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Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition: Wally Wages War On Food Addiction

July 11, 2011 08:01 PM by Candace Young

This week on Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition, Chris Powell takes on his latest morbidly obese challenge in Wally – a devoted husband and father who compulsively overeats. Will the addiction to food be more than even Chris can handle? Keep reading to find out what happens…

Wally and his family live in an apartment on the second floor. He is 26 year-old and is about 359 pounds overweight.  He talks about fast food being a comfort as he grew up in a single-parent home. Wally’s young daughter has moderate hearing loss and he is frustrated that he can’t walk and play with her as she gets older – he’s too tired.

Wally wrote a letter to Chris Powell asking for help. Chris feels if he doesn’t save Wally now, he won’t be around for the next decade. Wally is stunned to be chosen. His wife cries.

Boot Camp

Boot camp is a crash course in getting healthy. Wally weighs in at 490 pounds. The initial workout is a tough experience for Wally who tells the camera this is not going to be easy.  He breaks down in tears talking about the teasing he took as a child. Chris encourages him to let it all out. Wally next gets a lesson on how to eat healthy.


Back in his own environment, surrounded by triggers, Wally will really be tested. They’ve built him a personal gym in the basement. Chris wants him to lose 110 lbs in the next 3 months.  He adds incentive – if he reaches the goal, Chris will send his family to Disney World.

After one month, Wally is down 41 lbs – Chris is impressed.  The next day – day 31 – Chris takes Wally to climb 103 flights to the top of the Sears Tower. He succeeds.

Three Month Weigh-In

On day 52, Wally is faced with some tempting foods. Chris notes that he’s mentioned missing fast food a few times, and he’s concerned.  The three month weigh-in comes and he must be at 380 lbs or less. Wally weighs in at 380 lbs exactly!

Chris tells Wally that he needs to lose 70 lbs for his next phase – his milestone will be a 100 mile bike ride. Chris says it’s time for him to go, which is scary because some people fall off the wagon at this point.

By day 97, Wally is easing back into work – he is tempted by dozens of fast food joints on the way to his job. Wally works with people who have developmental disabilities and is trying to teach them how to eat healthy. A lady brings in dessert, causing Wally to note how difficult it is to avoid temptation.

At day 155, Chris is concerned that he hasn’t seen Wally in the gym or kitchen at his home, but Wally tells him he’s been working out in the yard and cooking at work.

Six Month Weigh-In

The six month weigh-in comes in Orlando at Disney World. Chris meets them and notices that Wally appears to have gained weight, but he keeps quiet while they enjoy themselves.  The next day, Wally admits he’s been going through drive-thrus two or three days in a row. Chris accuses him of lying to him and to his family week after week. Chris is outraged that he would pick his addiction over everything. Wally cries that he can’t control himself and says he needs a little extra help. He pleads with Chris not to leave him.

Chris goes ahead with the weigh-in. He was at 380 lbs at three months and was asked to lose 70 lbs. He is down to 359 lbs now, but Chris is still pissed that he lied. He asks Wally to show him what he’s got in the bike ride.


Wally’s brothers join them for the 100 mile bike ride in the heat.  Wally’s tires keep going flat due to his weight. The bike expert tries to say it’s not because of his weight to spare his feelings, but has to reinforce the tube. Wally begins faltering by about the 43 mile mark. They take a shade break and Wally goes into distress. He is forced to stop the ride.

Severe Addiction

In the days and week that follow, Wally is hating on himself and cuts off contact with Chris. When he finally touches base, Chris goes to Chicago very concerned. He talks to Wally’s wife about his addictive behavior where he’s complying with the program but rewarding himself with candy and fast food. Wally arrives at home and sheepishly greets Chris and the camera crew. There is a fast food bag in his car. Chris notes that he’s obviously gained weight.  Wally admits he’s been eating fast food everyday and has felt suicidal.  Chris weighs him  – he’s back up to 418 lbs. Chris tells him he can’t help him – he needs structured rehab.


Chris leaves Wally at rehab and says he’s no longer his trainer, just a supportive friend. They part ways with Chris feeling he did all he could, but he’s terrified for Wally.  Wally enrolled, and is getting the help he needs.

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Photo Credit: ABC

Topics: ABC Reality TV Shows, Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition |

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4 Responses to “Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition: Wally Wages War On Food Addiction”

  1. Mary Says:
    July 12th, 2011 at 6:28 am

    Chris was way over his head on this one. I think it would be a good idea for Chris to get some advanced education on addiction, shame therapy never helps it only makes the cravings for food worse.

  2. Chris Estill Says:
    July 12th, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Chris was very pissed with Wally. He started losing weight on Phase 1, achieving his phase 1 goal so Chris would take his family to Disney World. However, on Phase 2, Wally kept lying to family members about working out when he has not worked out. Wally then went back to his fast food addiction after the end of phase 2 (weighing in at 359 pounds). Wally actually gained weight before the end of phase 3 and kept on lying. Chris then said that his journey with Wally is cut short.

  3. Shazz Says:
    December 5th, 2011 at 5:15 am

    I am watching Wally right now on tv here in Australia. Who in their right mind would go cycling in 45 degrees celsius plus heat? No wonder the poor bugger collapsed. Wally , I hope you get the help you need to be there for your family. Best of luck.

  4. Lisa Nelson Says:
    May 25th, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I agree with Mary and Shazz. Chris has no clue. These people would never have 450+ pounds in the first place if they were able to control themselves. Chris is just doing what every other diet guru out there does. Pedal calorie restriction and extreme exercise when study after study show it is only effective in the long term in less 5% of people. And the sheer effort it takes those successful is remarkable. In fact it would have been strange if Wally hadn’t done what he did.


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