'Biggest Loser' contestants speaks on preventative health

By Jennifer Ball

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 14 2012 4:17 p.m. MST

BOUNTIFUL — Former “The Biggest Loser” contestant Sione Fa spoke in Bountiful on Saturday about his experiences on the show and the importance of preventative health.

Fa was a Season 7 contestant on "The Biggest Loser" and lost 146 pounds during the competition. Fa, who has a family history of obesity, has struggled with weight control for most of his life before the show, and his weight wildly fluctuated. With a desire to set an example for his children, Fa has kept most of the weight off in the three years since participating on the show. He now works as a full-time trainer at the Biggest Loser Resort in Ivins, Washington County.

Fa spoke in conjunction with the resort’s recent partnership with Life Line Screenings, which held preventative health screenings for the public during the Saturday event.

“We’re excited because Life Line Screening is a company of prevention,” Fa said. “It’s about early detection of diseases that your family physician wouldn’t know you have because he wouldn’t check for it.”

Fa benefitted from preventative screening while auditioning for “The Biggest Loser” in 2008, when he found out he suffered from sleep apnea, a disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing during sleep.

“As we got further along in the audition process, they started giving us medical tests,” Fa said. "So I did the sleep apnea test, the results came back and the doctors said, ‘This is serious. You’re in the worst 1 percent of those with this disorder.’”

The doctors told him that while asleep his breathing would stop an average of 131 times per hour and that, if untreated, he had a 90 percent chance of not waking up within the next six months.

“That’s when I realized something had to change. This snoring thing that I thought was normal had become a life-threatening disease. And I knew I had to get healthy.”

Season 11 contestant and Bountiful resident Deni Hill joined Fa to motivate those in attendance to make healthy choices and make 2012 a year of change.

“You don’t have to be on the show to lose weight,” explained Hill, who was the at-home winner of $100,000. “All you have to do is want it and realize that you have the power.”

“All you need to do is focus on yourself and know where you can make the changes,” Fa said. “Once you realize you have the power to control your life, you have everything you need. That’s the biggest lesson that I learned from the show: the fact that I’m in control. I can’t control the outcome all the time, but I can control what I’m doing right now.

“Really, when you think about it, every single person in here knows what they need to do to change, and every person in this room has the power to succeed.”

Jennifer Ball is a journalism student at Brigham Young University. Email: jenniball91@gmail.com

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