Update 7/23/12: The date of the show has been moved to Aug. 5.
Note: This item was submitted by our summer intern Katie Scaff.
PORT ORCHARD — Jonathan McHenry of Port Orchard will make his television debut on Sunday, July 29, on ABC’s “Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition”.
The two-hour episode will follow McHenry’s 12-month weight loss journey, which began after he got a call from the show in May of 2010.
The call came out of the blue for McHenry, who had sent in a
casting tape to NBC’s hit weight-loss series “The Biggest Loser,”
but started looking into gastric bypass surgery after not hearing
back from the show’s producers.
“I was two weeks away from my surgery date. I already met the doctor and had all the pretests,” McHenry said.
At 550 pounds — and driven by thoughts, like, “What if I died? What if I only had one year left?” — the 31-year-old knew he needed help turning his life around and sought out a chance on “The Biggest Loser” earlier that year.
“You start getting desperate,” McHenry said.
But after not hearing from the NBC show, McHenry was leaning toward the idea of gastric bypass surgery, an option that had been in the back of his mind for the last few years.
“I told myself at 24 I was young and could lose the weight. I kept telling myself I would do it by the time I was 30,” McHenry said.
After passing the magic age to accomplish his weight-loss goals, McHenry saw the surprise call from ABC producers as his chance to finally get his weight under control.
“I didn’t want to be a forgotten guy. I had all those visions of where I wanted to be and I was no where close,” McHenry said.
McHenry set aside his surgery plans and spent six months in the interview process for the show.
The fateful day came in November 2010. McHenry thought it was just another interview taping when he got a knock on the door and learned he was one of the chosen eight.
He was elated.
“It was an opportunity to change my life and be healthy for my family,” McHenry said.
He spent a week at a weight-loss boot camp in California with his new trainer, the show’s host, Chris Powell.
The camp was a kick-off for the year of intense exercise and dieting that followed.
Powell followed him home and stayed for three months at McHenry’s house where he lives with his wife, Lisa, sons, Jontae and Jaxon, his mother, and Lisa’s uncle.
“He just took it to the next level. He helped me get through all the physical and mental barriers,” McHenry said.
Powell taught him about working out, nutrition and how to change his body.
“He gave me the blueprint for what I needed to do for the rest of year. My next nine months were up to me,” McHenry said.
Left with a small gym at his house, and cameras to keep tabs on him, McHenry continued toward his goals.
“It’s been a life-changing experience for him,” said McHenry’s mother-in-law Debbie Narducci. “It’s been nice to see him more active with the boys.”
McHenry can’t publicly reveal how much weight he lost until the show airs, but he said that he wants to continue to be healthy and help other people do the same.
“A lot of people need people to believe in them. My new passion in life is to workout and pass on my knowledge,” McHenry said.