The Fono

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Zumba gets Toa into weight loss groove

Toa Seuea admits he loves foods that he knows aren’t good for him.

“Povi masima, lamb flaps, pork … lots of taro … it’s hard to say no,” says Toa, originally from Falealili and Manono in Samoa and now living in Avondale.

“I was up to 150kg. I’d sit down to watch TV and after five minutes I’d fall asleep and my snoring was so loud. Other times I’d struggle to sleep. My knee hurts because of the weight I put on it and the doctors said I need an operation. Then I was told that I could get diabetes … I knew I had to do something.”

And Toa did, initially by restricting his eating to special occasions, and eating healthier foods such as chicken, fish, and more fruit and vegetables.

But the big improvement was when he started to participate in the free Zumba classes run by The Fono throughout West Auckland. It has helped him lose more than 30kg, reducing his weight to 119kgs.

The father of three says he hasn’t felt as good as he does now in a long time.

“My knee feels better and I feel healthier,” he says.

“I love the music Lingi, Mata and Losa put on, especially the island music. It makes me feel better, happier and I don’t feel so heavy. It’s a lot of fun.”

So much fun that Toa has attracted his wife Faga and daughters Pauline, Rose, Jan and Janet to classes. He says it’s something the family all enjoy doing together, with the added bonus that they’re getting healthier along the way.

In fact, he enjoys it so much he often attends more than one class a day and will travel to the various community venues across West Auckland to participate.

The progress has encouraged him to lose more weight, with reducing it to 100kg being his ultimate goal.

“If I can get down to that, there’s more chance of me getting the operation on my knee,” says Toa.

“No matter what, I want to stay healthy and feel better, and going to Zumba with the family is a help to us all.”

The Fono’s healthy living and exercise programme

The Fono coordinates fitness, exercise and nutrition services for Pacific church and community groups in West Auckland. Services are free and open to anyone living in the Waitemata DHB area wanting to participate.

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