I have to admit that the latest episode of Fit to Fat to Fit felt like it was never going to end. At first I was extremely happy to see the first female trainer of the series trying to gain weight, but then I really started to feel the repetitiveness of the formula that I have been watching religiously for the last six weeks. I wasn't very confident that I was going to get anything new after this latest episode, and I was sure that the gimmick had run its course.
Then I started to learn a little bit about Katie Mack, the 5'5" trainer of three years, who would be taking on Mateo, a New York City chef of 316 pounds. At the height of her physical prowess she completes 3-4 hours of physical activity every single day! She believes that if a person cannot manage to lose weight that he/she is "lazy" and that you "have a lack of faith in yourself." She is very sure in her abilities to help other people and goes into the experiment thinking that she will be able to not only gain easily, but lose it just as easily when it's all over.
First contact between client and trainer finally happens at Mateo's restaurant, Pata Negra (black footed pig), and it is very clear that he is extremely defensive about being told what he can and can't eat. In an aside to the audience he let's us know that he loves to eat everything except vegetables and that "my blood type is ham." He confesses that he "lives in pursuit of all things delicious." His first conversation with Katie is a threat to all things Mateo holds dear about food and tells her, "Don't tell me what I can and cannot eat. Don't tell me I can't have bacon." She points out how he is reacting--before she has even suggested any kind of food alteration. Mateo stops to breathe for a moment, gets calm, and they begin to discuss the plan for his weight loss.
Katie finally reveals that she is planning on gaining 40 pounds in four months and Mateo is, in his own words, rendered "speechless." I think for a moment that I can see his brain click over to a different track by the concept of Fit to Fat to Fit, and that he is really touched by what she is about to do to herself. He admits that his thinks her sacrifice will be a very important piece to his weight loss and that she is going to "do things that are not natural to her, and I will do things not natural to me." Mateo is has a very over-powering personality, so it remains to be seen if Katie can get him to do what he needs to do.
The deal is brokered and Katie goes forth to eat at every food truck she stumbles upon. Her goal is to consume 4000+ calories a day and gain from her starting weight of 123 pounds to 163 pounds. She has a great start with a weight gain of seven pounds the first two weeks, and mentally she seems to be completely on board with the project. She's letting loose and hanging out with friends in places she's usually wary of because she can't be in control of her food and she's actually loving it pretty well.
By week nine she gains 22 pounds and she is not liking the experiment anymore. She's nauseous, lethargic and fed up with trying to eat all of the time. She even manages to lose weight during one of the 16 weeks. She's is in a bad place and it's not hard to spot her troubles, because she's vomiting into her toilet and then crying in her darkened bedroom, bemoaning ever getting involved in such an experiment. She has no interest in working with many of her other clients and basically spirals into an existential crisis. She cries, "I got in this so I could be there for people and now I don't even want to do this job anymore."
At the end of 15 weeks she has gained 31 pounds and opines that "with every single fiber of my being I regret taking on this experiment." It's the first time a trainer has been quite so candid on Fit to Fat to Fit, and it really made me more invested in her story. Eventually we will hear all about Mateo, but make no mistake that this week's episode is all about Katie. She really gets put through the ringer. She has to stop the experiment with one week to go and feels like a complete failure. She's not sure she can help Mateo with anything.
When Mateo finally does get back into the picture I feel really, really bad for him. It looks like he has a defective trainer that isn't going to push him to do what he really needs to do. He was able to lose five pounds on his own before meeting with Katie again and he is hoping to be able to lose 4 pounds a week for the next 16 weeks for a total weight loss of 64 pounds. Without a mentally stable trainer I'm not so sure that he can do it. Mateo is really worried after seeing how checked out Katie is and how she moons over all of the old videos she has of herself working out before she gained all of her weight. Mateo seems completely superfluous to the entire proceedings.
Katie puts in a video call to Drew Manning (the trainer who first came up with the concept of gaining weight before working with clients) and basically looks to him for some motivation. She doesn't seem very receptive and I'm not sure where Fit to Fat to Fit is heading with this story line. It could go either which way. Day one is a complete failure for both Katie and Mateo.
Day 2 is upon them, and Mateo and Katie head out to the great outdoors (and for once it's not a beach) to get some exercise in. At first, Mateo doesn't seem like he's going to be able to put in much effort, but after a little TLC from Katie regarding his aching ankles, he is ready to even do a little (gasp) running! At this point I am convinced that Katie is a miracle worker. Her manner of training is well suited to Mateo and she manages to get him to do physical activities that he absolutely did not want to do. But she's no fool, she knows the real issue is going to be his ability to change his eating habits.
After what seems like a huge build up to Mateo and his food, it essentially becomes a non-issue for the episode. After hurting his foot again during week nine he dreams about a bacon cheeseburger, but that's about it. I'm happy for Mateo and also kind of angry that I was lead to a dead end on this portion of his weight loss. It's plain to see that Mateo is very strong willed and "didn't want to let her down." Her commitment makes him want to be more committed. It is a very beautiful moment.
Katie and Mateo both seem to be losing weight very nicely, which is the whole point of the show, but they also start to find a really nice relationship with each other. After six episodes of Fit to Fat to Fit I finally feel that there is a real success for Katie in the way that I think she really and truly knows what it feels like to be her client. Breakthrough! But can she climb back out of her depression and battle her way to the person she was before the experiment?
Of course she will! After eight agonizing months of transforming her body to its limits, she weighs in at 124 pounds--just one pound shy of her starting weight! It's a sweet moment when she wishes that Mateo was there to dance a victory dance with her.
Now it's time for Mateo's big reveal at Pata Negral to his friends and family. He works his way through the curtains and strikes a pose--and shows his "body by Katie!" She immediately gets teary eyed and the love fest between trainer and client begins. He cannot thank her enough for what she has done and she let's him know that she truly wouldn't have clawed her way back without his support. Sniff. No, really. It was sweet.
Mateo has his final weigh in and he's feeling pretty heavy. He's convinced he hasn't reached his goal and he let's Katie know he'll be happy if he can just get to 250 pounds instead of the desired 247 pounds. He takes a deep breath, steps on the scale and finds out he didn't reach his goal at all--he exceeded it by one pound. With the five pounds he lost while Katie was gaining, he lost a total of 70 pounds in 16 weeks. But more than that, he found a good friend that is no longer just his physical trainer but more like a "life coach."
It was a long and emotion filled journey this week in the world of Fit to Fat to Fit, but I feel like the concept was finally realized to its full potential. It's exactly what I needed to get me in the mood to go out and watch it again next week. What did you think of this week's episode? Were you as satisfied with the results as much as I was? Let me know in the comments below.