When I first saw the advertisements for Fit to Fat to Fit, the new A&E series dedicated to weight loss, I thought it was going to be the equivalent to watching a train wreck. The premise is simple: Various fitness trainers gain substantial amounts of weight before working with new clients and then lose the weight together. As an individual that could stand to use a few pounds herself I was very curious to see what on earth could possibly be accomplished by watching someone willingly put themselves into a position that I have been fighting against for most of my adult life. So I fired up the DVR, cuddled in my comfiest blanket and settled in to see the show.
After a blast of images showing what JJ (this week’s trainer) will go through with his weight gain (I’m trying to give him points for gaining weight so quickly but I’m already getting frustrated with the use of the words “disgusting” and “gross”) we meet Ray, a sweet man who has been trapped in his body for so long and wants so desperately to lose weight so that he and his wife have a better chance of adopting a child. He is convinced that his appearance is a detriment to the cause. JJ is an extremely fit man who is convinced that a shift in mentality is really all someone needs to lose weight—a concept that Ray scoffs at with a, “Yeah, why didn’t I think of that” sarcasm.
JJ and Ray sit down for a face to face to talk about what’s about to go down and Ray is understandably stunned and sad to know that someone is going to willingly hurt themselves for his benefit. He’s thankful for the sacrifice. They agree to meet four months down the road when JJ has gained his goal of 60 pounds in four months. Images of JJ eating food, food and more food make me feel kind of guilty that I start feeling kind of hungry. He struggles so hard with his weight and aside from watching the fat stick to his once hard abs it’s clear that the experiment is taking a toll on his relationship with his wife. She’s not upset about his physicality, but how he has started to pull away and not spend time with her and the kids. It was actually very touching and sad.
Ray and JJ finally meet up to begin training and JJ is rather happy by how Ray looks and how there seems to be a camaraderie that wasn’t there before because they are both in the “Pudgy Boys Club.” Now it’s time to get serious—JJ is literally jumping up and down in anticipation of getting healthy and he’s ready to go. After weighing in to show that, yes, JJ has gained his 60 pounds, Ray steps on to reveal that he has lost 46 pounds on his own. Love it! Take that JJ! Of course, JJ has nothing but love for Ray and they get to work. Ray’s starting weight from this point is 343 pounds and his goal is to be 250 pounds in four months.
The majority of the show from this point was JJ putting Ray through his paces and getting him to really commit to his weight loss. JJ seems to have very few issues getting back on track (except for one highlighted moment when he couldn’t do the exercise he just browbeat Ray into completing), and my attention shifted almost wholly to Ray. He puts in his best effort and I am really proud of him. The hardest thing to watch, though, was that by entering an arrangement where JJ has so much on the line on his behalf he was helpless (uplifted?) by the constant refrain of “Don’t let me down,” and “Don’t tell me I gained 60 pounds for nothing!” Talk about double the pressure.
Ray goes through the program looking as if he is truly bonding with his trainer but he still has a hard time committing to full workouts when JJ isn’t in his face and admits that he only does a fourth of the workout he would if he wasn’t alone. After a heart to heart with Ray he gets back on track and we get ready for the big reveal.
A newly healthy JJ waxes poetic of how much he learned from his experience as he drives to meet with Ray’s family, who apparently haven’t seen him for four months? Not really sure, but it seems to be that it has been a while. Anyway, JJ talks about how empathetic he has become to what his clients may be going through with their weight struggles and that he is “stronger in every way.” Now he really knows what healthy means and vows to use that information for the good of the people he trains.
Finally, Ray enters the home to find various family members who are honestly stunned by what they see. His weight loss total (combined with the pounds he lost while JJ gained weight) was 147 pounds! I had to double check the math on that one because it seems an incredible number, but he started at 389 and ended (his television) journey at 242 pounds. Ray tells JJ, “Thank you doesn’t cover it,” and “I love you,” and it all seems completely genuine. I think he would have been able to lose the weight anyway, but it looks as if having another “Pudgy Boy” helped quite a bit. Hopefully Ray is off to a more optimistic future and that he and his wife are able to adopt a little one.
So there’s one episode of Fit to Fat to Fit down with several more to come. I went into this program thinking that it would focus on one person over many weeks, but I think I like what A&E is doing here better—I like seeing the results more than the journey. I leave thinking that I’m not really sure if this was a show about a large person’s effort to lose weight as much as giving the audience a chance to (secretly revel) in watching someone so fit go to fat. JJ’s journey was terrifying and overall I don’t really think what he did was a great idea. But it is an interesting concept, and I am going to buckle up for the ride.
What did you think of this week's episode of Fit to Fat to Fit? Let us know if you'll continue watching the show here!