The Bravest Loser

Erik Chopin was 36 years old and 407 pounds when he got the call from NBC to say he was a contestant on Season 3 of the Biggest Loser. He had struggled most of his life to overcome his battle with obesity and this was the chance of a lifetime to finally walk free. It was literally now a matter of life or death as he had been recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and a variety of weight related medical conditions.

He worked hard and with the help of his trainers, Erik managed to lose 214 pounds in 12 weeks, making him that season’s Biggest Loser.

However once the show was over and the cameras were switched off, Erik struggled to maintain his new weight. Over the months which followed, he gained 122 pounds, taking him just a few pounds off his pre-show weight! Feeling ashamed, he did his best to avoid the media by using older photograph’s of himself on Facebook, and even turned down an offer to appear on Oprah with the other Biggest Loser contestants.

Eventually Erik could no longer live a lie. He accepted a second invitation by Oprah to share his story and struggle. Many were shocked by how far he had fallen. During the interview he candidly admitted his failure, he apologised to those he had let down and made a fresh commitment to continue his battle to overcome obesity.

I’ve come to greatly admire people like Erik. People who refuse to give up despite failure. I wish more of us had this same tenacity.

We all face temptations and we all have weaknesses. The hardest thing is to keep moving forward despite these, especially when you find yourself being caught out by the same temptation, over and over again. The power of continued failure is that we can eventually see ourselves as weak, powerless and bound.

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5.1 (NKJV)

People try all sorts of things to help them through but at the end of the day if what you are facing is a rooted in a spiritual problem, then you need a spiritual answer. . As someone who has faced his fair share of failures, the reality is that you can’t do it alone. We need God’s help. Jesus has paid the price so we can be free. This isn’t a green light to simply adopt our weakness as sin but it does mean that if we fall, He is there to help us, not judge us. So we have a choice to make, do we admit defeat and stay down or are we brave enough to get back up, dust ourselves off, place both feet firmly on the ground and continue to keep moving forward.

Someone once said, “the secret of happiness is freedom and the secret of freedom is courage.” I think Erik Chopin would agree. He went on to not only lose the extra weight but has kept it off. He became a motivational speaker at businesses and schools across America and helps people as a certified life coach.

In my eyes, Erik is an inspiration. He is not only the biggest loser, but also the bravest.

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