ARARAT man Craig Booby has won this year’s The Biggest Loser television series.
He shed 79.8 kilograms – more than 40 per cent of his initial body weight – to take out the title.
“Commando pushed me pretty hard, no excuses, just do what needed to be done,” he said.
But it was his own determination that saw this year’s heaviest male contestant drop from 183.4 kilograms to 103.6.
“I was running 12.5 kilometres every night for two and a half weeks, leading up to the finale,” he said.
“I set a challenge for myself, and I knew if I dedicated that time to getting my life on track I could achieve a heap.”
He would never have considered himself a runner before the series, which was filmed in Ararat.
Now, he is on track to finish three charity runs.
On Sunday, the 35-year-old completed Run for the Kids in Melbourne, raising money for the Royal Children’s Hospital.
He also ran the Wimmera-Grampians Heart Challenge in Stawell late last year, and next month aims to compete in Run the Gap in Halls Gap.
Mr Booby’s Biggest Loser experience has created new opportunities, including a blossoming romance with a fellow Ararat resident.
Inspired, he wants to encourage others to take their first steps towards a healthier lifestyle.
The $145,000 he and his fellow contestants raised for their community with every kilogram they shed will help reach that goal.
It will be spent on improving Ararat’s walking tracks and providing free healthy eating and exercise programs.
The Biggest Loser contestants will take on town mentoring roles.
Ararat Rural City Council has also stepped up, rebranding itself ‘Ararat Active City’.
Since The Biggest Loser started, visits to Ararat’s recreation centre have almost doubled.
Mayor Paul Hooper said a pilot health program instigated by the television series, involving 500 residents, had also shown massive perks to healthy living.
“The health outcomes from that program alone were a 50 per cent reduction in participants’ likelihood of stroke,” he said.
Another 500 people have signed up for a second trial group.