Hometown: Kent, OH
Occupation: Graphic designer
Twenty-nine-year-old Aaron has struggled with his weight for his whole life. The youngest of three children, he grew up with an alcoholic father who was not a good role model. He played football in high school and also in college at Edinboro University, and currently attends Kent State University, where he’s finishing his degree in visual communications. Aaron says not exercising, a strained relationship with his father, and not knowing how to deal with emotional issues all led to his current weight of 468 pounds. He realized he was turning out to be like his father, but with an addiction to food rather than alcohol. He suffers from sleep apnea. When he woke up one night gasping for air, Aaron knew it was time to change his life. Now father to a three-year-old son, Aaron wants to be a better dad and role model and a better husband to his wife. Aaron looks forward most to taking his son to an amusement park and the beach once he loses weight
Hometown:San Francisco, CA
Occupation:Project coordinator for high tech company
Ada has struggled with weight her entire life, and was shy growing up in Gilroy, California, with her younger brother and parents, who emigrated from China. Ridiculed about her weight and with no encouraging and supportive people around her, she turned to food for comfort. As she went through her school years, her personality blossomed and she excelled as a student. Her hard work continued at the University of San Francisco, where Ada earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a focus on international business. Now 27 years old and 258 pounds, Ada hopes losing weight will allow her to feel more confident, feel good about her life, and finally be happy. She looks forward to shopping for clothes when she loses weight, as well as snowboarding, rock climbing and even running a marathon.
Hometown: Santa Ana, CA
Occupation: Non-profit manager
Adam’s motivation to lose weight stemmed from a devastating personal loss – losing his best friend and mother Nancy at 51, due to massive heart failure brought on by complications of diabetes and obesity. At that point, he knew he had to honor his mother by changing his life and getting healthy. Adam was always overweight, a combination of poor diet, lack of exercise, and over-eating. He grew up with his younger brother in Santa Ana, California, and attended Orange Coast College and Cal State Fullerton. Now 402 pounds at age 26, Adam wants to finally lose weight and help motivate others, including family members struggling with obesity. He wants to feel good about himself inside and out, and looks forward to traveling with his brother and enjoying an active, healthy lifestyle.
Adam’s mother worked as an administrator for a medical center, where she helped with an annual Christmas toy and food drive for local, low-income families. Adam and his family are continuing the successful, 15-year program, which the medical center renamed Nancy’s Miracle Toy Drive to honor his mother.
Allie grew up in Moore, Oklahoma, and began putting on weight at the age of five after her brother died. From that point on, she didn’t feel like she had the structure in her life to keep her weight in check. At 14, she had vertical banded gastroplasty to try to combat her weight issues, but it wasn’t the quick fix she’d hoped for. Now at age 22, Allie weighs 322 pounds. After her overweight mother had a stroke at 48, Allie knew she had to break the cycle and change her life. Having always been overweight, Allie is looking forward to the experience of living a healthier life and seeing how strong she really is. Once the weight is off, she hopes to have more self-confidence, and looks forward to shopping and rock climbing
Occupation:Administrative assistant and songwriter
Detroit native Anna has been writing songs professionally for years for artists such as Toni Braxton, Dru Hill and Ginuwine, and also works as an administrative assistant. She was raised with seven older half-siblings in Detroit and Cleveland, and studied sociology at Cleveland State University. She started gaining weight in 1999, after the devastating loss of her three-year-old son to cancer. Shortly after, she lost her father to lung cancer. She coped by eating, and soon found herself overweight and struggling just to care for her older son. Now 330 pounds and pre-diabetic with high cholesterol and high blood pressure, 39-year-old Anna wants to enjoy life again and get healthy physically, mentally and emotionally for herself and for her son. She was inspired by Season 8 contestant Abby Rike, who also experienced the loss of her children. Anna looks forward to running and shopping in any fashion store, and hopes to pay it forward by becoming a motivational speaker.
Occupation:Special education teacher
Thirty-two-year-old Brendan grew up in Boston, the middle child of three boys. He was an athlete in high school despite his weight, and went on to earn a degree in criminology at Florida State and then a master’s degree in special education at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. He thinks poor diet, lack of motivation and no exercise as an adult contributed to his current weight of 362 pounds. The weight gain has had an impact on his personal and professional life. Four years ago, he pushed away and lost his fiancÃ©e because he couldn’t deal with his weight issues. Formerly a police officer, he’s now a special education teacher and the creator of an afterschool weightlifting/wellness program for inner city kids in Boston – but he feels like it’s hypocritical to teach students how to eat healthy and exercise when he doesn’t do that himself. Brendan was inspired by fellow Bostonians and Season 5 contestants Mark and Jay Kruger, and hopes to gain everything back in his life that he lost due to his obesity and bad habits. He looks forward to being a better role model to his students, and fitting in the seats at Boston’s famed Fenway Park once he loses the weight.
Hometown:Eagle Mountain, Utah
Like many moms, 35-year-old Burgandy always put everyone else first. When her husband was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008, she was alone raising seven children, including foster care placements and one child with autism. She realized then that if she didn’t get her weight under control, her children could lose both their parents – one to war and one to obesity. Despite having several overweight family members, Burgandy was a thin high school student, who ran track, played tennis, and worked as a local model. She married at 19 and began gaining weight with each pregnancy as she juggled the demands of motherhood and life as a military wife. She tried lap-band surgery in 2008, but it wasn’t the magic solution she was hoping for. Now 231 pounds, she says her family of five children and her husband are her greatest accomplishments, and she looks forward to running a marathon once the weight is off.