Perfect Weight America: Family Makeover
Instead of getting a new house, some families are being given something worth much more—a pathway to good health.
When the Perfect Weight America Tour ‘08 began on New Year’s Day, Jordan and his team wanted to do something tangible to help others in the communities they would be visiting. Their idea: “adopt” a family and offer personal as well as financial assistance to help them reach their perfect weight and turn their health around. Like ABC’s reality television series, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, the Perfect Weight version changes the way a family lives in a dramatic fashion.
Jordan and the Perfect Weight team found their first family in Seattle. It all began when Jordan was doing an interview with Kim Keys, who hosts a local show on the TBN network. They got to talking about this and that, and after the tape stopped rolling, she leaned over and told Jordan that her husband, Derrick, has a weight problem.
“How much weight are we talking about?” Jordan asked.
“Six hundred pounds,” she replied.
Kim, 31, was at a normal weight, but Jordan could clearly see the concern etched on her face regarding her 34-year-old husband. Normally, when you hear about people that heavy, they are so obese that they can barely get out of bed and walk to the bathroom. Derrick still leads an active life, however. He’s a worship leader at his church and has a full-time job at a correctional facility—a prison. They have one adopted child and two foster kids at home. Kim says Derrick is a warm person who lights up the room.
Jordan asked Derrick and Kim if they would agree to be interviewed with the PWA camera crew. They didn’t hesitate to say yes. Derrick said that he remembers as a child that his mother told him that he was always going to be heavy, and sure enough, that became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Ballooning out to 600 pounds has taken a toll on everyone in his family, he said, as well as his marriage. The only way he can get to their second-story master bedroom, he said, is to crawl up the stairs one by one, but many evenings he’s too worn out to complete the task, so he sleeps uncomfortably on the couch.
Derrick has tried to lose weight, and he even submitted to lap band surgery. The idea behind the operation was to create a small pouch in the upper part of the stomach with a gastric band device that was placed around the upper part of his stomach. The resulting pouch dramatically reduced the functional capacity of the stomach, but Derrick said he gained 100 pounds since the surgery.
Listening to Derrick and Kim’s stories—and their willingness to do something—Jordan made a snap judgment and offered to “adopt” this couple. That means the PWA team will work with Derrick so that he can reach his perfect weight, so to speak. The PWA Tour provided them with a shopping list at Marlene’s Market & Deli in Tacoma, and anything they purchase above their normal budget for groceries, they’ll make up the difference. Jordan also said that he’d have Garden of Life send him nutritional supplements and snacks at no charge.
The Keys Family
Residence: Tacoma, Washington
Vital statistics at the start of the Perfect Weight Makeover:
• Derrick, 34, weighs nearly 600 pounds
• Kim, 31, weighs 137
Makeover goals: Derrick has been overweight throughout his adult life. Several years ago he submitted to lap band surgery, but Derrick gained 85 pounds after the gastric band device was placed around the upper part of his stomach.
When Derrick met with Jordan, he set a goal of losing 350 pounds by January 2010, and if Derrick gets down to 250 pounds, Jordan said he would send the Keys family to Disneyland. His wife, Kim, is already at her perfect weight, but she’s motivated to help Derrick because of her husband’s increased risk of dying prematurely from cardiovascular disease or diabetes.
Quote from Kim Keys: “Derrick is a warm person who lights up the room. When he comes home from work at 7 p.m. each night, I hear the garage door go up, and that’s when I know he’s home. Because of his weight, though, I fear the day the garage door doesn’t come up.”