S1 E03 Episode 3: Dana

06/12/11 | TV-PG | CC

Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition: Dana

Dana is a 44-year-old gospel singer who is 250 pounds overweight. He pops over a half dozen painkillers every morning to help deal with the result of his poor eating habits. Dana moved away from his family in Ohio to live alone in Tennessee. He needs help in order to change his life. Well, help is on the way! Chris Powell surprises Dana by doing a cannonball into the pool where he's engaged in some water aerobics. The two new partners in weight loss towel off and head to Los Angeles. Dana weighs in at 498 pounds. His first workout is a lot tougher than the water aerobics class back home. Chris pushes hard and Dana comes through. He's ready to go all the way.

When Dana returns to Tennessee, his home has been transformed into a health and exercise institution. Chris challenges him to lose 110 pounds in three months. If Dana achieves this goal, he'll get his very own vocal coach. But at 48 days into the mission, only 37 pounds has been lost.

Chris finds fast food containers in the trash and behind the car seat. He wants Dana to open up as to why he's looking to food for comfort. Turns out he was abused in the past. Chris wants Dana to stop punishing himself for something that wasn't his fault.

Dana is tasked with carrying heavy bags of food across a long bridge. He's mocked by a man on the other side. Chris puts a stop to that. It's good to have a friend in your corner when you're embarking on the biggest challenge of your life. When they reach the end of the journey, Dana tosses all that food he was carrying off the bridge. At the three-month weigh in, Dana lost 111 pounds. Now that's something to sing about!

For the next phase, Dana must lose 70 pounds. Chris has set up a concert where Dana will sing with his brother at the end of this milestone. Dana works hard. He realizes his voice is starting to sound even better as the pounds fade away. Dana's brothers, Raymond and Bradley, can't believe the transformation when they all meet in Los Angeles. Later, Dana and his brother sing before a captive church audience. Halleluiah!

As the days march on, Dana struggles to fight the good fight. A doctor determines he has a torn ACL. He has little-to-no stability in his knee. The good news is they can work around the injury. At the six-month weigh-in, Dana comes in at 358. That means he only lost 29 pounds. He must lose 108 pounds in the next three months to be a candidate for the skin removal surgery.

As the days pass and more weight is lost, Dana finds himself getting back out into the world. He's hanging with friends and performing in concerts. Chris is happy to hear this, but is also concerned that he may be losing focus on his transformation. At the nine-month weigh-in, Dana is at 318. He lost 40 pounds. That's because he's been eating things like pizza and ice cream. Dana fesses up about the food and admits to Chris that he's homosexual. Finally, the real Dana has arrived. But there's still more work to be done.

One year has passed. A cheering crowd assembles at the YMCA to see how Dana made out during the final leg of his journey. Well, it looks like he made out just fine. Dana steps into the center looking amazing. He steps onto the scale for the final weigh-in. He's at 295 which means he lost 203 pounds in one year. That's not easy to do with a torn ACL.

Dana reads a funny, touching, heartfelt "thank you" note to Chris. In fact, he sings the end of it. Dana's voice sounds great, and his transformation has been incredible. We're hoping it'll help him sing his way through a long and healthy life.

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