When Fiona Falkiner made the final four in The Biggest Loser's first season, she thrilled at going from 101.1kg to 71.6kg and seeing her new frame. She was tall, 23, and 29.5kg lighter. But after the show finished in April 2006, Falkiner realised that losing weight was not a cure-all.
"I didn't quite address a lot of the problems that brought me to that point," Falkiner says. "For me, it was a journey of discovery to get to the point where I was like, 'I need to change. I'm not happy. I'm getting a bit of depression. I need to take some time out."
To change her life around, Falkiner, 34, started meditating, practicing yoga and focusing inwards. "I started doing things I do to this day, every day," she says, "positive affirmations where I take five minutes out of my day and dedicate it to just reaffirmation of all the amazing things about myself and my life, and giving myself a pat on the back for all the goals I've achieved, and making new goals."
That positive attitude, combined with daily exercise and hard work, has led Falkiner to a successful plus-size modelling career and a return engagement as host of The Biggest Loser: Transformed (premiering Tues., March 14 at 7.30 PM on Ten), a place where she says she has a special kinship with contestants.
"Every year," Falkiner says, "they look to me as one of them. I look at myself as one of them! I've stood where they stood and I've stepped on those scales and can completely relate to what they are feeling at all stages of the competition. I know what it's like to be in those situations and I think for me, I see myself as one of them."
With the show's new focus on mental health, Falkiner says these contestants have a better path to fitness. "It's mind, body and soul," she says, "and it's giving them the tools that they need in all these aspects to be able to continue their journey."
To read more about Falkiner, including her current workout routine, pick up this week's WHO on newsstands today.