Premiering on May 27th is Extreme Weight Loss Season 4 on ABC (8/7 CST) and follows 17 participants who need to lose 200 lbs or more and are not competing against each other. I feel that weight loss programming is some of the best reality TV because of the seriousness of the situations and the raw emotions that people have expressed leading up to change. The transformations that people go through are truly amazing and inspiring. These people open up their vulnerabilities and display their emotional and physical challenges regarding their health and being.
Trainers, husband and wife team Chris (author of NY Times Best Seller Choose More, Lose More For Life) and Heidi Powell are back guiding and supporting the participants on the Season 4 of Extreme Weight Loss. There are 13 stand-alone, two hour episodes where each participant receives the tools they need to transform their lives.
I met with the Executive Producer JD Roth who explained how the show came about, “I created the Biggest Loser and there were a lot of people who were too big to be on the show and I felt really bad because I was sending them home. One guy was 500 lbs! He sent me a video of himself where he couldn’t put on his socks and it made me cry. So I brought it to ABC, who I know can help these people. Everyone was telling me that these people were too big for me to work with. No one wanted to take the liability. ABC said “yes” and we took people who needed to lose 50-60 percent of their body weight in a year.”
Growing up, Roth’s family were all overweight. He discussed how healthy eating for families can be easy, “I give $20 to each of my kids on Saturdays. We to go to the farmer’s market and they buy whatever they want, they think it’s the coolest thing ever. They pick grapes and carrots and we cut up everything they buy and we leave it out and that’s all they eat all day long. For them it’s the greatest thing ever. Kids might not listen to you but they watch everything you do. If you are drinking soda then they are drinking soda. I will never drink a calorie or zero calorie soda because it makes you crave other stuff. I would eat a chocolate-chip cookie first before I drink a calorie.” Roth’s family goes on a 30 minute walk after dinner and he has wonderful conversation with his sons.
Roth goes on to say that he doesn’t judge anyone if they are happy and comfortable and that’s the life that you want, “I feel that there are millions of overweight people who are unhappy. The most underused antidepressant in history is a treadmill.” He continues to say that eating healthy is easy, “You can buy a bag of apples for $5 or you can buy a bag of cookies for the same price. If you eat an apple your kid will eat one. You can buy a rotisserie chicken and feed a whole family and use the bones for chicken soup. You have to ask yourself, what’s my choice? Do I take the easy way out and get Popeye’s or I can take a muffin tray and take turkey meat and bake it on Sunday. I know the size of it and I put in the fridgerator and put ketchup on the plate and give the kids turkey muffins and cut up some carrots. You don’t need a 2000 calorie meal. If Popeye’s is your only option, there are probably healthier options there. It’s all about making that change.”
Here are the following people to follow this season. They all spent a year of their life evolving and fighting to reach their goals.
- Charita & Ty (Colorado Springs, CO; Oklahoma City, OK) – Charita/310 lbs., a mother of three who wants to be able to dance again, and Ty/480 lbs., a baseball prospect who could get a professional contract if he can get under 300 lbs. (This will be the first time in the show’s history that the participants go head-to-head, with only one in this episode making it to the final weigh-in.)
- Jeff & Juliana (Denver, CO) – Father/423 lbs. and his 15-year-old daughter/265 lbs., who have a strained relationship.
- Kathie & Josh (Charlotte, NC) – Single mother/255 lbs. and her 21-year-old son/345 lbs., who lives at home.
- Bruce (Salt Lake City, UT) – Football coach/382 lbs., who wants to confront his imprisoned father, a convicted child molester, for what happened to him during his childhood.
- Jayce (Nashville, TN) – Country songwriter/417 lbs., who wants to become a performer.
- Melissa (Shadyside, OH) – Widow/301 lbs. who was married to an Afghanistan war veteran until he committed suicide as a result of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).
- David (St. Louis, MO) – Gourmet chef/413 lbs. who can’t overcome the guilt he feels about his brother & sister’s deaths.
- Brandi (Atlanta, GA) – Former Pageant Queen/329 lbs. who wants to be pretty again.
- Georgeanna (Tulsa, OK) – Pastor’s wife/315 lbs. who is a former gymnast & cheerleader, but stopped pursuing both to become a mom.
- Sara (Owensboro, KY) – The first “little person”/245 lbs. ever on the show.
- Cassie (Milwaukee, WI) – Mother/347 lbs. who wants to get healthy to meet the son she gave up for adoption 18 years ago.
- Rod (Tallahassee, FL) – Drama teacher/448 lbs., who wants to come out as being gay and then pursue his dream of becoming an actor.
- Christy & Kenny (Las Vegas, NV; Oklahoma City, OK) – Christy/380 lbs., who tried to commit suicide after experiencing teenage bullying, and Kenny/410 lbs., a former Marine who wants to make his kids proud. (Their head-to-head episode is not to be missed; only one of them will make it to the final weigh-in, while the other is the first participant ever to be kicked off the show for bad behavior.)
I want to lose 20-30 lbs which I feel is a daunting task. These people on Extreme Weight Loss had a tremendous amount of weight to lose, along with scars to heal. I want to make the changes that I need to be healthy for my daughter. I will be watching this season and cheering along all the participants!
* I attended an all-expense paid press trip courtesy of Disney/ABCTV/Disney XD. The review is in our own words and is our opinion.