Website Exclusive! NBC's Biggest Loser Wins Again -- Via Plastic Surgery

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Eric Chopin, 37, broke NBC's Biggest Loser record after losing a total of 214 pounds and winning $250,000. But most television viewers did not hear the rest of the story, now offered by Chopin recently had plastic surgery afterwards due to hanging skin left after his weight loss. Here, Eric explains the difference plastic surgery has made in his life.

I want to be around to walk my daughters down the aisle when the day comes

When NBC's Biggest Loser champ Eric Chopin recently had a story to tell, he told The story? Eric had to see a plastic surgeon after reducing his weight from 407 pounds to a slim, sleek 192 on his six-foot frame

After Chopin left the NBC program, he visited a plastic surgeon because he had enough excess, sagging skin to cover two people. (Read Chopin's story and see his amazing before and after pictures -- it's a Web Exclusive!)

The Biggest Losers Club
You may remember the 37-year-old Chopin losing 124 pounds at the NBC Biggest Loser camp and later working off another 90 for a total loss of 214 pounds. That broke the show's weight loss record, bagged Chopin a top prize of $250,000 and started him on a career as a motivational speaker. (Chopin is still being seen on the web's companion website, the Biggest Losers Club.)

The problem of excess, sagging skin is becoming increasingly common as more people undergo some form of bariatric surgery and lose 150, 200 or more pounds.

When a person is extremely obese and then loses massive amounts of weight, the skin has been so stretched out for so long, its ability to rebound is lost. That leaves loose, hanging skin on the person.

Body Contouring
So Chopin visited board certified plastic surgeon Andre Aboolian, M.D. in Beverly Hills to ask about body contouring, the operation that removes excess skin.    

Cosmetic plastic surgeons remove the surplus skin through a procedure alternately known as body lifting and body shaping.

Chopin underwent the procedure in March, 2007, and had about 12 pounds of skin removed from his torso in an eight-hour procedure. He also had ultrasonic liposuction on his waist, upper arms, back and buttocks.

"I had simply had it with the loose, hanging skin on my body," Eric says. "It irritated me, the folds of skin rubbed together and got sore, making running and working out difficult. If I jogged, the extra skin flopped up and down. In business attire, I had a huge bulge of sliding, moving skin at my waist that made me look sloppy."

Plastic Surgery Procedure
During the surgery, Dr. Aboolian made an incision all the way around Chopin's waist, a technique known as a belt lipectomy. Excess skin below the incision line is pulled up and trimmed away to help reshape the stomach, hips, thighs and buttocks. Plastic surgeons place the 360-degree incision within the bikini line so the resulting scar is hidden by underwear and most swim wear.    
That was not the first time Chopin recalls being disgusted about the state of his physique.

Back in 2004, he declared he was "once and for all" going to do something about his excess weight which often embarrassed him and his two young daughters. Chopin knew that obesity was bad for his health.

"I want to be around to walk my daughters down the aisle when the day comes," Chopin says. "So I was searching hard for answers."

Gastric Bypass Surgery
"Before I was chosen for a spot on NBC's Biggest Loser, I was almost on the table for gastric bypass surgery," he says. "At the last moment, I learned that NBC was casting for very overweight people who wanted to lose weight before a national television audience. So I flew to California to stand in a line five blocks long for an interview."

After being accepted and signing onto the weight loss camp, Chopin learned he was a type II diabetic with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Now doubly motivated, he carefully consumed a 2000 calorie diet and worked out four hours daily, running, swimming and working on treadmills at the NBC training camp. After the evening meal, Chopin exercised for another hour and worked in some weight lifting.

Results? After four months, his waist slimmed from 54 to 34 inches and his weight dropped from 407 to 283. He continued working out at his Long Island home to drop the last 90 pounds and returned to California for the body shaping.

"After the body shaping, I was in Cabo San Lucas on business where the guys usually go shirtless all day," Chopin recalls. "And I remember thinking how nice it was to be shirtless and not be self conscious about it. It is important because, when a person is self-conscious or embarrassed about any facial or bodily feature, he or she is less spontaneous, outgoing and social because of being constantly on guard."


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Charles Downey
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