Fit fam­i­lies fight on

The chal­lenges don’t end with the fi­nal weigh-in, TBL Fam­i­lies host and for­mer con­tes­tant Fiona Falkiner warns.

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - NEWS - By DEB­BIE SCHIPP

SHE’S no stranger to do­ing the hard yards, so when glam­orous TBL Fam­i­lies host Fiona Falkiner warns this year’s crop of con­tes­tants the hard work is just be­gin­ning, you’d bet­ter be­lieve it.

As the re­al­ity weight loss show edges to­wards its fi­nale, Falkiner, who has played host on screen, and oc­ca­sional mo­ti­va­tor, lis­tener and sup­porter off-screen, of­fers ad­vice from some­one who has been there.

“The chal­lenges don’t end when the show does,” Falkiner says. “It’s just that you’re the one set­ting them, not the train­ers.”

Falkiner, 32, is liv­ing proof of the ben­e­fits of that ad­vice. Since ap­pear­ing as a con­tes­tant on The Big­gest Loser in 2006, she has con­tin­ued her trans­for­ma­tion, and this year added TV host to her CV along­side her job as suc­cess­ful plus-size model.

Falkiner made the fi­nal four in 2006, and says she is not just pay­ing lip ser­vice when she states that those who carry off the three main prizes on this year’s show are not the only win­ners.

It’s her re­sponse to crit­i­cisms that the show ex­ploits and hu­mil­i­ates the over­weight for en­ter­tain­ment.

“The point is th­ese peo­ple are, for many of them, get­ting a shot at life,” she says. “They are get­ting a shot at health, and at tools they can carry with them for the rest of their lives – to me there are only pos­i­tives. And you don’t need a cash prize to ben­e­fit from that.”

Falkiner says her own jour­ney con­tin­ues, and her work on the show this year was at times bit­ter­sweet.

“I was a lit­tle daunted go­ing in but from day one it’s been fab­u­lous,” Falkiner says.

“Per­son­ally, it was a re­minder of how far I had come since, and how it changed my life.

I ob­vi­ously wasn’t in the house with the con­tes­tants, but there were plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to have a quiet word, of­fer en­cour­age­ment, lis­ten to their sto­ries and be able to share my per­spec­tive.”

Iron­i­cally, one of the hard­est parts of the show for her to watch also be­came one of the best.

“The most dif­fi­cult thing to watch was the Pestell fam­ily tear­ing them­selves apart early in the se­ries. The best thing was also watch­ing them heal and come to­gether,” she says.

“It’s see­ing ‘I can’t’ be­come “I can’, and that’s what any­one on the show takes out of the house.

Also, the chal­lenges start once they are out of the house.

“This group are lucky in one way be­cause, given that this is a fam­ily for­mat, they are ahead in terms of sup­port once the show is over. “They have peo­ple who were ac­tu­ally there in it with them. “For me, in 2006, I was com­ing out alone – not in terms of sup­port – I had that from friends and fam­ily – but in the fact that they had not been there with me. I think that’s a great thing for this year’s crop.”



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