updated 11/16/2013 AT 2:00 PM ET
•originally published 11/16/2013 AT 3:30 PM ET
Craig Arrington’s life-long battle with obesity began at the age of 10 after he lost his father to a heart attack. But thanks to The Biggest Loser, he is feeling lighter both on the scale and in his heart.
“It felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders,” Arrington, told reporters Wednesday of visiting his father’s grave after being eliminated from the NBC show. “I really felt for the first time he was proud of me and I couldn’t wait for him to see me.”
Arrington, 30, arrived at the Biggest Loser ranch with a lot of guilt for having allowed himself to get to 385 lbs., but after being saved by his trainer Jillian Michaels when he was eliminated the first week, the warehouse supervisor began to find the inner-strength needed to be successful on his weight-loss journey.
“Jillian showed me things fear-wise that I would never have faced,” says Arrington, who was a member of Michaels’ White Team on the ranch. “I’m so grateful for all the opportunities I had with her.”
While Arrington does feel his departure from the competition was “premature,” he denies any foul play in the decision to penalize the White Team after it was discovered that Michaels provided her team with caffeine supplements as an alternative to coffee.
“Production decided the contest should be fair for everyone and I think our penalty was a fair one,” says Arrington of the decision that some fans have argued was a ploy by producers to allow eliminated contestant (and former American Idol winner) Ruben Studdard to return to the ranch. “This was just about being fair and it just so happened to be Ruben at the time. He’s a great friend of mine.”
Now at home in Wilson, N.C. with his wife, a 2-year-old daughter and a baby on the way, Arrington is working hard to continue the journey he started on the ranch.
“When I got home I was down on myself for going home so early and I thought it would be hard,” he says. “But what I realized is that I was ready to change.”
Arrington now works out three times a day despite his eight-hour workdays and has lost more than 115 lbs., thanks to his determination and the guidance of his trainer at his local YMCA, Nancy Stocks.
“I have two women that believed in me more than I believed in myself,” Arrington says of his on-ranch and at-home trainers. “And [my weight loss] has not been a roller coaster. I’ve been consistently losing 6.5 lbs. a week.”
With his second child due in December, Arrington has high hopes that he will win the at-home prize at the show’s finale, but more importantly he plans on being around for his children longer than his father was.
“My family is depending on me,” he says. “So right now it is my time to obtain this goal and then, after the finale, it’ll be more ‘Daddy time.’ ”
The Biggest Loser airs Tuesdays on NBC.