Archive for October, 2011

Rut Roh!  Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition in trouble

An article from Diets in Review landed in my inbox this weekend.

“Anyone who watches reality television knows that it isn’t all real, after all, whether it’s Loser, Housewives, or Hills, they still have a story to tell and a show to produce. But it’s one of those things that no one talks about.  Until now. James Garrison, a participant in Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition‘s first season earlier this year, is calling himself a whistle blower and exposing what he describes as mistreatment of the shows participants.

“You read it here first… The Biggest Extreme Makeover Loser WhistleBlower,” said Garrison at the end of a nearly 2000-word diatribe against Extreme Makeover’s producers and cast, calling out by name JD Roth (the man also behind Biggest Loser) and the show’s trainer Chris Powell.

In our interview with James after his episode aired he described health problems he was having as, he says, a result of his rapid weight loss, which meant losing 313 pounds in 365 days. This month he had another rush to the hospital which resulted in the removal of his gall bladder. It got him thinking.

“Well it took another near death stay in the hospital, my second in a year, to realize exactly what I was promoting. Yes, I lost 313lbs in one year on ABC’s Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition, but should you? The answer is no. No one should lose that much weight that fast and if anything I am proof positive as to why its not a good idea. Those are unrealistic expectations that in reality are more harmful than good,” is the statement Garrison wrote in the blog post that started it all.

He says that post was also followed up by personal emails to Roth and Powell, explaining his health problems, the $50,000 in hospital bills from the past year, and asking for help with it all, which he says were ignored.

“I guess what is hard to understand is, after emailing JD. Roth and Chris Powell asking for assistance with my medical and over $50,000 in hospital bills I was ignored.”

The only response he got was a cease and desist from show attorneys, which he posts a copy of on his blog.

“I write a blog about my health and why I don’t think its a good idea to lose 313lbs in one year on a Saturday night because to be honest it was weighing on my conscious that America believes that this is okay and by Sunday morning I have a cease and desist letter and phone calls from show producers and attorneys. They were all threatening calls, and none of which was about helping me. The attorney asked me to take the blog down out of good faith and to see if we can get this resolved but Its been 10 days and still no word back from him other than he is looking into it?”

All of this comes from a blog post Garrison published on October 12, 2011, where he’s also posted images of emails between him and show producers. One such email is from Chris Powell to the show’s participants encouraging them and outlining for them how to do a flush to help them lose up to an extra 30 pounds of water weight before their weigh ins.

Garrison says that the flushes Powell encouraged them to do goes against everything that Powell has taught in his fitness career. He also calls out that they never followed the diet described on the show.

“None of us were on that 2,000 calorie diet that CHLI designed [the Extreme Makeover Diet]. We pretty much were told to eat less and less in email and later just verbally as in their words “your body is fighting back, we need these numbers”. Or what was better “there going to cancel the show, we wont be able to inspire anyone”. We even went without carbs 2-3 days a week,  at their suggestion to get better numbers and better results.”

Other things about the show that Garrison “outs” in his blog post include:

  • “We were made to take diet pills 2-3 times a day
  • “Chris Powell did not live with us for three months each. The fact is I maybe saw him 5 days last year…”
  • “We were made to dehydrate ourselves every single week beginning on Thursday and ending on Saturday morning.”
  • Garrison is certainly not the first weight loss reality star to reveal his experience. Kai Hibbard, a member of Biggest Loser season 3, famously spoke out against that show citing similar unhealthy weight loss tactics to help the contestants lose weight.

    We have reached out to ABC publicity and James Garrison for comment and will update as those are available.

    UPDATED 10/14/11 at 10:20pm:

    We spoke with James by phone and he told his actions are an attempt to right a wrong. “By participating in that show I was wrong.” He also responded to critics saying “If I was out for fortune I wouldn’t be hanging myself right now.” He says some of his fellow castmates have “turned their backs on me” but others have voiced support.

    October 14th, 2011″

When I recaped the show, the question kept popping up about how much time was REALLY spent with each client.  Also, the lack of nutritional information given on the show.  Now it all makes sense…..  What are your thoughts concerning this new revelation?  They are already taping/taped season 2, should they cancel the show?  And by the way, Chris Powell has a book coming out any day now.  Would you buy it?


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TrueLifeDiva Thursday

Rock Bottom

     I’ve been missing in action lately.  There seems to be quite a bit of that going around.  While enjoying the thrill of getting near my goal weight, I was rudely reminded of the real reason why we need to stay in shape.  In some of my blog posts I’ve made mention of a friend.  This friend is lovingly refered to as my chinese buffet buddy and gay husband.  I’ve known him for over  20 yrs.  He is morbidly obese.  While applauding my weight loss efforts, he has at times also sabotaged them.  He struggles with his weight issues.  I’ve seen him do every shake/meal replacement system out there, no carbs, Maple syrup cleanse, fad diet out there.  He has spent thousands on personal trainers, gym memberships, and colonics.  He initially loses weight.  As much as  50 lbs in one month once.  But as soon as the big numbers slow down or things get hard, he quits.  Then he gets depressed and piles the weight back on.

Well, 2 1/2 weeks ago my friend had a big scare.  While at work (we work together too) he began having difficulty breathing, and could not move.  Co-workers drove him home with what was originally assumed to be the flu.  I was very alarmed because earlier this year he was rushed to the hospital with chest pains. When I called to check up on him, he laughed it off and claimed he just needed a few days off from work. Things have been very stressful at the job and this made perfect sense to me.  However, after spending two weeks in bed he made a confession to me.  He wasn’t in bed with the flu.  He was in fact in bed with pads spread underneath him to capture the fluids leaking from his legs.  My dear obese friend now suffers from Edema and several other weight related ailments.  He has been in denial about his extreme weight because he still gets around without aid.  But while very mobile, he cannot stand for too long.  He cannot sit in one position for too long.  He cannot walk for more than a few minutes at a time. He experiences sharp pains that he pretends are from working out.  But while he has been smiling and pretending to be a jolly fat guy, his body is secretly falling apart.  He is only 40 yrs old and he is thisclose to becoming disabled due to his weight.  Like an alcoholic or drug addict, my dear friend had to have an extreme event occur in order to wake up.  He hit rock bottom and I’m praying we can help him climb his way back up.

Working out and eating sensibly  to maintain your ideal weight might seem vain to some people.  I get teased at work by a few who think taking pills is the answer to everything.  Working out to keep my body strong and eating good food is way more practical than being on a million meds or having surgery to unclog arteries.  If I get hit by a bus, there’s nothing I can do about it.  But I can do something about having strong bones, a healthy heart, and a (somewhat) tight butt ;-).  Remember, there is a reason why we try to live healthy.  My dear friend just reminded me by almost dying.  Have you ever had a weight related  “situation”?  What was the event that made you decide to take charge of your life?  Share your stories with the group :-D.                                       Peace and Blessings, TrueLifeDiva 😀

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