Metalworker Graham makes a new life
Jun 13, 2012
Proud AMWU member and Biggest Loser contestant Graham Pilson
Twelve months ago life was very different for Graham Pilson. The 37-year-old AMWU member from Bathurst, New South Wales was a massive 210 kilos. Pies and soft drinks were a staple of morning tea. He was overweight, constantly tired and as he now admits, struggling with long-term depression.
Fast-forward a year and the gentle giant has returned to his welding workshop after a whirlwind experience as a contestant on Channel 10’s popular reality television show The Biggest Loser.
In the process he has become a household name, an inspiration for thousands of other Australians battling weight loss and 70 kilos lighter.
“When I first came back, a lot of the guys at work didn’t recognise me. I was wearing my Holden gear, so they thought I was a Holden rep,” he laughs as he remembers walking through the doors of his workshop.
“They hadn’t seen me since November, and I had lost quite a lot of weight. They’re a great bunch of blokes. They held my position open for me, which was fantastic and they’ve been really flexible with all my TV commitments too. Although they’ve given me a bit of stick.”
Over four gruelling months The Biggest Loser took Graham through a rigorous schedule of training and unique physical challenges from military-style obstacle courses to trekking the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland. Not only did the experience test him physically but mentally. Something he never expected.
Since returning home Graham has thrown out his daily diet of fatty foods in favour of healthier alternatives and regular exercise.
“I love my training. Before Biggest Loser I had every excuse under the sun. I was too tired, I’d start next week and on it went. Now I absolutely adore training.
“I’ve also learnt to control myself. I take my own lunches into work now. That’s the way I’ve got to go. And I used to drink quite a lot - I’m not missing that either,” he says.
He has opened up about dealing with depression and his dream to one-day start a family.
“My family are all really proud of me and what I’ve achieved. I didn’t want my parents to lose another son and I was heading that way if I didn’t change my life.
“I’ve still got the goal of getting to 110 kilos, so I need to lose about 30 kilos more. My doctor told me it could take another two years but I’m trying to do it in the next 12 months.”
In the meantime he’ll be kept busy at his proudly unionised workshop at Railcorp Bathurst.
“We’ve got stuff coming in from all over the place. We do everything with railway lines, switches, weld rail line length on all the Railcorp infrastructure. We’re always kept pretty busy...it’s good to be back.”
If you are experiencing depression or in need of emotional support contact Lifeline, a 24-hour telephone crisis support service, on 13 11 14.