Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Extreme Weight Loss - Mehrbod Sets Records, Good and Bad

Due to the All Star Game, I got to watch Extreme Weight Loss in its entirety tonight.  I am, however, going through So You Think You Can Dance withdrawals...

But I'm glad I got to watch this one right away.  Mehrbod is quite an inspiration.

Mehrbod and his family are from Iran, where they often didn't have enough to eat. To compensate, he learned to stuff himself with food whenever it was around, since he literally didn't know where his next meal was coming from.  By the time he was in the United States and didn't have to worry about starving anymore, the pattern had become ingrained and he gained weight - a lot of it.

Though Mehrbod began his EWL year at 434 pounds, he had been at 498.  He lost 64 pounds on his own before Chris Powell came into his life, so part of his transformation had already taken place.  He was inspired by his girlfriend Mona, who loved him at almost 500 pounds and stayed by his side no matter what.  He was hoping they would get married, but since he had to ask her parents first he wanted to lose the rest of the weight so they would feel he would be able to take care of himself and her. 

Mehrbod lost 137 pounds in the first phase and kept going strong through the second phase.  He even got to ski again, something he hadn't been able to do for 12 years due to his weight.  Chris enlisted Olympic champion Picabo Street to get Mehrbod moving on the slopes again, and he did a fantastic job.  You could tell he was enjoying the freedom to do things that his body had held him back from. (As someone who was just learning to ski before I gained weight, I could relate to the feeling - even though I'm not quite in skiing shape yet!)  On top of that, he no longer needed to use the sleep apnea machine that kept him steadily breathing every night.  What a relief it had to be, not to worry if he was going to wake up in the morning or not. 

Unfortunately, Phase Three did not go smoothly for him.  He gathered the courage to speak to Mona's parents about marriage, but they were not receptive because they didn't like his career choice.  They hated his DJing work, and wanted their daughter to marry a doctor or a lawyer.  When he set up a meeting with Mona to talk, she stood him up.  (In her defense...I have a feeling she was highly influenced by her parents and probably forbidden to even think about marrying Mehrbod.)  This sent him into a downward spiral, eating all of his old comfort foods constantly.  Once again, I could relate...to having people tell you that you need to be what THEY want you to be or else you're not good enough.  I still deal with that from some people!

Chris thought all was still going well - because Mehrbod rigged his scale to show continued weight loss when he did his video chats with Chris.  He thought he could get back on track before the next big weigh-in, but that didn't happen.  Instead, he had to confess what he did to Chris.  And he had gained more than 60 pounds back in that short amount of time.  Chris was livid...wondering if he could ever trust Mehrbod again and if he could really reach his goals.  Mehrbod had set a weight loss record in Phase One, but he also set a weight GAIN record in Phase Three. 

As it turns out, Mehrbod was able to get back on track in a big way.  By the end of the year, he had reached his goal weight of 230.  He looked amazing and happy.  Plus, he and Mona are back together again.  No word on an engagement, or how her parents feel about this...but it seemed like they worked through whatever was keeping them apart.  And Mehrbod set a 3rd record - for the biggest weight loss in Phase Four!

What can we learn from Mehrbod?  Don't let setbacks set you back forever, find a way to work out your problems without turning to food, and NEVER let other people tell you you're not good enough or shouldn't be yourself.  I'm rooting for him to do what he wants to do with his life...and can't wait to see what his next goal is!


Amy said...
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