‘Biggest Loser’ winner helps San Diegans shed pounds and build self-esteem
By Kristina Houck
Mike Messina weighed 372 pounds two years ago. He struggled with asthma, hypertension, sleep apnea and Type 2 diabetes.
Then he went on “The Biggest Loser.”
“The show gave me an opportunity to face my disease head on with a way of dealing with it like no other,” said Messina, a local resident. “It was lifesaving.”
At the start of the NBC reality television show, then-41-year-old Messina weighed in at 358 pounds. Although he was eliminated in the second week of season 13, Messina used what he learned during his brief stint to maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine at home. In six months, he lost 174 pounds, earning the at-home prize. His asthma, hypertension, sleep apnea and Type 2 diabetes went into full remission.
After winning the $100,000 at-home prize, Messina worked with Dr. Robert Huizenga — known as “Dr. H” on “The Biggest Loser” — at The Clinic, a Los Angeles-based treatment center for obesity and obesity-related diseases. Now, he is using the knowledge he gained on the show and at The Clinic to launch his own boutique concierge lifestyle transformation service.
“Everything that I know about the science behind weight loss, I learned from Dr. H,” Messina said. “His system is what helped me lose 174 pounds in six months and maintain that fat loss for almost two years now.
“I know what it takes to maintain a healthy body fat, be efficient about it and live life to the fullest. That’s what I want to teach and I want to show people.”
Launched in February, Messina Lifestyle offers behavioral assessments, coaching, DNA testing, in-home cooking classes, workout classes and more. The program can be tailored to individuals and families.
“It’s pretty intense, but it’s so worth it,” said Messina, who works alongside Kimberly Henry, Messina Lifestyle’s behavioral specialist and life coach. “It’s attainable.”
Born and raised in San Leandro, Calif., Messina had been obese since he was 12 years old. He would overeat at truck-stop buffets and fast food chains while being on the road with his father, a truck driver. In one summer on the road, Messina gained 50 pounds.
After high school, Messina received his Emergency Medical Technician certificate. Before becoming a trainer, he held a variety of jobs, working as a waiter, cook and salesman.
“I never really found my passion and then I got this opportunity,” he said. “I was suffering my whole life in this body that I hated and was embarrassed by. I was in pain every day because of it. Just getting off the couch was a chore. My knees hurt and my back hurt. I couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without huffing and puffing. And in front of 10 million people, I changed my life.
“I just saw an opportunity. I saw a need for it. It was a no-brainer for me to get involved in this and engross myself in this lifestyle and become a healer. I understand what it feels like.”
For more information about Messina Lifestyle, visit www.messinalifestyle.com.