A yearlong weight loss journey for Lovell resident Jennifer Snell was featured on Tuesday night as part of ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss series. Up until the show was aired, her 160-pound weight loss was a closely guarded secret.
The show, which features professional trainers Chris and Heidi Powell, documented a one-year period of time where Snell, with the help and guidance of the show’s staff, lost around half of her body weight through a rigorous regime of diet, exercise and psychological counseling.
Snell was selected for the show in May of 2014 at a time when she weighed an all-time high of 342 pounds. Tuesday night’s show, which was taped earlier, revealed a completely new look for Snell at 182 pounds. Snell said this week she can now wear a size eight dress, something she never thought possible before.
“I think anyone can lose weight, but, there’s a lot more to it than just going to the gym and dieting,” said Snell. “You have to truly look at yourself emotionally to keep it off. This wasn’t just a transformation for me. It was an intervention.”
Snell noted the statistic that 20 percent of those who lose weight gain it back. She said it takes at least five years of maintenance to keep it off and added that she plans to tackle those five years one year at a time, while helping others in the process.
Snell was a dispatcher with the Lovell Police Department when she first started the show, but now plans to focus her efforts on “paying forward” what she learned during her weight loss journey through speaking engagements and by working with others through her new website www.courageprevails.com.
“I’ve already done some speaking engagements in Oregon and I really enjoyed it,” she said. “I think what people need is some hope. Severely obese people especially need hope, since many have lost the belief in their own value. I want to give hope to those people.”
Snell, who is in her early 40s and is married, with two young children, said she started her journey with zero hope or self-value. She said working with Chris and Heidi Powell and the others on the show was like a “golden ticket” to success for her, admitting that most people don’t have that opportunity.
“I appreciate that what I was able to do with the help of the show is not reality for most people,” said Snell. “The show gave me the tools I needed to look into my life and make the lifestyle changes I needed to make. I think this is something people at home can do, because it’s a sustainable lifestyle change. I think I can help people make that change.”
Now that the show has aired, Snell is free to share all aspects of her efforts, including videos she made along the way, a journal she kept for the entire year and a few tricks and tools she learned along the way.
“Things aren’t black and white for me anymore. I consider myself living in the grey now; it’s about progression, not perfection,” she said. “It’s about moderation.”
Snell is currently in Denver to undergo surgery to remove all of the excess skin that remains after her extreme weight loss. The surgery, paid for by the show, is expected to last up to 10 hours and will require several weeks of recovery. She said she expects to return home to Lovell in late August. She said her doctors are predicting that she will be a size six after the surgery is done.
During her final reveal, on the show Snell said, “This is the beginning of my life and I’m raring to go.”
By Patti Carpenter