Originally published on BroadwayWorld.com.
“Melissa” (Shadyside, OH) – When Melissa’s military husband, Mike, returned from Afghanistan, he seemed to have become a different person. Later diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), he committed suicide in 2009, leaving behind Melissa and their two sons, one of whom has also been diagnosed with PTSD. In the years following Mike’s death, Melissa turned to food for comfort, eventually reaching 301 pounds. Last year, Melissa wrote to show trainer Chris Powell’s wife, Heidi Powell (also a trainer and transformation specialist), asking for help. Melissa’s yearlong physical and emotional journey will be documented on the hit series “Extreme Weight Loss,” airing TUESDAY, JULY 1 (8:00-10:00 p.m., ET/PT) on the ABCTelevision Network.
Following Mike’s PTSD diagnosis, 46-year-old Melissa and her family struggled to return to their normal, everyday lives. As Mike became quieter and more emotionally withdrawn, Melissa never knew what to expect. Then one day, Mike didn’t come home – he had committed suicide at work.
After Mike’s death, Melissa turned to food for comfort, and as an escape to avoid dealing with the pain of her loss. Five years later, Melissa decided it was time to take action before her bad habits made her children orphans. Feeling a kinship with Heidi, also a working mother, Melissa reached out to ask for help.
Melissa quickly realized she didn’t know what she had gotten herself into in working with Heidi. Though Chris is known as an affable encourager, Heidi is much more of a “bulldog” calling Melissa out on all of her excuses during their year together, and forcing her to confront her demons. With encouragement from Heidi, Melissa also will spend the year figuring out how to celebrate her husband’s life, rather than mourn his death.
Additionally, while at “EWL” boot camp, she’ll get the opportunity to learn proper nutrition from celebrity chef Rocco Dispirito.
New in Season 4, in addition to working with Chris and Heidi Powell, each participant spends the first 90 days of his or her weight loss journey at the renowned University of Colorado’s Anschutz Health and Wellness Center (AHWC) in Aurora, CO.
Chris and Heidi, along with AHWC’s medical director Holly Wyatt, MD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Colorado, guide participants on their journeys to safely lose up to half their body weight, ultimately revealing an amazing metamorphosis. The Anschutz Health and Wellness Center offers some of the country’s most advanced research and science-based expertise, focusing on a comprehensive weight loss and weight loss management approach, including fitness, nutrition and wellness services.
“Extreme Weight Loss” is produced by Eyeworks USA. JD Roth, Todd A. Nelson, Matt Assmus and Brant Pinvidic are the executive producers.