Tara Costa pictured at the 2011 Ford Ironman World Championship in Kona

Biggest Loser finalist joins Sooke triathlon

Tara Costa, a finalist on season seven of the Biggest Loser, Sooke bound

Tara Costa, 27, was a finalist on season seven of the weight loss television program, the Biggest Loser, in 2009.

She won a record-setting eight challenges, and managed to shed 155 pounds from her original 294 pound frame.

Now working as a life coach, motivational speaker and weight-loss counsellor, Costa travels throughout the U.S.

After viewing photos and hearing stories of “beautiful” Western Canada, the region has always been a desired destination for Costa.

So when she received an email from a race director inviting her to participate in the Subaru Sooke Triathlon set for Aug. 12, Costa seized the opportunity.

“There’s never been time for a vacation, so when this opportunity came about it was a ‘no -brainer,’” she said.

“I love participating in races and going to a new area,” Costa said. “When you’re riding a bike in a country-side in different areas and through towns you just really learn about the area in general and you learn about the culture.”

Costa has been involved in triathlons of varied distances from Olympic, sprint and half-iron man.

Due to a hip injury, Costa will either enter in the Olympic or sprint distance courses, depending on her condition.

“I’m looking forward to taking part in the race,” she said, adding the culture and personalities surrounding triathlons are motivating.

“It feels good to push yourself to the limit and do it.”

And although the nature of a triathlon may be competitive, Costa said she only ever competes with herself.

“I don’t really think I really compete against others. I think I just compete against myself,” she said. “I’m going out there and doing things because I know I can do it.”

For those who wish to lose weight, but lack the confidence, Costa offered the following advice: Complete goals marked, “Just for today.”

Costa said by making weight loss goals short-term, it makes the end goal seem less daunting.

“Put your head down and keep working towards it,” she said.

“Just for today you can.”

Her life has changed since her dramatic weight loss, and according to her website, she has inspired millions along the way.

“The path that I’m on, I’m going to try to do the best that I can,” she said.

“It’s a really cool feeling, I’ve helped inspire (people) to do better, to become something different.

“I want to lead by example, and I want to walk my talk.”