Appleton man's extreme weight loss featured on reality show

  • Updated: June 25, 2013 - 11:10 AM

APPLETON, Wis. — An Appleton man says the loss of his left arm in a car accident nearly five years ago was a turning point in his struggle to lose weight.

Ryan Sawlsville, 24, said the accident was his wake-up call.

"I knew I survived for a reason," Sawlsville said. "That was my 'aha' moment that something had to change."

At 410 pounds, Sawlsville said being overweight was more of a disability for him than losing his arm.

"I'm doing things now at my current weight that I couldn't do with two arms," he said.

Sawlsville's weight-loss journey began when he submitted his video story to popular TV weight loss shows in August 2010. He learned a year later that he would not be a contestant. But in February 2012, Sawlsville said he got a surprising phone call from "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition," which shared the same production company as the previous show.

"Extreme Weight Loss" trainer Chris Powell showed up at the Packers Hall of Fame in Green Bay to let Sawlsville know he'd been selected for the show. Sawlsville spent a couple months training in California with Powell and learned healthy eating habits, according to Post-Crescent Media (http://post.cr/10PIcv9 ).

From April 2012 to May 2013, Sawlsville has worked out in Appleton with Ryan Dart, a trainer at CrossFit, who was selected by Powell. Sawlsville's weight loss goal was 195 pounds.

"I think he has done an unbelievable job, and one of the struggles obviously was Ryan having one arm," Dart said. "Ryan has done such an awesome job with the one arm that people will realize there are no excuses."

Sawlsville's weight loss journey was to be chronicled Tuesday night on the ABC show.

"I'm living proof the impossible is possible," Sawlsville said. "I don't even use that word anymore. I hate the words 'I can't' because there's nothing I can't do."

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