'Biggest Loser' Winner Reveals That Sexual Assault Triggered Her Recent Weight Gain

"I just let it unconsciously, subconsciously affect me and take too much power," says Ali Vincent. "It doesn't get power."

When Ali Vincent won the fifth season of “The Biggest Loser” and became the first female contestant to take home the title, she had lost an incredible 112 pounds. For the next seven years, Vincent maintained a healthy weight. Then, in 2015, she experienced a personal trauma that triggered a rapid weight gain over a 12-month period. 

Vincent had opened up about her recent weight gain before, but hadn’t shared details about any specific trigger. Speaking with “Oprah: Where Are They Now?” over the weekend, however, the 41-year-old revealed the painful secret she’s been harboring for the last year.

“I was getting a massage, and I fell asleep as I often do in massages. I felt so safe in this place. I had no guards up,” Vincent says, her voice shaking. “I woke up to someone feeling my vagina.”

Vincent was confused and in shock, but says she managed to jump up and run out of the room. That’s when it hit her what had just happened. “I was just sitting there in a ball and I was just shaking,” she says, wiping away tears. “I don’t know how to explain it. I was just so afraid.”

When the manager showed up, he completely brushed off the sexual assault.

“The manager came and was like, ‘It’s not like he raped you,’” Vincent says. 

Afterwards, Vincent struggled to cope with the trauma and says she simply shut down. When she got engaged to her partner, Jennifer Krusing, Vincent used wedding planning as a distraction. “I was very, very busy. I was making my own color of glitter ― that’s how busy I kept myself,” she says. “I didn’t want to deal with what was coming up for me.” 

Vincent and Krusing were married in May 2015. With the wedding over, Vincent says she entered into a mindless cycle of eating and gained weight. In fact, her weight went up to 234 pounds, the exact amount she weighed when she first appeared on “The Biggest Loser.”

“I don’t share the story of me being assaulted because it’s an excuse or something I’m dwelling on. It’s something that I’m working through,” Vincent says. “For far too long, by not wanting to deal with it, I just let it unconsciously, subconsciously affect me and take too much power. It doesn’t get power.”

As a part of taking back her power, Vincent has rededicated herself to managing her weight by joining Weight Watchers online and following a workout regimen. Today, she continues to slowly shed the pounds.

“I’m hitting these little markers of success,” Vincent says. “With each successful moment, I feel empowered. I feel like I’m getting my strength back.”

“Oprah: Where Are They Now?” airs Saturdays at 10 p.m. ET on OWN. You can also catch up on full episodes via the Watch OWN app.

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'It Happens' Sexual Assault Series by Yana Mazurkevich