Another kind of victory

Brittney Trojanowski

At 29 years old and 477 lbs, Kent State student Aaron Thompkins woke up one morning unable to breathe, desperately grasping for air. That’s the day he knew he needed to change his life.

Along with setting up a doctor’s appointment, Aaron decided to go to the auditions in Detroit to be on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” The contestant was not allowed to tell how much weight he lost or how long he was in California until the show is over.

Visual communication design major Aaron Thompkins was nothing short of a winner in his eyes after participating in the 10th season of the show this summer, which airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m.

“The show was a huge blessing,” Thompkins said.

Thompkin’s wife, Amber, was one of his biggest supporters in his journey and noticed the positive changes in her husband.

“The tone of his voice is different, the way he walks is different and his perspective of himself is different,” she said.

This wasn’t Aaron’s first time trying out for the show — it was his third.

“I guess third time’s a charm,” Thompkins said.

Thompkins said he mainly used the show to build his confidence and get over the mental issues of being overweight; losing weight was an added plus.

“I feel that his decision to try out for the show was a good one because he was at a point where he could not help himself nor could I help him,” Amber said.

Thompkins believes that obesity is not a problem, but rather a symptom to a problem. He has tried to lose weight in the past but would always gain it back.

He was only addressing the symptom, not the real problem: a less than perfect relationship with his father and the struggle to deal with emotional problems. He feared becoming like his father, who was a poor role model during his childhood because of alcoholism.

But instead of alcohol, Thompkins became addicted to food when he couldn’t deal with his emotional issues. He said people have to change their emotional issues with the weight before they can start to lose it.

Thompkins’ weight has affected his whole life, from not being able to play little league football with his friends to not being accepted into the Air Force because of the weight requirements.

His weight also affected him negatively in social situations. He always had a hard time asking girls out on dates because he didn’t have the confidence in himself to approach them. Even when it came to his friends, Thompkins felt too uncomfortable going out.

He said the biggest benefit from the show was that it helped boost his confidence through the challenges the contestants had to work through each show.

“We didn’t like the challenges, but I realized they helped me mentally,” Thompkins said. “That I could do things I didn’t think I could do. I almost believe that the whole weight-loss thing is a given, and once you take care of the psychological and emotional issues, it deals with the symptom of being overweight automatically.”

Aaron has even influenced his wife by being on the show. She also has lost weight since then, 35 lbs to be exact.

His motto: “Change your thoughts, change your foods and change into your workout clothes.”

Contact Brittney Trojanowski at

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