Filipe Fa and Sione Fa, two of the most popular contestants in television’s “The Biggest Loser” show, will make a special appearance in Beaver County on Tuesday, Aug. 3, to encourage employees of local educational entities to eat right, shape up and slim down.
Their visit is sponsored by the National Network of Digital Schools (NNDS) as the kickoff event for this year’s wellness program for employees of NNDS, the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, Midland Borough School District, Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center and Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School.
The Tonganese cousins competed earlier this year during the show’s seventh season, each losing about 140 pounds. They are to lead 50 employee volunteers in workout sessions in the morning, and in the early afternoon make a presentation to all employees in the mainstage theater of Lincoln Park..
At 3 p.m. the public is invited to meet Filipe Fa and Sione Fa in the Lincoln Park atrium for pictures and autographs.
“Filipe and Sione remain among the most liked and recognized of all the show’s contestants, even though they did not win the Biggest Loser competition,” said Robert Babish, senior consultant for NNDS.
“NNDS, PA Cyber and Lincoln Park are reaching out to provide employees with the tools for a healthy lifestyle, including smoking cessation classes, stress management, aerobic classes, a gym program, and health information. We bring the Highmark BCBS van to town to do health screenings, and encourage each employee and family member to use the Highmark health plan.
“What it boils down to is that a healthy employee is a happy employee, and happy employees make for a better, more productive company,” said Babish.
Filipe Fa is described as energetic, spontaneous and funny. “He has been told he should be a comedian … but never wanted to pursue comedy because 99.9 percent of his jokes are fat jokes and fat is not something he wants to be,” according to his Biggest Loser biography.
Filipe did not start gaining weight until high school. He used his asthma as an excuse to not work out and be healthy. He comes from a family of nine; one of his siblings died accidentally at a very young age and Filipe has blamed himself for years because it was his responsibility to watch him. He came to the show when working in an oil-change business in Mesa, Ariz.
Sione ran his own landscaping business in Mesa. Very athletic and competitive in school, his weight had been up and down most of his life. He tried many diets but always gained the weight back and more. Being the owner of his own company caused Sione to work long hours, making it difficult to get to a gym and follow healthy eating habits.
Being a fan of “The Biggest Loser” since its first season, Sione called his cousin Filipe to go to an open cast call in their hometown of Mesa. It was a life-changing decision.
Sione weighed in at 372 pounds. Not only was he overweight, he also was diagnosed with having severe sleep apnea, was pre-diabetic, and suffered from chronic headaches. In his last official weigh-in at the live finale this past May, Sione had lost 146 pounds – 39 percent of his starting weight – bringing his weight to 226. Filipe lost more than 130 pounds.
Since the show, both now travel the country doing appearances such as this one to help people realize their own potential to change their lives through healthy lifestyle. Filipe also began a personal mission to help encourage and teach members of his Tongan community how to live healthier and happier lives.