At age 35, Allison Warrell was 40 lbs. overweight at only 3’11”, and knew she needed to make a change before her weight started taking a dangerous toll on her body.
“I started my journey because at that point I was still surgery-free,” Warrell, now 40, tells PEOPLE. “It’s very common for little people to have surgery, and the heavier we are, the worse it is on our bodies.”
Warrell began working out with a trainer who developed a program catered to her, and thanks to her hard work and dedication she dropped 20 percent of her body fat and now competes professionally as a women’s physique bodybuilder. Warrell — who has become a certified personal trainer and sports nutritionist — is now using her experiences to help two morbidly obese little people transform their bodies on the two-part TLC docu-series Big & Little, premiering Wednesday.
“Being a little person, this world was not built for us, and then if you’re overweight, just trying to adapt is not comfortable,” she says. “I push them towards their goals so they can live longer, be healthy, not be in a wheelchair and live a normal life.”
In an exclusive clip, Warrell meets with Chuck Love, a 31-year-old aspiring radio host who weighed 164 lbs. at 3’6″.
“As Chuck is walking me around his house, I notice he’s sweating, he can’t walk more than 30 seconds,” Warrell says in the clip. “He definitely needs some help.”
Love had struggled with his weight his entire life, but things had taken a turn for the worse in recent years.
“I put on so much weight that I could barely walk up the street without being tired,” he tells PEOPLE. “I lost my social life. I was a recluse for a few years. I couldn’t even bend over to tie my shoes. My waist was bigger ’round than I am tall.”
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While Love said it was initially hard to change his diet and become more active, he always kept his end goal in mind.
“I was looking forward to getting my life back to normal and going out and being social,” he says. “I’m in my early 30s, and I want to eventually settle down and have a wife and kids and a family. Being as overweight as I was, I wasn’t accomplishing anything. I wasn’t working. I wanted to get back to what I used to be.”
He credits Warrell with getting his life back on track.
“Allison had the same issues I had, which impressed me,” he says. “Working with a little person trainer, I learned so many exercises I didn’t know I could do. It changed my life.”
Big & Little airs Wednesday May 24 and May 31 at 10/9c on TLC.