A year after body-lift surgery, the series three favourite has her weight under control and her life back on track.
Becoming a contestant on The Biggest Loser Australia was a dream-come-true for Michelle Lozanovski, who hoped the hit reality series would help save her from a vicious cycle of binge eating. When the Newcastle girl stepped out of the reality TV house in 2008, she had been transformed, dropping a huge 31kgs – but hadn’t managed to kick all her bad habits. Instead of reaching her goal weight of 75kgs after her eviction, Michelle struggled with yo-yo dieting which, eight months on, saw her weight soar to 130kgs – 10kgs more than it was before she entered the Biggest Loser house, and her heaviest weight ever.
“I could see I was putting it back on, but I was just trying to ignore it, telling myself I would get it under control,” recalls Michelle, 24. “The thing is, I knew how to exercise – they taught me that in the house – but no-one taught me how to control my eating.” Feeling embarrassed and ashamed of herself, Michelle went into hiding, rarely leaving home and refusing to socialise. “I just didn’t go out anymore,” she says. “I couldn’t believe I had let myself get back to that size, and didn’t want anyone to see me.” After another nine months of binge eating, Michelle realised she had to take control of her life, and finally made the decision to get back on track and learn the skills she needed to live a healthier life.
Michelle sought advice from a dietitian while starting workouts with a personal trainer three times a week, dropping back to 81kgs through strict diet and rigorous exercise. But the massive weight gains and losses had damaged her body permanently, leaving her skin saggy and her confidence at an all-time low. “I hated how my body looked,” recalls Michelle. “I was left with this loose skin that I had to tuck into my clothes, and it flapped on my legs when I tried to exercise.” So a desperate Michelle turned to Sydney surgeon Dr Mark Kohout from Total Body for advice, and was told a $21,000 body lift was the only viable option to get rid her of excess skin – and give her back her confidence.
“You see yourself in the mirror and you realise you have lost weight, but I still didn’t feel good about myself, because I had all that loose skin there,” she explains. “Seeing myself like that wasn’t rewarding, even though I had worked so hard.” So last year Michelle underwent a full body lift, involving an incision around her torso, removal of the skin and liposuction. “I was really excited until the day of the operation, then Mum was so nervous, which made me nervous!” Michelle laughs. “As I was wheeled down to theatre, I burst into tears. That’s all I remember. They put the drip in and I was gone. When I woke up, they gave the girl next to me an icy pole, so I started yelling that I wanted my icy pole, too. I was off my head!” The surgery is a major and serious procedure, and while Michelle doesn’t regret her decision for a second, she warns it is not something to undertake lightly.