Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition – Episode 6 (Wally)

OK This episode was much different than the rest!

After watching the previous 5 shows, a definite pattern was starting to develop. The shows were beginning to get very predicable. I’m glad that this weeks show was different, and there is a ton that we can learn from it.

This week Chris Powell chose to help Wally a 26 year old with a wife and a young daughter. Early in the show it became clear that Wally had something more serious going on. He obesity wasn’t the result of simply having poor habits. Wally is a food addict.

His Starting weight was 490lbs.

His 3 month goal was to lose 110 pounds. Remember that during the first three months Chris spends considerably more time with the people he is helping (read comments from the previous episodes post on whether or not he actually lives with them for 3 months). Anyway with Chris’s guidance Wally lost 110 pounds exactly and won a trip to Disney World with his family (although more subtle than The Biggest Loser, this still was an ad for Disney).

His goal for the second 3 month phase was to lose 70lbs.

Chris met Wally and his family at Disney World for the six month weigh-in. It was obvious that Wally hadn’t lost very much weight. Turns out that he only lost 21 additional pounds. He admitted to Chris that he had been cheating. This didn’t go over very well because all along Wally had been telling Chris that he’d been right on track.

Chris clearly was angry and he called Wally out, yelled at him a lot. He was doing the “tough love” trainer thing. Which probably seemed like the right thing to do at the time. But as you’ll see it probably wasn’t.

Then Chris made a decision that I disagree with. Even though Wally had not been fully engaged in the process, Chris still decided to go ahead with their plans to go on a 100 mile bike ride. I get what Chris was trying to accomplish. He wanted to show Wally that he was capable of doing more than he though he could. And that makes some sense, sometimes you have to push yourself and get uncomfortable to realize how strong you really are.

But this ride appeared to be in the Orlando Fl. area, and they kept talking about the heat. OK I get it, it get’s really hot in Orlando. But Chris kept saying that it was 112 degrees. Maybe he was talking about the heat index, because it doesn’t get that hot in Orlando ever! Anyway I think it was a mistake to have a 359 pound person, who hasn’t been training for long distance cycling and isn’t fully engaged in the weight loss journey for a 100 mile bike ride on a hot day in Florida!

And it didn’t turn out well. Wally didn’t finish. He had symptoms of heat exhaustion for sure. Luckily they didn’t force him to continue and the medical staff took care of him.

Chris made some great comments at this point in the show. He basically said that Wally was either going to react to this struggle on the bike by stepping up and re-committing to the program, or he would shut it down and struggle.

Turns out he struggled.

Wally was making videos and he kept talking about how difficult things were. He struggled with the temptations of fast food, doing the workouts. When he cheated he kept punishing himself my eating more food. During the 8th month of the program he stopped responding to emails and phone calls from Chris.

Just before the 9 month weigh-in he sent Chris a letter and explained that he was a failure, that he hated himself.

Chris got on a plane and flew to Chicago to intervene. When he got there he met Wally’s wife, pulled her aside and showed her the letter. He asked for her support. When Wally returned (supposedly from a workout, but really from a fast food restaurant), Chris confronted him.

Wally admitted that he wasn’t following the program and that he’d been eating fast food almost everyday. He said he was depressed and had been suicidal for the past month. I think I knew at this point what Chris was going to do but I wasn’t sure.

They weighed Wally and he had gained back 60 pounds!

Chris admitted that he couldn’t help Wally. That his program will only work if Wally want to help himself. He knew that Wally was a food addict and needed help beyond Chris’s expertise. There is a program in Chicago (and probably most mid to large cities), that helps people with food addictions. Chris asked if Wally wanted to go there for help.

Wally agreed and Chris took him.

There is so much to learn from this show.

1. Nutrition plans and exercise programs only help people who are willing and/or capable of  helping themselves.

2. No matter how much someone might know and how much expertise one has, there is always a chance that the help someone needs is beyond your scope.

3. Not everyone is going to be successful when attempting to lose weight.

4. Chris Powell made the right call, Wally needed help in ways that Chris couldn’t provide and he made an appropriate referral.


Admitting some of those things are very difficult for me. When I wake up every morning I believe that the combination of my education, experience and the programs that I’ve developed are enough to help everyone accomplish any goal that they may have.

But the truth is they aren’t enough. Not for everyone! I can’t help everyone. I can only help people who are ready to receive the information that I share and have a willingness to help themselves. I’m humbled by this realization.

So I’ll help those who are ready and hope those who aren’t will look me up when they are.

Chris Powell is an awesome guy. He made an incredible decision after only 9 months with Wally. And it was the right decision.

I hope that Wally has found the help he needs.

Here are to quotes from this (These aren’t quite as uplifting as previous episodes, but they are powerful)

“If you can get your mind right, at least there is hope (that you will reach your weight loss goals).”

“Fast food has become the opiate for the masses.”

“I can’t help you. I can give you all the tools in the world but Wally only you can help yourself.”

“Whatever emotions I have I find an excuse to eat. And I have to change that.”

“Life got too complicated and I just when back to old habits.”

“Ultimately fast food is a lifestyle that Wally has to choose to give up.”

“Obesity is a terminal illness, it’ll kill you.”


Remeber to leave your comments below, I love them!

See you next week…

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