Extreme Weight Loss Mike on ABC sees Mike Epstein, who is a 49-year-old family man, struggle during his year-long journey to loss weight. Looking into a mirror, he doesn’t even recognize the person looking back at him.
“When everyone goes to bed, that’s when I turn it on,” he says. He eats a little bit of several types of junk food late at night.
He is also afraid that his family is following suite, eating as much as he is, going down the same road to unhealthy eating choices.
His wife talks about the days when they were first married, and rode bicycles together.
“I’ve changed so much since then,”: Mike says, talking about the days when he was first married to his wife. “I want to give her back the hero she once had.”
He stores candy bars in his drawer at work.
“Today, I’m going to put the attention on Mike. It will be so awesome,” Chris says, looking at Mike through a camera. He pulls a practical joke on him
“This is not a dream. This is real,” Mike says, when Chris tells him he’s accepted for the program.
“I’m 100 percent ready to go,” Mike tells Chris. Chris is excited that Mike seem pumped up to begin his journey.
I’m a ticking time bomb,” Mike says, before he’s weighed. He knows that his health has been adversely affected by his weight.
At his initial weigh-in, Mike weighs 417 pounds.
“I can’t imagine not being around for my family,” Mike says.
“At Boot Camp, Mike undergoes a series of exams,” Chris says to the camera. One of the exams doesn’t give Mike good news.
The doctor looks at a CT scan, and tells Mike that he already has some calcification of his arteries leading to his heart. The doctor tell Mike “You need to emotionally prepare yourself that you might not make it through this program.”
Mike goes from feeling like he’s on top of the world to being depressed, and hoping that somehow he can still participate in the weight loss program.
“The biggest concern we have is that Mike might die of a heart attack,” the doctor tells the camera. He tells Mike that they will do some further tests on him, but it’s not looking good.
“On Michael, we’re going to look at a stress echo test,” the doctor says to the camera. How he does on it will determine if his heart can take the stress of the year-long weight journey.
“Daddy, I want you to come home right now,” Mike’s nine-year-old son told him on the phone.
“I don’t ever want my family to be scared again,” Mike says.
Chris tells him that he did good on the stress test, and he could continue with the program. He wants to succeed more than ever now that he’s gotten the good news.
“Long pulls, long pulls,” Chris tells him, as Mike works out on a rowing machine. “Push with your legs!”
“What’s driving you man? Chris asks him.
“I’m doing this for my kids,” Mike answers. “It was my fault, all my fault.”
“I’m thrilled for Mike, and he’s going to be a juggernaut. Just like Rocky, he’s going to get a second chance. C’mon, buddy, here’s your chance to be that knight in shining armor!” Chris tells him. Mike has boxing gloves on, and is practicing boxing with Chris.
“Right now, you’re alive again for the first time in 20 years,” Chris tells him. “Don’t you miss it? Don’t you miss the feeling?”
At the end of Boot Camp, a week into the year, Mike prepares to go back home. Chris tells Mike he’s like him to lose 118 pounds for his first weight loss goal, which would put him to 299 pounds.
When you meet the first goal, I want to send you and your wife on a cruise,” Chris tells him. He gives him the gift card from Walmart which all contestants get to buy food for the entire year.
“Learning that Chris isn’t going home with me kind of scares me,” Mike tells the camera. He will be on his own, to try to continue the progress he’s made during his first week.
“I totally trust that he is in the right place mentally,” Chris tells the camera. “He’s never going to go back. I don’t think he will.”
Back at home, Mike’s family is excited to see him.
“I want this so bad,” he tells the camera. “My wife and I really need to reconnect.”
He’s excite d when he sees the gym that Chris’s crew built in his house.
“I realize there are promises I’ve made to my family that I haven’t kept,” he says, “but I’m going to keep them now.”
Mike breaks the news to his family that he is going to change his eating habits. and so will they.
“When you have stuff right in your face, you’re going to want to eat it,” he says.
“It’s just too easy for the wrong foods to find their way into the house,” Chris says, worried about him. His wife tells him there’s nothing wrong with his children eating a Pop Tart now and then.
“I want to show up at our 20th anniversary at half my body weight,” he tells the camera.
