If you didn't know any better, one glance at Tziporah Malkah today and you could be mistaken for thinking you’d gone back in time to 1995 and supermodel Kate Fischer was standing right in front of you.
“I’ve finally done it, shed the excess,” she trills, trim as a pin in a black bikini, as she expertly poses for New Idea's photographer in an Australian exclusive.
After a monumental weight- loss journey, the 45-year-old actress has at last achieved her goal; she’s down to less than 70kg, having shed a colossal 50kg
As Tziporah throws her head back in laughter, her enviable figure on display, back at home in front of the camera, it’s like she’s hardly aged a day since the ’90s when she was at the height of her fame.
“I’m down 10 dress sizes –from 24 to 14. This is the lightest I’ve been since I was 35 – more than a decade!” Tziporah flashes a dazzling smile.
“I can’t go much lower or I’d almost be too light for someone my height, can you believe it!"
"I’m elated; I can’t stop dancing around, acting like a little kid!”
“I was in such bad shape, mentally and physically. The producers would never pick me for anything too physical like bungee jumping back then, and I don’t really blame them, I was too big and unhealthy,” Tziporah reflects.
“But now ... well, it’s a different story. I can walk for miles without panting and sweating. Plus, a lot of emotional heaviness has lifted, along with the extra weight. I’m a different person!”
It’s two years since Tziporah first declared to New Idea that she was ready to lose weight, after being advised by her doctor that she was morbidly obese and faced serious health problems if she didn’t change her life.
She took heed, but the weight loss was gradual; there were so many habits to change.
Back when she lived in Melbourne, working at an aged-care centre, she’d relished returning to her flat and tucking into a cheese platter with wine.
“It wasn’t a healthy lifestyle and it’s taken me a long time to break those long-standing habits. They were all tied in with the chronic depression I’ve suffered for years,” she reveals.
But gradually, with the help of personal trainers, most recently NSW trainer Ivan Murray, Tziporah shed her couch potato lifestyle and low self-esteem.
Long daily walks and weight sessions at the gym have replaced time eating Camembert and watching junk on TV.
“There were stops, starts and setbacks along the way. I mean, on occasion, I’d party with friends and wine and pizzas came into it – of course they did!” she chuckles.
“But sooner or later, I’d listen to my personal trainer and try harder.”
The results are obvious – but it’s not just about looking better. Gone are the painful joints, aching back and pre-diabetic diagnosis that came from carrying that excess weight.
But perhaps most importantly, “I no longer hate myself, I actually really like me!”
“Now, I have so much energy, I feel amazing,” she positively purrs, gazing out to the rolling green hills of the NSW South Coast where much of her weight loss has taken place.
It’s here that she has had regular consultations with hypnotherapist Mark Stephens, the man she credits with helping her to change her mindset and work on her dietary goals.
“Now, whenever I pass the lolly section at the supermarket, a mantra Mark taught me rings in my ears: ‘I don’t want it, I don’t need it, I won’t have it!’ And instead of stacking up on chips and cheese, I head for the carrots and celery!”
Further, “Mark’s taught me to remove the negative emotion when reliving significant past events in my life,” she nods.
“So I’m not just lighter, I feel I’ve had an inner makeover, if you like, because I see things in a more positive, healthy way, thanks to Mark.”
She says she no longer feels depressed, “and these days I’m only on light medication but I’ll be working with my psychiatrist to see about reducing that”.
And she’s looking forward to replacing all her old clothes – now way too baggy – with new outfits.
“Here at Mark’s property I only had my larger, old clothes, which I’ll soon be donating to Vinnie’s. I went for a walk and my pants actually fell off altogether, they were so big – thankfully only a kangaroo saw me!” she giggles again.
“As I said last time, I’m ready to wear tiny shorts again – yippee!”
Now that she’s finally reached her weight-loss goal, Tziporah says she’s ready to focus on more TV and modelling opportunities.
“I’ve got so much energy to spare, I’m also going to learn jujitsu!” she nods.
And she’s determined to keep the weight off.
"To lose all this weight, I had to exercise for about four hours a day. But now that I’ve reached my target, I’ll only be working out for an hour or so each day.
"But I just won’t be overeating anymore, and my diet is now healthy. I’m eating lots of veggies, drinking lots of water, and while I’m not a vegan, I don’t eat much meat.”
Her advice to others battling to lose weight?
“Don’t be dissuaded if you end up eating something naughty. Just keep trying – because it’s so worth it. Some working mums might look at me and say ‘yes, but easy for her, she had a personal trainer’ and that’s true, I’m lucky there, but friends and family can be motivators.
Plus, I’d say to those mums, ‘look at you, you’ve got kids, a family. That’s something you’ve got which I don’t. None of us has it all,’” she reflects, sombre for a second or two before flashing that arresting smile again.
“But there’s plenty to look forward to. Now, at 45, I can’t wait for the next adventure!"
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