Television audiences nationwide were amazed to see a Washington, D.C. VA Medical Center nurse shrink from 531 pounds to an astounding 316 pounds. The Desert Storm Army Veteran shared his story and life-changing transformation last year on ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss.
John Robinson’s journey began about four years ago as a simple road trip to accompany a friend who was auditioning for the television show. While there, the show producers convinced John, a former offensive lineman with Winston-Salem State University and the New Jersey Red Dogs (Arena Football League) to audition for the show.
He wasn’t chosen, but the casting company kept him in mind for other shows, thinking he might be a better fit for Extreme Weight Loss.
Several years later, that fateful trip with his friend resulted in a phone call out of the blue from the producers of Extreme Weight Loss. “Basically, they wanted to know if I was still fat,” Robinson chuckled. “I told them yes I was and that I was still very interested in doing the show.”
Mother’s Final Wish
From that day forward, things began to move very quickly. He took a leave of absence from his nursing job in the medical center’s Surgical Intensive Care Unit and attended a 90-day boot camp in Colorado. The camp was very hard for him. He attended his mother’s funeral the day before the filming was to begin. One of her last wishes was for him to become healthy again.
In honor of his mother and in spite of the dark days, he pressed forward with the boot camp. The potential contestants would often work out up to four and a half hours a day. “I have bad knees and a bad back, so I couldn’t run and do a lot of the exercises,” Robinson said.
By the time his 90 days were up, Robinson had managed to lose an amazing 125 pounds. Sadly, the boot camp participants are not guaranteed a spot on the show and in spite of his initial weight loss success; he was not selected to continue with the show. The show producers did not think he had the motivation to continue with the program.
He proved them wrong.
Kept Losing on His Own
“I was bummed, but I was determined to lose the weight on my own,” Robinson said. So with no glaring lights, no cameras rolling and no trainers barking encouragement, he found an inner strength he didn’t know he had and continued the weight loss on his own.
The producers followed up and were so impressed with his motivation and progress, he was told to pack his bags as he was given a spot on the Extreme Weight Loss show, season 5.
His is a story of perseverance, transformation, keeping promises and using life’s lessons to help yourself and others. He is now back at work as a nurse, a weight loss coach and a leader for those who require life-changing motivation.
About the Author: Sarah Cox is a Public Affairs Specialist at the Washington DC VA Medical Center