Living in the Arena: Extreme Weight Loss medical director blogs about Georgeanna's Journey

AURORA, Colo. - Editor's note: ABC's Extreme Weight Loss is back for season four and this year participants will start their journey with a three-month boot camp at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Health and Wellness Center (AHWC).

The non-competitive TV show follows super-obese participants through a 365-day journey as they try to safely loose half of their body weight.

The participants are guided by trainer/transformation specialists Chris and Heidi Powell.

Dr. Holly Wyatt, Medical Director at AHWC and Medical Director for the show, reflects on episode eight featuring Georgeanna:

"In this episode of "Extreme Weight Loss" we meet Georgeanna, a pastor’s wife and mother of two daughters, who spent so much time trying to be a “perfect” mother and wife that she forgot to take care of herself. In her 365-day journey she lost an amazing 165 pounds and rediscovered her own joy of living by pushing past her fears of not being 'perfect.' She got off the sidelines, jumped into the arena and started living life on her terms."

Read on for Dr. Wyatt's observations on Georgeanna's Journey:

Watching this episode I couldn’t help but be reminded of one of my favorite quotes, “The Man in the Arena” by Theodore Roosevelt:

"It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly...who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at best, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." -- Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

I have this quote framed in my office and in my home and I give it to many of my weight loss clients at the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center.

The quote vividly describes the rewards, risks and consequences of living life to its fullest.

It makes me look at my life with a different perspective. It distinguishes between the life of a critic on the sidelines and someone who is living in the arena of life taking chances – and sometimes failing.

-- Worthy cause --

Georgeanna was transformed from being her own worst critic, afraid of not being perfect to “living in the arena."

Her transformation occurred because she allowed herself to recognize that she was not perfect and dealt with the pain that brought. In the end she experienced personal triumphs and changed her life forever.

-- Timid and safe --

I suspect that Georgeanna’s transformation will resonate with many viewers.

In my clinic at the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, I see too many people sleepwalking through life - just getting by, or living through others.

Everyone’s story is a little different, but for some, the course of life events causes them to learn to play it safe -- to not risk taking a chance and failing. They work hard to try to protect themselves from their fears.

Sure, they want more for themselves but are not willing to take the risk of trying and failing. The end result is that they do not fully engage in life.

They live their life safe from pain, but without a chance of achieving their greatest dreams. 

-- Knowing victory --

Georgeanna’s story shows what happens when people let fear get in the way -- and what can happen when we decide to confront fear and push past it.

Georgeanna was scared to fall, scared to fail, and scared she would not be perfect. This fear kept her on the sidelines watching life, not living it.

Playing it safe kept her from pain and it also kept her from feeling the joy of victory.

To truly know victory, you have to be willing to know defeat.

In the end, Georgeanna decided to take off her armor, to take chances and to live her life -- her way. She embraced the idea that she is perfectly imperfect and jumped into her arena.

-- Triumph of high achievement --

Are you sitting on the sidelines of your life? How do you learn to live your life in the arena?

Like Georgeanna, you have to take some chances and be willing to fail.

As hard as it is, you have to take off your armor, let yourself be vulnerable and be ok with getting dirty.

True success only comes with the risk of failure.

Take a chance. Venture into the “arena of life."

If you fail, and you will at some point, get back up, brush yourself off and try again. You can handle it and the rewards are definitely worth it.

Watch Georgeanna's story:

Extreme Weight Loss airs Tuesdays on ABC and Channel 7, KMGH-TV, in Denver.

Learn more about the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Health and Wellness Center.

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