“I’m a young good looking guy; I’m just fat.” Episode 3 of Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition (EMWLE) begins with Dana, a 44 year old man who is more than 250 pounds overweight saying these words.
During the first segment, Dana tells us multiple times that he knows he needs to lose weight but he feels like he has gotten into such a hole that he doesn’t know what to do. Dana wants to be a dad but can’t find anyone who will love a 500-pound man.
As usual, Chris Powell, the shows trainer, surprises Dana. I gotta tell you, Dana definitely takes the prize for most extreme reaction to being chosen for the show. While working out at the pool, Dana is surprised by Chris who does a cannonball into the water to meet Dana. Dana swallows up Chris in his arm and nearly drowns him in the celebration. It was funny to watch.
The show almost felt rushed this week. Chris takes Dana to the California Institute for Health and Longevity for his initial weigh-in and a chance to learn some healthy alternatives to his favorite food of ribs.
During the workout I had to laugh a few times simply because of the looks on Dana’s face. Again, if there was an award given for most animated workout, Dana wins hands down! I was seriously laughing out loud. During one point in the workout, Dana says “I’m gonna through up man.” To which Chris responds, “It’s your body throwing a temper tantrum.”
I’ve never really thought about it that way, but it is a pretty good way to look at the way people sometimes feel when they start working out.
Again Chris moves in and they set a 3-month goal to lose 110 pounds. If Dana hits his goal, he will earn lessons with a voice coach.
During the first session, Chris begins to wonder why Dana isn’t losing weight as quickly as he should be. The answer is found in the trash. Chris discovers that Dana had been sneaking food! It was in the garbage, in his car, and hidden in the garage. Chris came unglued. He was throwing food out in the yard and letting Dana have it.
Of course Dana starts to cry and Chris confronts him. We find out that Dana was sexually abused as a child and had hidden this from everyone. After he told Chris this, I also began to wonder if he wasn’t struggling with his own sexuality as well.
Going to food and gaining weight is a common way that individuals who have been abused or who are trying to bury feelings use to make themselves fell protected. That is exactly what Dana did.
Chris decides to challenge Dana by having him walk across a long bridge carrying the amount of weight that he has lost so far. As he walks, a homeless guy is making fun of him the whole time. Chris asks him how he feels about being made fun of and of course Dana doesn’t like it.
After a while, Chris finally has enough. He unleashes on the homeless guy. It was a little humorous to see the reaction of the homeless guy when Chris lets him have it.
At the first weigh in, Dana is down 111 pounds and earns his voice lessons. This is where the show seems to go into fast forward.
So here is the fast forward version of the rest of the show. Chris arranges a “concert” with Dana and his brother who he hasn’t seen in years. It’s actually singing a couple of songs in front of a church. Dana seems to get on a role and then has a binge on pizza.
Now that Dana has lost some weight and can fit in the equipment, he gets his knee x-rayed and finds that he has a torn ACL. All this brings us to the 6 month weigh in where he weighs 358 when he should have weighed 317. Chris was not happy.
When Chris asks what happened, Dana says, “I’m all alone.” Chris tells him this is more than about just being alone and says, “When you figure out why you turn to food then you can find a solution.” Dana struggles for a moment and then he comes out to Chris and the world. He is gay.
He had been staying fat to hide the fact that he was a homosexual and now that he was losing weight he was beginning to feel comfortable with whom he really is. It must have been quite a moment for Dana to not only recognizes that he was gay but to also come out on national television. I’m glad he got the courage to do it.
In fact, I think that if he hadn’t come to terms with his sexuality he may not have lost any more weight or would have quickly gained the weight he did lose back.
At the final weigh-in, Dana weighs in at 295 pounds, a 203-pound loss! He tells us that it is the first time he has been in the 200’s since sixth grade.
I found a few things cool about this episode. First that through this journey Dana was able to discover his true self. Second, that he did it with a torn ACL. Most people would quit with an injury like that but Dana and Chris found a way to work around it.
Now, for the not so cool part, it seems like each week the episodes are becoming very predictable. I know there is a format to the show, but I would like to see a little more action. Maybe some challenges or some type of tasks that show the character having a physical breakthrough. The show also felt a little rushed this week, kind of like this entry. But that happens.
I’m still enjoying the show and will have another breakdown for you next week.
Matt Hoover was the winner of The Biggest Loser 2 where he lost 157 pounds, and found confidence, love, and a brighter perspective on life. After winning the show, Matt married cast-mate Suzy Hoover. Matt and Suzy continue to live a happy and healthy lifestyle with their two boys in Seattle.