health

In 2011, 25-year-old Emma Duncan won The Biggest Loser after losing 62kg. This is her life now.

The Biggest Loser winner Emma Duncan has no doubt that being fit and healthy helped her when it came to having her son Clay 19 months ago.

“I was running even while I was pregnant,” Duncan tells Mamamia. “I did a pump class the day before I gave birth. I went to work in labour.”

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Video via Mamamia

After having contractions all morning at her Newcastle hairdressing salon, Duncan turned up to the hospital with her partner Les. She insisted on climbing the stairs to the birthing suite, where she was told she was nearly 8cm dilated.

“I just hung onto Les, and my twin sister Meg was in there as well, and I gave birth standing up, in a squat, probably only four or five pushes. It was painful, but not long after I gave birth, I said, ‘Oh, I could do that again.’ That was definitely from being fit and healthy.”

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Image: Supplied.
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Nine years ago, when Duncan went on The Biggest Loser with Meg, her other sister Sarah-Jayne and her brother Jarrod, she was nowhere near as fit and healthy. Duncan says she started putting on weight when she was 19 or 20, after Meg moved to Sydney.

"I got really severe separation anxiety," she remembers. "I actually started putting weight on due to that."

She lost that weight, but then got "comfortable with life" and put it on again. When she saw applications were open for The Biggest Loser: Families, she encouraged her siblings to enter with her. She was 108kg when she applied for the show and 133.9kg when filming began.

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Image: Channel 10.

"I knew we were going to get on, so I just let loose a little bit and ate too much," she says with a laugh. "I was like, 'Right, I need half my bodyweight to lose if I’m going to win this show.'"

Duncan did win, by getting down to 71.8kg, and she split the $100,000 prize money equally with her siblings. But she says she "hated" being that weight.

"I felt too thin, looked too sick," she explains. "Being six foot tall, I just didn’t like it. I needed a little bit of curve, being a woman, for me. My boobs were like cracked eggs on my chest. They were very saggy. My skin was really loose."

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Within a matter of weeks of "normal everyday living and eating and drinking fluids", Duncan was 85kg.

"I liked my body at 85 kilos. I felt confident. I felt happy. That was an easy maintainable weight. I’m 85 kilos now."

However, Duncan hasn’t stayed at exactly the same weight for the past nine years. She says she’s still an emotional eater.

"People think, 'Oh, you were on The Biggest Loser. It must be this amazing magical cure.' It’s definitely not. A few years ago, we got some bad health news about a family member, and I put on 10 kilos. But I lost it again. I always get back to where I need to be."

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Image: Supplied.

One thing that’s helped her maintain her weight is discovering a love for running.

"Running is my main passion. In the last five years, I’ve done two 50km ultra-marathons and a marathon and probably about 25 half-marathons."

Duncan says she put on a "little bit of weight" in the first year of her son’s life.

"Everyone brings you cakes and lasagne and all these nice yummy things and you’re just sitting on the couch feeding the baby."

On top of that, Clay had feeding problems, which made it hard for her to get back into her exercise routine.

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"He was just vomiting all the time and screaming and he wouldn’t eat, and we found out he had a little blockage. Then he just stopped vomiting one day and he was thriving and he was gaining weight and he was so much happier. Then I said, ‘Right, that’s it. It’s Mum’s turn.'"

She’s now back to going for early morning runs.

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Image: Supplied.

"Now I’m just running for my health and wellbeing, just to be fit and healthy and an active role model for our son."

Sometimes she runs with her sister Meg – and before coronavirus came along, the two of them would go to the gym together, with both of them popping their babies into the gym crèche.

"Her youngest is four months older than Clay, so our boys are basically growing up together."

Even though Duncan had such a smooth pregnancy and birth with Clay, she and Les aren’t planning on having any more children.

"We had a lot of problems having Clay," she says. "We both actually got told we couldn’t have kids. And because we did have so many feeding issues in the beginning, it was a lot of hard work and a lot of stress.

"We just feel blessed and lucky we have one, so we’ll stick with that."

Feature Image: Channel 10 / Supplied.

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