HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

Maria Tanner spends 5 minutes with ... Tearoa Tangimatua

Oh my gosh girl, gushes Tearoa, “I never thought I’d do it, but I have and I feel amazing girl, amazing’ the bubbly Texmart sales clerk tells me. Recently returned to Rarotonga for the past 16 months Tearoa Tangimetua has been living in Penrhyn and introduced some minor changes to her lifestyle that have ultimately seen her drop a whooping 91kgs from her petite 5’1” frame. A culmination of almost a decade of poor eating habits thrown in with minimal physical exercise, and lifestyle choice Tearoa indulged to the point of excessive eventually tipping the scales at 215kgs, “Bad habit,” she tells me of her steady weight gain, “I was eating rubbish man, and skipping meals. I use to starve myself!” she laughs in hindsight, “at the same time I was busy looking after my Grandmother who was ill so was quite busy but because I was so starving I would just eat heaps,” she emphasizes, “ I would eat and eat till it was over, over, over the top.”
The years of gradual weight gain paid its toll not only on Teaora’s body but left her, her aunt, Rongoiti Young, and Dr Noovau grievously concerned for her health, “my aunt told me and Dr Noovau told me, the way I was going I was already…..” she motions slicing her hand across her neck, “I had tried diet, after diet, after diet and it never worked, nothing worked for me, at the end I just said to myself nah this is it, this is how I am I gave up basically. But they told me that I had to do something about it (my weight) while I was still young.”
Getting the mental, emotional and physical advice to tackle her massive weight loss her aunt would coach her niece through what would prove to be the most challenging 16 months of Tearoa’s existence. When Tearoa initially arrived in Penrhyn she was the largest person there she confides in me and because the hospital weighing scales only reached an excess load of 200kg’s originally couldn’t gauge her weight. “Girl it was so hard, ohh those papa’a portions, I thought I was definitely going to die!” Getting accustomed to a new routine Teaora’s aunt taught her about portion control, daily exercise, and pace and most importantly realizing that what they were doing was not a diet. First her aunt rearranged Tearoa's eating habits, “It was three meals a day. Usually I would have the works for breakfast, corned beef, rice, you name it but instead my aunt gave me things like porridge, pancakes or pawpaw for breakfast, and when I saw what I got I thought aue no nira in this food aunty.” Penrhyn being a seafood abundant island, people naturally thought that Tearoa’s impressive weight loss was due to a limited diet of fish and seafood, “No,” she shares with me, “I ate seafood but there were other foods there that we ate too, like steak or chicken, but because I so desperately wanted to drop this weight I watched every single portion of food I ate, so it didn’t really matter what I was eating,” and shifted to how much she was eating, “it became about using my common sense instead.”
Secondly they approached an initial practice of “15 minutes” daily exercise. At her largest point Tearoa weighed 215kgs sharing of that experience she explains that going for a walk, let alone moving was such an effort. “I was so big I couldn’t move around, all I wanted to do was sit, not move around and sleep. But my aunty started me out with every single day, except Sunday, after breakfast to pick rubbish, nothing special just the normal bending down and picking up your leaves who would believe that 1 year and 4 months of just picking up rubbish would do this,:” she giggles showing off her new body. “Oh it was a lot of will power, but when I started to see some results for the first time in my life I was motivated for my next monthly weigh in. Walking was also very important we started with 15 minute walks, and because of how big I was I couldn’t even go 5 minutes without wheezing or stopping it was hard girl, but my aunt just told me if I need rest that it was ok. We would walk one day and rest one day, and with the gradual weight loss paced herself out to a maximum one hour walks. I learnt that you don’t have to push your body it’s actually better to give your body that rest it needs.” With her combined eating and exercise efforts Tearoa lost a colossal 10 kg's in her first month, and averaged a constant and steady monthly 5kg loss for the remainder of the time.
With a new lease on life Tearoa is now rocking clothes she could only think about and sitting a short 40kg’s from her ideal weight goal, 80kg’s, Tearoa says since being back in Rarotonga so many people are shocked and can’t believe her massive transformation, “people when they come into the shop they don’t recognize me, and when they do realize who it is they buzz out and jump over the counter to give me a big hug and kiss and ask me is that you Tearaoa! Some even come to the store just to visit me, but you know,” she says through the laughter, “I tell them excuse me but you got to buy something if you want to come in here.”

Herald Issue 608 21 March
- Terms of one China Policy document should be reviewed
- Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation
- Successful NZ visit by PM
- Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator
- News Briefs

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