A&E’s HEAVY: Two people’s journey to stay alive (Part 2)

Rickywayne and Jessica are A&E’s second pair of Heavy participants.

Wife and mother, 28-year-old Jessica’s life is in danger of heart disease, stroke and heart attack. At her first weigh-in, her weight is 289 pounds. Her morbid obesity is due to tragedies in her past -being molested at age 10. However, Jessica is determined to change her life and lose weight in order to keep her children from finding her “laid out” somewhere.

Rickywayne, 35, who suffers from lymph swelling and draining, has been heavy all of his life, since childhood. At his first weigh-in, his weight is 555 pounds. His morbid obesity is due to a food addiction, which he turned to because of his mother’s illnesses and guilt he felt for her death. While big all his life, Rickywayne wants to lose the weight before his life ends before 45.

Jessica and Rickywayne begin their journey, like Jodi and Tom before them, at the weight-loss facility with the help of trainers Britny and David.

Their trainers describe the differences in their personalities. Jessica is fearful and in pain; David thinks she wants someone to give in to her crying. Rickywayne, on the other hand, has the look of a “tiger” in his eyes. David sees him succeeding in short-term, but long-term changes would be harder.

At their first weigh-in at the facility, Rickywayne lost 15 pounds, but Jessica only lost 3. Her only consolation is that she is gaining muscle mass at a higher percentage than her partner (because he is heavier than her). A few weeks later, Rickywayne drops another 12 pounds, but Jessica barely sees any lost at all with a total of only 8 pounds lost.

Pool exercises are an easy way for obese people to get exercise in without damaging joints or causing unnecessary pain. Unfortunately, Jessica is terrified, and Rickywayne has the open wound that prevents him from getting in the water. Jessica eventually defeats her fears and is able to complete workouts in the pool, and Rickywayne is cleared by his doctor to get in with the wound on his leg.

Rickywayne is a fish. A large fish, but a fish. He swims better than I do.

On the last day of the first month, Jessica’s total weight loss is 16 pounds. (Eight days later, she loses another 10 pounds.) Rickywayne’s total weight loss was 48 pounds.

While I contribute most of Rickywayne’s weight loss to his structured diet, exercise certainly helped him reach his goals. Jessica’s weight loss I would contribute strictly to exercise because she is also gaining muscle mass. Of course, the severe difference in weight-loss between Jessica and Rickywayne has other contributing factors: initial weight, gender, hormones and life experiences.

(Unfortunately for us girls, it always seems to be harder for us to take off the weight. For men, it freakin’ melts!)

After gaining one pound on the day 45 weigh-in, Jessica completely changes her demeanor. She became a new person and continued to push herself past her limit (while admitting it was easier once her children had returned to school). After losing 52 pounds total, she is approved for surgery to remove the excess skin left behind by her weight loss, which will inevitably make it easier for her to lose more and more weight.

Rickywayne’s progress is at a standstill after returning home. While his family and friends are supportive, they are not supportive in the way that Rickywayne needs. Britny is worried that his enablers with continue to enable him (or make fun of him for not eating stuffed pork loin).

During a grocery trip, Rickywayne discovers that he is not ready to go at it alone. After calling Britny to help him choose a lunch meat, he decides to go back to the facility. Out of fear of food and overeating, Rickywayne returns to the facility to get more education, more support and help and more tools.

On day 81, Jessica goes into surgery and comes back a lighter (less encumbered) individual. With the excess skin removed, she will be able to rock out some harder workouts.

On day 90, Rickywayne destroyed his weight-loss wall at the facility. Fifty days later, he returns home on his own.

The progress both made through the show is astounding: At the final weigh-in, Rickywayne lost a total of 127 pounds for a final weight of 427. Jessica lost a total of 72 pounds, 12 pounds more than her hoped for goal. Her final weight is 217.

I am sorry this review was late. Mondays are officially night classes for your skinny little friend here. Three hours of Mass Comm, and I hate all technology (usually).

In my opinion, A&E is doing a fantastic thing for people (like the thing that “I Used to Be Fat” is doing for their teenage counterparts).