Michael Irvin helps 'Makeover: Weight Loss' show

Sat, Jun 18

NFL Hall of Famer Michael Irvin has never had a weight problem.

The 45-year-old Irvin -- who played 11 years for the Dallas Cowboys and is now a broadcaster for the NFL Network -- has for years carried about 205 pounds on his 6-foot-2 frame.

But these days, Irvin loves to spend time motivating athletes and athlete-wannabes to get into shape and achieve their goals -- on the field and off.

That's why he, along with former Cowboys lineman Nate Newton, started working with James of Fort Worth, Texas, to try to help him shed some of his 651 pounds on Monday's episode of ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition."

"He has just lost hope," said Irvin, who was the 15th of 17 siblings growing up in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., before heading to the University of Miami. "Sometimes people see nothing in front of them and they give up and they eat."

"Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition" documents the makeovers of eight "super obese" people who, in 365 days, set out to safely lose half of their body weight, guided by trainer Chris Powell.

"This is a brilliant idea for a show. This is so different than the athletes I work with," Irvin said. "I had to find ways to push him. I had to find ways to make him care. The weight is his purgatory."

After James hurt his knee in high school, he gave up hope of playing pro football. He turned his focus to computer work and spent long hours at his computer, consuming unhealthy food. And the weight kept piling on.

"Nate and I wanted to get him back into the game of life. Change comes when you make up your mind," Irvin said. "Too many people look at their body in the mirror for inspiration to keep going. When, in fact, the real inspiration comes from what you can't see. It's in your mind."