MARISSA: In the beginning of this process, I was like any other hopeful contestant. I had hopes and dreams of Chris and Heidi choosing us, and our lives being perfect from that moment on. Unfortunately, as great as they are, the broken pieces of myself were not glued back together immediately once we were chosen. I think that my pieces were actually broken further at that point due to the fact that I had to face said issues head on that I had refused to face for so long in my life. My fake facade that I had presented to the world of being ‘ok’ was about to be exposed on national television, and though I signed up and consented for just that to happen, I don’t think I was truly prepared for the truth to be out there in such a raw way.
SHANE:Marissa loves Extreme Weight Loss, like, shes a huge fan. She’d go on about how she loves Chris and Heidi, how they would change our lives…boy was she right! Her father committed suicide and instead of mourning him, she shielded her heart, made it hard and impenetrable, smiles and all the pleasantries to the world, but a whole lot of angst inside. She spiralled into a world of alcohol and spent many years drunk, never mourning her father’s death or dealing with his verbal abuse and what it had done to her. When we met she had come out of a long stupor. The party all night, drink yourself to oblivion lifestyle had worn thin. She wasn’t ready to cope with her issues, but she was ready to be sober again.
I spent most of my life being a coward, laying back and letting the world walk all over me. My childhood was less than the most wholesome of upbringings. I was beaten, sexually and verbally abused…I was told I was worthless, that I would never be anything. I believed. I never tried, never had even a glimmer of confidence. When I met Marissa, I was broken, bad broken. I’d separated from an ex wife that horror movies are made about, I was abusing alcohol and neglecting my health… I was ready for the big door to shut right on my ass for good. I was, until I met Marissa. Marissa is my true life angel. She walked into my life and everything changed. The nonsense cleared from my numb skull, I began to realize how ridiculously I’d been living, a waste! 35 years of emptiness, despair and struggle all boiling underneath a calm exterior. I was looking for someone to save me, instead I found someone as hurt and scared as I was.
Marissa and I fell in love. We have always loved each other. Even in the darkest hours of our relationship neither of us could deny we love each other. Together we comforted ourselves into a sedentary lifestyle that never asked anything from either of us, physically and emotionally. We are great together, but when it come to those points in life when the real stuff needs to be addressed, both of us would turn our heads and look way. Not to mention having over 300 lbs of fat on the table! Obesity like that is all consuming, honestly and truly, it’s a death sentence. Hard to realize that until you lose the weight.
At bootcamp something snapped. One night Marissa and I began talking about the next days call sheet. That led to us talking about her father’s suicide. She speculated that Chris and Heidi were coming to confront her about it. It terrified her. She cried and was inconsolable. The next morning at Central Park, Denver the terror surfaced. She lost it, I mean totally freaked out. She spent a lot of years avoiding anything to do with the suicide and the pain her father caused her.
I’d become removed. I was overwhelmed with the demons that I finally began to confront. I felt like I’d come to do this transformation and Marissa had abandoned me. She disconnected, its the damndest I’ve ever seen, she can shut right down, do not pass go, do not… She can turn emotion off like a spigot and ain’t nothing gonna open that spigot till she says so! Anyhow, we both were about a third crazy! This is how we left each other after bootcamp.
MARISSA: Going into this amazing process, I knew I was broken. What I didn’t know was that my rock, my love, my stability was broken too. Through my self-absorbed ways, I had forgotten that Shane was a person too. I had never even asked him how he felt, or why he had let himself get to such an unhealthy point. I didn’t consider the fact that he could be broken as well. He had always been there for me, listened to me cry myself to sleep at night, and comforted me when I was down and out about my childhood and the passing of my father. He was and is a great man who has supported me through a lot. He is right. I did freak out that day, and to be quite honest, I don’t really remember any of it. I know it happened. I don’t remember conversations or specifics. From that day forward, I had changed, and probably not for the best. I built up an even taller wall around my heart, and pushed everyone who cared about me away. I am not sure exactly what happened, but I do know that I continue to deal with those demons. I still have a lot of work to do to get to where I need to be emotionally. However, I do know that I love Shane, and after the cameras were gone, and I didn’t have so much pressure on me to make decisions, I realized that I did love this man. I always had. I wanted to make it work.
I can honestly say that the break up scene was the worst day of my life. The decision had already been made at that point to call off the wedding. It was the first time I had seen Shane in 3 months, and I couldn’t believe how amazing he looked. I left that scene completely confused, wondering if I had just made the biggest mistake of my life. Shane and I went back and forth. Together for a little while, then I would push away again. I just couldn’t figure life out. I knew I loved him, but I also liked the freedom. Then, someone recommended I read a relationship help book which I purchased on Kindle, and immediately began reading. My eyes were opened from the moment I cracked the book. I finally realized that I had been creating quite the story in my mind about how horrible of a person he was, when in actuality, I was the one at fault for a lot of things. I am not saying Shane is perfect, and he will not either. This man has put in the work over this last year though. He has truly searched his soul for reasons why he does and says the things he does. Through reading the book, I found that I was horrible at communication, and the lack of communication had resulted in me building a wall of resentment towards Shane for no real reason at all. Each time he would say something to me that offended me, instead of immediately telling him “Hey, that’s not nice, that hurts my feelings”, I would hold it inside, turn it to brick and place it on this giant wall of resentment I had built over the last seven years of our relationship.
With that being said, SEVEN years is nothing to write off. We have a history…and a long one at that. After reading this book, I began talking to Shane again. This time with a softer heart. The book and the thoughts it had provoked in my mind allowed me to finally soften my heart toward him again. He really wanted me to be with him to live this new, amazing life with him. I thought about it, weighed out the pros and cons, and realized that I wanted to give “us” another chance. I mean we were completely changed people, and I had yet to give this new man a chance. In the middle of June, I moved with him. I have since started a new career at a medical weight loss clinic that I love, and can see myself going far in. Shane and I have began couples counseling to help us to deal with residual issues that need to be addressed, and we are looking forward to our long, healthy, future together.
To answer your question that I know you all are dying to ask me, yes… I regret not getting an amazing dream wedding I could have, but honestly, I believe that it just wasn’t time for us. You would think after seven years, it would be time, but if you think about it, those first seven years we were two shells of humans going through the motions. We were not living. We were existing because we had to. I believe there will be a wedding in the future, but at this point, we are starting off slow. We are new people, inside and out, and we have to start all over to be able to really get to know each other again. It’s amazing that a year of weight loss can do this to a person, but for those of you that watch the show, you know it’s not just about the pounds on the scale. It’s about the emotional weight that is directly connected with the physical weight. It really changes a person and their outlook on life.
I will forever be grateful to Chris and Heidi, the production staff, and ABC for the opportunity to go through this year of transformation. Because of them, we will have the chance to live the life we have always dreamed of. Shane is officially the best performing cast member in the history of the whole show. He lost 242 pounds in 7 months time. This is more weight in that amount of time than anyone else. I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of him. He is an amazing man, and can really accomplish anything he puts his mind to. I’m looking forward to our long life together. He continues to teach me new things about nutrition, health, and myself every day. I am working on being less self-centered (which is really hard to do in this society we live in). We are both continually working to better ourselves. We are not perfect, and do not claim to be. We know that we both have faults, and definitely have plenty of room for growth!
Thanks for watching our show, and I look forward to your comments. (The nice ones at least 😉 )