HealthCheck

Houstonian recalls experience on weight loss show

Monday, July 16, 2012

If you were watching ABC Sunday night, you met Nyla Gibson, a young Houston woman who starred in the two-hour "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition."

For a year, an ABC crew followed her around. Now, we have Gibson's thoughts on the ever present cameras, and what happened after the show stopped shooting last September.

Gibson weighed 435 pounds when she began "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition." At the end of a year, she had lost 157 pounds.

The show chronicled her struggle to lose weight, the workouts, the tears and the change in her Cajun style of cooking.

It's been nine months since the show finished taping. She's maintained her weight loss and the new lifestyle.

She says it was hard being followed by TV cameras for a year.

"I didn't like the cameras and because you're constantly being watched, I liken it to being in a fish bowl. You're living your life but everyone can see you do it," she said.

Gibson believes she was selected because she was honest.

"I'm definitely an emotional eater, definitely. I don't drink, I don't smoke. I'm probably the only woman in the world that doesn't like to shop so eating was something that gave me gratification," she said.

Since September, there's been no trainer or TV crew to push her. But she works out anyway and has become a certified Zumba instructor.

When we asked her the hardest part, we expected to hear it was food or the exercise. But for Gibson, it was understanding why she ate, that it was the rejection she felt from a father who abandoned her at birth.

"Being able to face that and deal with that and the pain associated with it allowed me to finally get past it," she said.

There was never a happy reunion and he has since died. But she's reunited with his family and now is able to focus on her future. She weighs 278 and is continuing her weight loss program.

"I'm not at my goal yet but it's a lifestyle change," she said.

Now people seek her out for advice and she hopes to use her gift of encouragement, combined with her MBA, to help others as she's received helped.

"Keep going, the only time you fail is when you stop," she said.

Gibson says the biggest food challenge is not to stop for fast food on the way home from the gym. Her biggest exercise challenge is working out when her body hurts.

(Copyright ©2014 KTRK-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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