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December 22, 2014

Chris Powell Gets the Pounds Off on 'Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition'

by Michael Maloney, posted Jun 3rd 2011 10:00AM
Chris PowellObesity is on the rise, and ABC's doing something about it with its latest reality series 'Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition' (Mondays, 10PM ET).

The program is documenting the journeys of eight "super obese" people as they undergo a new fitness plan designed to both shed the pounds and educate about lifestyle choices. Trainer and transformation specialist Chris Powell guides the participants on their journey.

Each stand-alone episode of the series will document one person's transformation. Powell's no stranger to changes himself -- once the tiniest kid in his grade school class, he later transformed his own body by lifting weights.

AOL TV chatted with Powell to get his thoughts on how 'Weight Loss Edition' differs from similar programs, how he handles contestants becoming attached to him and what he thinks Kirstie Alley needs to do in order to keep the weight off that she lost on 'Dancing With the Stars.'

How does 'Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition' differ from NBC's 'The Biggest Loser'?
Ours is not a competition program. There's not a threat of ever going home [like there is on 'Loser']. Our participants are there because they want to lose weight and increase the quality of their lives. They truly want this.

Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss EditionDo you agree that if the weight comes off too quickly it can come back quickly?
Yes. We're talking about instilling lifestyle changes. It's not just this rapid weight loss. You want to do it slowly. If you do it that way, the chances of the weight loss being permanent are much greater. We take the time to address the emotional, psychological and environmental triggers that can lead to weight gain. It takes time. Change is terrifying. It needs to be done a little at a time -- that's why we require a full year.

So much of eating is emotionally-based. How do you handle it when participants do the transference thing and get emotionally attached to you?
It's something I still work with. There isn't much of a "wall" with what I do. There's only one reason I work with people. It's very personal. I'm friends with all of them. I reach out to them and it goes so far beyond what the cameras see. You're helping people change their lives. It's an emotional process for them ... it is for me, too.

Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss EditionDo you prescribe the same techniques for each participant?
I approach every transformation with a basic template in mind. I know what I want them to do, but based on their lifestyle and social support group I have to tweak it. I have one who's a single individual and another who is a married mom who's working two jobs with kids. I have to stay flexible in my approach.

Kirstie Alley lost a good deal of weight during the course of 'Dancing With the Stars.' What's your advice to her to keep it off now that the show is over?
The physical regime that she [went] through is intense. If she's not as physically active [now that] the show is over, then she needs to be able to compensate for that with nutrition and movement.

Is everyone successful with weight loss on your show, or are there setbacks?
Everybody has setbacks. It's a rollercoaster. The whole process is done in phases. You're going to see people go through their phase goals and see people fail, too. You'll see success and failure with every individual because this is not easy. They've committed to losing hundreds of pounds. It's real life.

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kristy kiggins

im kristylarsen50@gmail.com, i am 100 and 10 pounds over weight ive exercied everday for 2 hours i dont over eat ant i walk every where.and i can not seem to loose this weight.i was small all of my life untill i got married to my second husband and went through a deep dapretion and started using opiotes that later anded me in icu for 2 in a half months i was not suppost to live i was in a coma that i woudent come out of and why i was in a coma my husband died witch left me alone with nobody so very alone and unable to walk talk and very weak i had to relearn every thing again and that mad it so i put on alote of weight depresed and the feeling of being alone was very hard for me and now im doing alote better but i have this weight that i cant get rid of and it makes it in posible to restart my life with another so if you can help me i would be very thankfull. thank you kristy

June 27 2014 at 5:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mkweber517

Is anyone watching this show yet??? I"m obsessed! KUDOS ABC! You knocked it out of the park on this one. Seriously!

Thanks for ONCE for treating obese people with respect and love. Oh and Chris Powell - you're amazing. If you're reading this seriously thank you for being the kind caring gentle soul you are. ANd for helping those of us that struggle with our demons that we CAN control them and have the right to live happy and fulfilled lives.

EXTREME MAKEOVER WEIGHT LOSS ON MONDAY NIGHTS FTW! I watch every week live at 10!!

June 15 2011 at 12:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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June 04 2011 at 9:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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