A FIGHT FOR LIFE

For one cou­ple on The Big­gest Loser Fam­i­lies los­ing the weight might help them ful­fil their dream of hav­ing a fam­ily of their own

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY TV - SHAN­NON MOL­LOY

All she’s ever wanted is to be a mum but Te­nealle Au­vale was told by a doc­tor that she’s a “walk­ing con­tra­cep­tive” due to her obe­sity.

The 26-year-old ap­pears in the new sea­son of The Big­gest Loser Fam­i­lies along­side her hus­band Johnee, 38.

They’ve been try­ing des­per­ately to fall preg­nant for sev­eral years but the show’s doc­tor Nor­man Swan de­liv­ered a heart­break­ing as­sess­ment of their chances.

“Dr Swan told me I was a walk­ing con­tra­cep­tive,” Te­nealle says. “When you’re over­weight, it re­duces your chances of fall­ing preg­nant as well as car­ry­ing a baby full term. So the odds of us be­ing able to have a child was slim.”

Be­fore the show, the of­fice ad­min­is­tra­tion worker from Vic­to­ria sus­pected her weight was adding to the cou­ple’s com­pli­ca­tions. They’ve en­dured sev­eral un­suc­cess­ful IVF at­tempts over the years.

Swan’s ver­dict drove home how bad her health had be­come, Te­nealle says.

“I’ve al­lowed my­self to get to this point. That’s tough to ac­knowl­edge.”

At the start of the show, which pre­mieres on Net­work Ten this Sun­day, Te­nealle weighs in at 134 kilo­grams while Johnee pushes the scales to a whop­ping 215 kilo­grams.

He’s of­fi­cially this sea­son’s heav­i­est con­tes­tant. And the doc­tor’s news for him was shock­ing.

“The doc­tor told me I’m a tick­ing time bomb,” Johnee re­calls. “Es­sen­tially he said if I didn’t do any­thing about my health, I’d end up in a cof­fin by the time I’m 50. It was con­fronting. I don’t want to die. I’m still a young man.”

The cou­ple, who met at church nine years ago, are com­pet­ing as a team with Johnee’s brother Moses and his wife Rina.

Fit­ness trainer Steve “Com­mando” Wil­lis will whip them into shape. His first task is help­ing Johnee kick his eye­open­ing soft drink habit.

“I’d easily do four to six litres a day of fizzy drink,” Johnee ad­mits. “I’m a Moun­tain Dew fan.’’ His other shock­ing food habits in­clude fried chicken and chips for break­fast, host­ing lav­ish fam­ily ban­quets of whole suck­ling pigs, and avoid­ing veg­eta­bles.

While he ad­mits it was un­healthy, Johnee says he was pretty con­tent with life.

“I’m a happy-go-lucky type of guy,” he says. “I looked for­ward to get­ting out of bed in the morn­ing. I love my friends and fam­ily. Things were pretty good. The prob­lem, though, was that my body was mal­func­tion­ing. I was al­ways run­ning out of breath. I couldn’t keep up with my friends like when I was younger.”

Big­gest Loser Fam­i­lies

con­tes­tants (from left) Johnee, Te­nealle, Rina and Moses with trainer Steve Wil­lis.

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