herald

Tuesday 21 August 2018

How Irish couple Gerard and Paula became biggest losers - and shed 10 stone

AN Irish couple who shed a whopping 10 stone on The Biggest Loser say the show has changed their lives.

Gerard Burke and Paula Culhane say the experience of shedding pounds together has made their relationship stronger.

Gerard (24) was close to claiming the crown on the programme after a dropping from 19st 12lb to 13st 6lb.

He entered the show with his girlfriend Paula (31).

The couple from Limerick said that the programme had the potential to put enormous strain on their relationship -- but they feel that they have come out the better for it.



Comfortable

"It was difficult," Gerard told the Herald. "But ultimately everybody is like a Biggest Loser family. We all got along. They are 13 best friends. And when we came home -- it was so weird. We lived with them for so long. But with myself and Paula, it made the two of us stronger."

Gerard met Paula online, and discovered they lived just around the corner from each other.

"It's crazy, with the age difference we would never have bumped into each other," he said.

"But we're not getting younger. "We want to settle down and maybe have a family soon."

Special needs assistant Paula said that the show and the weight-loss had cemented their bond and that the pair were more "comfortable" in themselves.

Paula, who shed 4st 2lb, said that the one drawback from the competition was that her entire wardrobe was now too big - but she said that it gave her a reason to go shopping.

"When I came back home I had literally nothing that fit - even down to underwear," she told the Herald. "So I did a big shop and since then I have been going out shopping -- it is a great excuse.

"I don't have a number I want to reach in mind. When I reach a normal size I'll be happy -- I was a size 24 before and now I'm a size 16 or 18."

But she said that she hadn't kept many items from her old wardrobe in case anything happens.

"I don't want to go back ever," she said.

"I do keep a big pair of jeans. They are a constant reminder."

The show's other Irish contestant, Damien Byrne (22), was one of the first to leave the competition but has also continue with a new regime.

The Dubliner now trains in a Swords gym and has lost 4st. He said that he felt he grew up in the course of the ITV show.

clairemurphy@herald.ie

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