have had the opportunity to participate in the once-controversial weight loss show.
“Losing the weight was wonderful,” Ward says. “But just to have that experience and to be around that type of expertise and that kind of support . . . what I left knowing that I had this incredible opportunity to pass on what had been given to me. I go back so much times and think about all those thousands of people who would wait in line. They would just wait for hours and hours and somehow Hannah and I were just two people that somebody saw something and gave us the opportunity.”
Trae Patton/NBCU Olivia Ward poses at the beginning of her journey on ‘The Biggest Loser.’
Since their reality television days, both sisters have gotten married and become moms. Despite having complicated pregnancies that involved bed rest, both have found ways to maintain their weight loss.
Bret Hartmann/NBCU Hannah Curlee on set of season 11 of ‘The Biggest Loser.’
“I’ve done super well. And I’m super proud,” says Curlee. “I’m doing great and I’m comfortable where I am. I work out six days a week.”
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“I kept my weight off for 10 years,” Ward says. “I would say 85% of it. I always tell people, because I think I ended up in the 130s or whatever, I stayed in the 130s for like five minutes. I’m 5’10”, [and now] mid-160s to mid-170s. That’s usually kind of in that 10 pound swing where I live.”
Ben Ward Olivia Ward poses with her two children at home.
The duo says they are still practicing the tools they learned from their time on the NBC show.
“Olivia and I, we still track our food,” Curlee says. “It’s good to see what our body’s responding to and what your body’s not responding to. We have years and years of journaling of what we’ve been eating and how it affects us and how it doesn’t affect us.”
Hannah Curlee Hannah Curlee poses over a decade after competing on ‘The Biggest Loser.’
Ward, a former opera singer , and Curlee have even pivoted their career paths full-time to the health and wellness space.
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“When we got off the show, everything was kind of exploding,” Curlee says. “So we were afforded a lot of opportunities, which we’re so incredibly grateful for. We had our own business together, we did YouTube. We’ve traveled around the country, the world, speaking and talking about women’s health.”
“I gave myself a year paid salary,” Ward adds. “A little salary was just enough so I could take the time to figure life out, and I found SoulCycle. For me, it was one of those things where I not only loved the workout, but I found my tribe and my people. I was like, ‘Okay, this is how I’m going to maintain this, how I’m going to do this,’ and long story short, very shortly after Biggest Loser, I started teaching at SoulCycle, and I taught there until this past July.”
Ben Ward Olivia Ward poses in front of SoulCycle where she taught classes up until July 2022.
Now, they’re spreading their knowledge by paying it forward to others trying to lose weight in a big way.
“We’ve done everything later in life, but it has been such a journey,” says Curlee, who started the Counterbalance, a daily encouragement and practical application program with her sister. “It’s been incredible.”
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Hannah Curlee Hannah Curlee shows off her muscles years later, after her time on ‘The Biggest Loser.’
“I have chosen to do this,” Curlee continues. “This takes accountability to lose that amount of weight and keep yourself in a healthy place. Mentally, physically, emotionally, it is a lot of work. I want to be totally honest about that. There’s obviously been ups and downs, but it’s really has been something that we are really proud of together [and] separately.”
“It’s just amazing to know that all those years ago, to lose hundreds of pounds and to not have to carry that weight with us for the rest of our lives,” Ward shares. “And it’s not linear. It’s a continued journey.”