In April 2016, Tevita weighed 178kg and was heading towards bariatric surgery if he couldn’t find a way to bring his weight down to a healthier range. That was the turning point for Tevita, and with the help of his family, friends and the weight management clinic at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, he made some changes to his diet and activity levels that saw him lose more than 65kg in 12 months.   

Being 15 and weighing about 180kg wasn’t healthy. I’d always been big but I still loved my sports. It wasn’t easy to play, though. I would get tired easily and found it hard to play a full game.

I was just eating too much – I never ate a lot of junk food, though – it was the amount of food I was eating that was the problem. I was also not sleeping very well, and had a bad habit of sleeping for a few hours, going straight to the fridge, sleeping for a few more hours, and then back to the fridge.

When I was at my heaviest and the word ‘surgery’ was mentioned, I knew I didn’t want to go down that road, so I chose instead to change the way I eat, exercise more and get healthier.

It was hard at first. I was hungry and tired and felt like I had no energy, but I just had to push through the first few weeks. And that’s what I did and got some good results and kept moving forward.

I now go to the gym (at school) four days a week, footy training twice a week and boxing training twice a week. At other times, I just go for a walk or kick a ball around with my friends to get some exercise.  I also eat healthy food and snacks in smaller portions, and drink lots of water.

Since losing the weight, I feel great. I feel lighter on my feet, I can move easier and faster, I’m stronger and have heaps more energy. And I can play a full game of rugby.

My family has played an important part in my weight loss, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.  My mum and sister help prepare my meals and are always encouraging me to stay on track. My mates have been very supportive, too, always pushing me on to keep going and do better.

There’s no shame in asking for help, it’s not embarrassing to ask for help to better yourself.

Don’t think just because you are bigger than other kids that you can’t play sport or do something physical. Just start with small changes to your diet and the amount of exercise you do.

The most important thing is to just get out and do something, even just walk for half an hour, eat heathy food and drink lots of water.

Never give up and stay positive.  If you have negative thoughts, you’ll go nowhere.

It takes time but it’s worth it.