His wife doesn’t know how Mike can keep the pace he’s at for the entire year. While she wants him to succeed, she also is a little concerned that it might be depriving the kids of the occasional snack and also of their father, who is spending a lot of time away from them, exercising.
At Day 37, Mike is with his family at Playa del Sol. He gets stuck in a chair, and says: “That will never happen again.” He’s there to celebrate his 50th. birthday, and he eats some cake.
“For a food addict like Mike, I’m afraid that something like that might cause him to spiral out of control,” Chris goes to Mike’s house to see how he and his family are doing.
He’s glad to see that Mike is eating healthy food. Chris moves into Mike’s son’s room for a while.
“The guy’s such a fighter, such a machine,” Chris says to the camera. “So I’ve got something epic planned for him.”
The end of Phase 1 comes, and it’s time for the 90-day weigh-in. Chris tells him that he wants Mike to make the almost 3-miles run that Rocky Balboa did, ending by running up the stairs.
“I’m almost wiped out,” Chris tells the camera, saying that the heat and humidity was so high is was difficult to run.
“Three months ago, he could barely walk up the stairs without getting winded,” his wife tells the camera. “Now, he’s running up the Rocky stairs.”
Chris again tells Mike if he meets the goal, he’ll pay for a cruise for Mike and his wife.
If the scale reads 299 pounds or less, he will have met his goal.
“Mike, you made 298 pounds, buddy!” he says. “Just a few weeks ago, we were more than a few pounds short of the goal,” Chris says.
Mike is happy to be able to go on the cruise with his wife, but he’s a bit worried, as the cruises are notorious for having great food.
“Mike, you’re a fighter,” Chris tells him, about his second goal. “So you’re going to train like a fighter.”
Apart from his family, during his training and work out sessions, in a more restful moment Mike reads a tear-jerking letter from his son, Aiden, who misses him.
He is seen in training, in a montage of scenes; and then later, at the Jewish New Year’s celebration. He admits he gained 6 pounds during the week, as the food was awesome.
Chris watches him on his computer as Mike trains, but the spark seems to be missing. He feels that Mike is slacking off too much in his training. Will he be able to continue to lose weight at the pace he has been, and make his second weight loss goal?
It’s time for Mike’s 6-month weigh-in. “I’m kind of worried about Mike,” Chris tells the camera. Chris is afraid he might have gone back to his old eating habits.
But, when Chris sees Mike, he is pleasantly surprised that Mike looks much thinner. His goal was to lose 55 pounds. at his weigh-in, he went down to 244 pounds, losing 48 pounds. Chris is stoked, as not very many people are able to meet their Phase 2 weight loss goal.
Chris has set up a boxing match for Mike. “I brought in a real pro. Evander ‘the Real Deal’ Holyfield,” Chris tells Mike.
Mike is extremely happy, and we see Mike in the ring with Holyfield, getting tips from the legend, himself.
“Mike has a strong jab,” Holyfield says. “If Mike uses that jab during the 12-round exhibition, he’ll do okay.”
“Miost boxers have about 6 months of training before they box someone,” Chris tells the camera. “Mike had just a couple of hours.”
“Evander Holyfield prepping me — that was the craziest, most wonderful thing in the world,” Mike tells the camera.
Chris introduces the two boxers. His wife is nervous, and so is Mike, though he acts as if he’s up to the challenge.
“Boxing is one of those sports where people don’t realize how exhausting it is,” Chris tells the camera. “It’s the equivalent of running a marathon. “
“Did I give Mike too much of a challenge?” he asks the camera, and wonders himself if Mike can last all 12 rounds.
“By the end of that first round,” Mike says, “I was exhausted. But, I was also excited.”
“Boxing is ag reat metaphor,” Chris tells the camera, “fro what Mike will be facing each day of his lfe.”
“For too long, I’ve never fought back. That punch was for my wife. This punch was for my kids. that punch was for when I walk my daughter down the aisle. And that last punch? That was for me,” Mike says, at the end of round two.
Then, the match skips ahead — Mike has made it to Round 12, and he lasts out the entire match. Evander Holyfield is very impressed with him, saying “Most guys couldn’t alst 12 rounds.”
