Jackson Carter may not have won Monday night's "The Biggest Loser" finale, but the Layton man seemed pretty pleased when his final weigh-in revealed he had lost 138 pounds, more than 42 percent of his starting weight.
"Yeah-hah-hah," said Carter, after seeing his season finale weight. He lifted his arms over his head, smiling wide. "That's awesome. Are you kidding me?"
Carter, who started the competition at 328 pounds, finished at 190. He didn't learn until the live broadcast that he had been selected by an audience vote to compete in the finale.
Carter was the first of three finalists to weigh in. The next finalist weighed, Jeff Nichols, lost 46.65 percent of his starting weight, eliminating Carter, who walked across the stage, smiling and waving to the audience, to rejoin other contestants. Then, finalist Danni Allen's weigh in revealed she had lost 46.9 percent of her starting weight, earning her the title and the $250,000 prize.
Over show credits, Carter was still smiling and congratulating fellow contestants.
Marian Edmonds, executive director of Ogden OUTreach, was in the studio audience, as were Carter's parents.
"Forty-two percent of his body weight is amazing," Edmonds said. "Jackson said he feels great, and it was a really positive and wonderful experience."
Carter, a Weber State University theater student, is a volunteer at Ogden OUTreach, which provides support to 350 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths, ages 14 to 23. While attending Ogden's DaVinci Academy charter school, Carter was a client at Ogden OUTreach.
"Jackson inspires them," Edmonds said, of the youth Ogden OUTreach serves. "They are really committed to fitness now. You can see the change in their self-esteem. To see someone they know who was bullied for being gay, and see him achieve something like this, it makes them all very proud."
Carter wrote a letter to the Ogden OUTreach youths that the service agency posted on its Facebook page today.
"'Loser'" was probably the most difficult thing in my life," Carter wrote to the young people. "I passed out, threw up pretty much every day (still do from time to time), sprained both ankles, felt sore on every part of my body, and the list goes on and on. But I would never trade this experience for anything else in the world. Because I learned that no matter what life throws at me, I can push through it.
"If there is anything I want people to learn from my experience, it's that they should never give up. Sometimes in life we are going to face difficult things. We are going to want to give up and take the easy way out. But don't! Because you are 1,000 times stronger than you realize and, if you really stick with it, you can achieve anything you want."
Edmonds said Monday night that she, Carter and his parents were headed to a show after-party.
"We are all so proud of him," Edmonds said. "He has had such a wonderful attitude through this whole thing, even with the many hours each day of exercising. He told me, 'I can't wait to have a cheeseburger.' He turned 22 yesterday (Sunday) and he still didn't have a cheeseburger. He's such a wonderful young man."