Adro — New baby, new body

The Biggest Loser has double the joy, with a new son and a great new body.

Snuggled against his daddy’s bare chest, little Eden Sarnelli sleeps soundly, blissfully unaware of the significance of this cuddle.

Yet for his father Adro this intimate moment marks not only the beginning of his son’s life but, in a sense, the rebirth of his own.

Few will forget the inspiring image of a staggeringly slimmed-down Adro Sarnelli winning last year’s The Biggest Loser. But as he introduces his beloved new baby to Woman’s Day, Adro also exclusively reveals his sensational new body and the extraordinary steps he took to turn himself into the man he always wanted to be.

Eight weeks before baby Eden was born on November 30, Adro checked himself into hospital for the first of two operations that would rid him of the armfuls of sagging skin which were the legacy of his obesity.

“When I came home from The Biggest Loser, I felt cheated,” he says, speaking candidly about the complex emotions which surrounded his massive weight loss.

“All my life as a fat guy I dreamed that if I lost weight, life would be perfect. I lost more than 50 kilos, but my body was just as bad as when I started because my skin sagged so much. The first thing I saw when I looked down were these horrible flapping man boobs. When I washed I had to lift up bits, like the apron hanging from my stomach, to clean underneath.”

With his wife Sam pregnant with their second child, Adro, 27, was determined that he would — quite literally — be a new person by the time his son was born. Within weeks of the show ending he consulted four plastic surgeons and chose Sydney-based Dr Mark Kohout to perform the operations.

Says Adro, “As soon as I’d started losing weight I knew I wasn’t going to be happy with all the wobbly skin. Having it removed was part of the journey, it allowed me to have closure on the obese person I’d always been.”

Initially doctors suggested a tummy tuck and a male breast reduction, called a gynecomastia, but Adro wanted more. “I had really saggy love handles on my back, my thighs were droopy and I had wobbly tuckshop lady arms. It wasn’t a case of wanting it removed, I needed it removed. I wasn’t prepared to have it hanging around as a reminder of how I was — I have a TV program to remind me!”

To recap, Adro won The Biggest Loser title last April when he dropped a staggering 51 kilos from his 136.5kg frame after competing in the Network Ten series. One of seven children from an Italian family, he began stacking on the weight as a child thanks to rich meals and being forbidden from playing sport.

“Even when I went on the show I didn’t think I’d lose the weight,” he admits. “I’d had it drummed into me for years that I had big bones or that I’d got the bad end of the gene pool.”

The Biggest Loser proved that wasn’t the case. However, despite leaving the show with a 32-inch waist and wearing a medium shirt, Adro couldn’t fully appreciate his new fit body.

On October 3 he went into hospital for a circumferential body lift, a tummy tuck, an outer thigh lift and a buttock lift.

Says Adro, “I was feeling nervous but the anaesthetist was brilliant and asked if I’d like something for the nerves. The next thing I knew was I was waking up and it was over.”

Although the operation had taken more than six hours, Adro felt no pain afterwards. Even when the morphine wore off, he says he felt only discomfort.

Back home after four days, he was amazingly mobile and the only sign of the operation was a thin cut all the way round his abdomen with little suture strips over it.

“From the very first second that I could move enough to see it, I was like ‘wow’. To be flat all the way down was a spinout. I run my hand across my abs (abdominal muscles) all the time because it’s not the sort of thing I ever dreamed I’d have.”

Six weeks after the first operation, Adro returned to hospital for the gynecomastia (breast lift) and the removal of skin from his under-arms. Fifteen centimetres of skin weighing 200 grams was removed from each breast and the nipples were removed and then grafted back onto his chest. The operation took three and a half hours and afterwards he had to wear a protective vest.

“There was a chance the nipples wouldn’t take and the doctor had warned me they would be black for three to four weeks, but within five days they were already pink on the edges,” says Adro, who credits his speedy recovery to his general fitness and use of vitamin supplements.

Initially he had to be careful not to lift his three-year-old daughter Odessa, but now with the swelling nearly gone and only a little fluid retention, he’s delighted with what he calls “the new me”.

“I feel brilliant,” he enthuses, stripping off his shirt without a hint of embarrassment. “Before, I would never have taken my shirt off at the beach or the pool, but now I walk around all the time with a bare chest. I now feel finished and I definitely got that closure I was after.”

One thing he wants to impress is that he didn’t have any liposuction or fat removal. “I know some people think I lost a bit of weight then used surgery to finish it off, but that’s not the case. I don’t want anyone to think I cheated.”

While he may yet have a third operation, Adro’s surgery has already totalled $51,000, although he has only had to pay $25,000 because of the promotional benefits of the documentary he is making on his experience.

At their home on the NSW Central Coast, Adro’s wife smiles across at him with pride. Sam says his saggy skin never bothered her and that the decision to have surgery was entirely his. “I was so scared with the first operation. I spent the whole day wrapped in a doona sitting on the lounge and waiting for a phone call from the doctor,” she says.

Although Sam, 27, would love Adro whatever he looked like, she is delighted that he is now healthy and fit enough to really enjoy their children. “One image that will stay in my head forever is the first time Adro took Odessa to the play park after coming off the show. Previously he would sit on a bench outside, but this time he was playing in the tunnels for an hour and a half. When he came out he was smiling from ear to ear.”

While Adro says his new body makes him feel sexier, Sam says she also enjoys the emotional and spiritual development that has come with his weight loss.

In fact, Adro regards his time on The Biggest Loser, particularly the challenging time at the holistic health retreat Camp Eden, as so significant that he named his son after it.

“Camp Eden was a turning point for me. It was there that I confronted my demons and realised I was not going to be fat ever again. When we were thinking of names, I wanted something that related to the new me and both Sam and I loved the name Eden.”

Even Eden’s middle name, Harper, is a tribute to the show’s trainer Bob Harper, who Adro believes made the difference between success and failure.

Born weighing 4020g (8lb 14oz) (or as Adro says, “one Mars bar short of 9lb”), the little boy completes a momentous year for the family.

Sadly, Adro’s success has come at a price, particularly the collapse of his car repair business, which floundered without him at the helm. He has launched a new health and fitness enterprise — — and has hopes of opening health centres called The New Me.

But as he says, he has his health and his family. “My life is so good that every day starts with a pinch. I think it will last forever.”

**For more information about Adro, see

For more amazing pics of Adro’s transformation, see this week’s issue of Woman’s Day.**

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