Then, it’s time for Mike and his wife to go on their cruise. “Your goal for the end of the next phase is 199,” Chris tells Mike. In other words, he wants Mike to weigh in at 199 pounds at the end of Phase 3.
“I’ve got hanging skin, and it’s bothering me to no end,” Mike says. “But, it will all be worth it if I keep making my goals.”
Aboard the cruise ship, Mike says: “When I saw that restaurant, I was not sure how I could keep meeting my weight goal.” But, he does okay, and does not blow his diet too badly.
Now, he finds that he is able to do things with his wife that he hadn’t been able to do for years. He wants too make up for whatever mistakes he’s made. He tells his wife he wants to start buying her flowers once again.
“He’s back to being the old Michael I fell in love with,” she says.
“I appreciate all of your support,” he tells his wife, and asks her if she will renew their wedding vows for their 20th. anniversary. She, of course, tells him yes, but it’s nevertheless a touching moment in the episode.
“Just wait for the next 19 years,” he tells his wife, “because I’m back.”
Back in Voorhees, NJ, we see Mike continuiing his arodus work outs, and now weighing 36-inch pants. He’d promised his son he’d do kartae workouts with him, and now he’s able to do them. He tries on a tux, and says he feel like “James Bond.”
But, he tells the camera he’s struggling, and feels a pain he’s felt ever since the boxing match.
The doctor phones Chris and says Mike broke a couple of ribs during the boxing match, but hadn’t said anything.
“Holy Cap!” Chris says when he sees Mike. “Where’s Mike? And, who arr you?” He tells the camera he’s never seen as great of a change as when he saw Mike.
“I brought something with me,” Mike tells Chris, showing him the shirt he wore on day one. They were both able to get into it, with room to spare. Chris tells Mike to change for the weigh-in.
Mike is very nervous, worried that he might not have been able to meet the Pase 3 goal of 199 pounds, because of the broken ribs.
“This is big,” Chris says. “This is really, really big.”
When Chris weighs Mike at the end of Phase 3, he weighs”Oh, my gosh, Mike! You did it! Congratulations!” Chris says. “It’s extraordinary what he’s done,” he tells the camera.
“He’s hit every one of his weight loss goals,” Chris says to the camera. Mike is ready for the skin loss surgery.
“He’s always wanted to be that knight in shining armor for his wife, Nancy,” Chris says. “Now, he is.”
Mike is now at just 10 percent body fat. “That’s body builder territory there,” the doctor tells him. “For Mike, I can remove up to 6 square feet of skin,” the doctor says tot he camera.
The part of the episode then arrived where Chris tells the gathered audience at the end of the year about Mike, and his life story, and how he eventually decided to become a fighter who wouldn’t take no for an answer.”
Mike gets out of the black stretch limo, and — commercials happen.
After those, Chris says: “Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for the all new Mike!” Whoa! as Chris might say — Mike looks amazing, very svelte, inn a nice suite.
We see Mike renew his wedding vows with his wife.
“This year has been a long year, but now it’s over, and we move forward,” his wife says.
Chris tells the audience that at the end of 9 months, Mike had less body fat than even he did!
That was something I found really amazing, as Chris tries to keep himself in peak shape — his job, after all, revolves around how he looks, and working with his clients to transform them, as well, to look their best.
He started off not just obese, but morbidly obese. We see flashbacks of Mike’s struggles, but he succeeded and then some when the Final Weigh In happened.
“Mike, it’s been a long, crazy journey,” Chris tells him. “Are you ready to step up on the scales?”
I’m absolutely ready,” Mike says. He has lost 221 pounds total! That’s 83 percent of his original body weight! Congratulations, Mike!
Chris then gives Mike a sack of fruit from Walmart, and a $25,000 gift card.
“It really has been the most amazing year of my life,” Mike says to Chris.
Chris tells him that the medical staff had told him to “just write him off,” but Chris wouldn’t do it.
It was yet another awesome episode of Extreme Weight Loss. I wish Mike and his family the best of luck, and a long, happy life together.
I wonder what next week will bring — I can hardly wait!
Written by: Douglas Cobb