On Extreme Weight Loss Tuesday on ABC, Ryan Sawlsville faces his biggest challenges and CRUSHES them. He starts the year-long weight goal journey at 410 pounds, and sets the goal, along with the co-hosts of the show, Chris and Heidi Powell, of weighing 195 pounds at the end of the year.
Ryan, 23, is a long-time fan of the Green Bay Packers, and likes to tour their Hall of Fame at Lambeau Field at least twice a year. It’s on one of his tours there that Ryan sees a jersey with his name on it, and in walks Chris Powell to tell him the good news that he’s been selected to take part in Extreme Weight Loss.
Ryan is overjoyed that he’s been selected. He tells Chris that one of the things he’d like to eventually do is ride a bike, as he’s never ridden one before. That very day, Chris has Ryan on a stationary bike as a part of his initial workout.
I’m done making excuses for myself and I’m done with low expectations.”
The initial weight loss goal that Chris sets for Ryan is 111 pounds. Chris has had Ryan’s parents’ house renovated, adding workout machines and transforming it into a place where Ryan will be able to drop those pounds quickly.
As usual, Chris stays with Ryan at his home the first three months. Ryan is very motivated, and pumped up — but, then a doctor meets with him, and tells Ryan that he might have a tumor in his brain. If he does have one, he’ll have to drop out of the show.
Fortunately, the MRI results are negative, but the doctor tells him he needs to take medicine to regulate a hormonal imbalance.
Ryan’s already been on an emotional roller-coaster ride, and the episode and the year has barely begun for him. The doctor gives Ryan the go-ahead to continue on.
I’m going to use this year to become really healthier than I’ve ever been.”
For even more added motivation, transformational coach Chis Powell tell Ryan that if he meets the first weight goal, he’ll give him Green Bay Packer season tickets for every home game.
Ryan, his parents, and Chris then ran up and down the stairs at Lambeau Field together.
At Ryan’s house, one of the new additions is a green bicycle mounted on a wall. Chris tells Ryan that it’s now time for him to ride the bike. Ryan hesitates a second, then says he’s ready for it.
Never having ridden a bicycle before, of course, Ryan’s a bit scared at first. He doesn’t want to break the one good arm he has, if he falls. Chris tells him that he won’t let him fall, and has Ryan go uphill on the bike.
Ryan rides on his own, but then falls. Chris is not there to try to stop him from falling, but he runs over to make sure that Ryan is okay.
Chris tells him that the whole year is about “conquering your fears.” Then, Ryan says:
I rode a bike today. It’s something I never dreamed I’d be able to do.”
Ryan got back on the bike, and continued to ride. Chris laughed, and said: “He lives to ride another day!”
At Ryan’s first three-month weigh-in, his goal weight is 299 pounds. Chris wanted him to lose 111 pounds. Ryan beat that goal by one pound, weighing in at 298 pounds, and earning his season tickets.
Chris set the weight goal for the end of the next three months for Ryan to lose 60 more pounds. He also tells Ryan that he wants the Milepost Challenge to be for them to ride bicycles from Los Angeles to San Diego, a total of 100 miles.
Ryan agrees, but he seems more hesitant. There are so many things that could go wrong on such a long ride, and there’s no way for him to brace himself if he falls.
Chris, at his home in Phoenix, Arizona, learns that Ryan is trying to hasten his weight loss by skipping meals and substituting them for milkshakes. Chris wants for Ryan to lose weight, but to do it healthily.
Chris says into the camera:
Ryan called me and asked if it’s okay that his hair is falling out.”
Worried that Ryan is doing damage to himself by not losing the weight healthily, Chris tells him: “You’re not eating enough.” Chris added:
We need to get you to eat at least 1,800 calories a day.”
When they meet again, Chris has a surprise for Ryan. Chris wants him to vary his workouts, and to not just do football drills, but to incorporate some martial arts training, also. Then, Chris mentions that someone is there who does both, who is a football player who is also into martial arts. That person is Packers linebacker Clay Matthews.
Ryan and Clay work out together, then Clay tells him: “You may not realize it, but you may be my idol.”
Chris tells Ryan:
You’ve got some work to do. The ride will be in six weeks.
Ryan backs off, and says things are moving too quickly, and he doesn’t want to injure the one good arm he has left. Chris doesn’t push it, but he says that “I’m not going to let him step away from this.”
At the 180-day mark, Ryan’s weight loss goal was to lose 60 pounds and hit 183. He crushed this goal also, by losing 66 pounds, and dropping down to 232.
Ryan dedicated Phase Three of the year to his uncle.
Ryan showed Chris a photo of himself when he was younger with his uncle, who was into lifting weights. Ryan told Chris that his uncle died of a heart attack when he was only 43.
Let’s make Phase Three of this for my uncle.”
In this part of the episode, we also learn that Ryan coaches a football team of kids. Though he hasn’t had much success in finding a job, Ryan likes to give of himself by coaching and teaching kids the fundamentals of football.
Ryan decides to ride his bike for 43 miles, one mile for every year of his uncle’s life.
When the day of the ride arrives, Chris says that he can’t participate in it, as he got injured helping out another person who will be in a future episode. But, he has someone to take his place: Donald Driver, a wide receiver for the Packers.
Driver is one of Ryan’s favorite football players, so he’s excited to meet him and eager to begin the ride. The total number of laps they will need to ride is 72.
As Ryan couldn’t get a drink of water very easily and continue to ride, he stopped after every ten miles to drink some and have a snack.
At the 33rd mile mark, Ryan gets tired, and crashes to the ground. He doesn’t move for awhile, so Chris rushes over to see if he’s okay. He’s sure that Ryan must have broken something.
But, Ryan slowly gets up, and continues to ride. He’s determined to finish all 43 miles. It’s the longest ride that Driver had ever been on, as well.
After the race, Donald Driver invites Ryan and his football team to the Super Bowl Play 60 Experience. That’s where kids get to have fun in an interactive amusement park. Activities range from pro football participatory games and displays, to kids’ football clinics and free autograph signings by NFL players across the league.
At the 9 month weigh-in, Chris Powell is amazed that Ryan has once again not only made his weight loss goal, but crushed it. The goal was for Ryan to reach 203 pounds — Ryan lost 30 pounds, and weighed in at 202.
Chris surprises Ryan with yet more good news: he is having a doctor make Ryan a state-of-the-art new prosthetic arm and movable hand that he could control using his pectoral and shoulder muscles.
Right now, there are only two other people in the world who have an arm like that. You’ll be the third or fourth.”
Then, Ryan gets informed by the same doctor who checked him for a tumor that he is malnourished. He’s been trying to lose weight too quickly again, and hasn’t been eating enough food that was high in nutritional value. The doctor tells him that if he doesn’t start eating more and sticking with his nutritional eating plan, that will be the end, and Ryan will no longer be able to participate in the program.
Ryan gets back to eating healthier foods, and he is able to continue on. At the final weigh-in, three months later, when Ryan walks onto the stage though crowds of people, he looks thinner and healthier than any other contestant I’ve seen so far.
He also was in a nice suit, and sporting his new prosthetic arm. Ryan was not sure he’d reached his final goal weight of 195 pounds, but, once again, he’d beaten that, weighing in at 192. His total weight loss was 217 pounds.
What’s more, Donald Driver also came out on stage, and presented Ryan with a new Packers jersey that fitted him much better than his old one now did.
Chris told Ryan that he had lost more weight than any other male that he’d worked with, and he was the only one so far to have met every weight goal.
Way to go, Ryan! On Extreme Weight Loss, you faced your biggest challenges, and crushed them all!
Written by: Douglas Cobb