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David Smith, ‘650 Pound Virgin’ on His Weight Gain: Today Show Interview (Video)

David Smith made an emotional appearance on NBC’s Today Show on June 6, 2012 and shared in an interview (video below) the weight gain he experienced recently of at least 250 pounds. He initially rose to fame in 2009 when his compelling and triumphant weight loss success story of his 410 pound weight loss was chronicled in a documentary on TLC: The 650 Pound Virgin. He was a client and later close friend of Chris Powell, the trainer and transformation specialist who appears weekly on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition working with the super obese who have at least 200 pounds to lose.

David Smith’s transformation was indeed dramatic, as seen on the Today Show reveal from 2009; video here. Now, talking with NBC’s Janet Shamlian he revealed the reasons for the weight gain. He said:

“I looked really good on the outside, but inside I was a terrible mess,” Smith told TODAY’s Janet Shamlian in a report that aired Wednesday.

Though Smith had, in his words, gone from “dud” to “stud,” he was jarred by that metamorphosis each time he looked in the mirror.

“I saw somebody that didn’t know who they were,” he told Shamlian. “All my life I was a monster in my head. And all of a sudden to be, you know, this good-looking guy — it blew my mind away. I didn’t know how to deal with it.”

Smith initially lost the 400+ pounds by following the exercise and diet routine — carb cycling — of Chris Powell — detailed in his new book Choose to Lose: The 7-Day Carb Cycle Solution. While the plan worked for him, and can work again, he is candid in revealing how he must deal with underlying issues as he had turned to food for comfort.

“I’d eat in my car before I’d get home,” he told Shamlian. “Or, you know, if everybody’s out, I’d go and eat something really quick and then throw it away before they would come home.”

Though he felt he was letting people down, Smith couldn’t stop trying to fill his internal void with food.

“It was tough,” he said. “You know, a lot of people were counting on me to be inspiring. And I didn’t want to let anybody down. But I just felt so bad. And I didn’t know how to cope.”

The mental and emotional struggle can make losing weight and keeping it off daunting, and food as comfort — with the food itself, if high in fats, sugar and salt and thus highly addicting, impacts the brain just like cocaine and other drugs, as studies in recent years have shown.

Full replay video is below.

This time around, in the public eye and with his public declaration and a supportive girlfriend, Megan Povar who had stuck with him, he has the chance to turn it life around and make a transformation yet again, and reverse the weight gain that left him up to 525 pounds. Many of us know the challenges. I certainly do, having put on weight that I had lost many years ago, but thankfully I found the resolve and the right diet — a whole foods plant-based diet, the McDougall plan (detailed in his new book The Starch Solution — that enabled me to vanquish the addictions and cravings. Yes, the failure rate is high as many will regain the weight. However, in recent years we have more knowledge about food addictions and ways to kick them, whether in a cold turkey style jump-kick or a disciplined resolve over time.

We can only wish David Smith, the erstwhile 650 Pound Virgin all the best as he embarks again on his weight loss journey. Let us know your thoughts and, if you’d like to, share any tips that have helped you lose weight and keep it off.

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