Another inspiring series to watch for this summer is EXTREME MAKEOVER: WEIGHT LOSS EDITION, which focuses on the inspiring journey of eight people who undertook the challenge to regain their physical form and self-esteem over the course of a one-year journey with personal fitness trainer, Chris Powell.
While noting that a house may be made-over in one week, to makeover a human being, it takes a full year. As Chris good-humoredly said, “I need a full year — a full year to change these people. They’re looking for extreme transformation and, in order to do that, we need time.”
So with 8 contestants, Chris was on the road non-stop between each of them to get each up and running on the road to physical transformation. The initial process is to wisk away each contestant for a one-week boot-camp in Los Angeles, while their entire home is being remodeled from the inside-out. Then after the week is up, he returns with them to where they will find that their living room has been remade into a gym and their kitchen into a training room. Boot-camp provides each contestant with the knowledge and tools they need for the long journey ahead, but their physical environments must change as well. Chris said this is necessary because they are doing this at home. He explained, “It’s not in a bubble. It’s not on a secluded ranch or any institute. This is where they grew to their size — this is where their addictions, their emotions fuel the issues they are dealing with right now. So that’s where the beauty of the process happens and you need to get the process happening ’cause as soon as they are at home, they are dealing with environmental triggers and food triggers and social triggers, relationships, and career — and all these different things that they are dealing with right now.” So as each person re-acclimates into their new home environment, Chris will stay a few days and then he moves on to get the next contestant up and running. It was kind of like a person spinning plates simultaneously in the air for 12 months. But instead of plates, Chris had 8 people working diligently and relentlessly to make what would normally be considered an impossible transformation into a reality.
When asked what he is looking for in a participant, Chris said, “I’ll transform anyone who wants to make a change.” For him, there is no limit. It does not matter if the person is 400, 500 or even 600 pounds, he is confident that he can help them make a dramatic and long-lasting change in their physical life if they have a sincere desire to change.
He further explained, “What I’m looking for is a true desire — and someone who’s completely accepted responsibility to all their actions.” One of the things he sees frequently in the process of selecting candidates is a lot of excuses. Everyone has an excuse or reason why they are overweight, but very few will admit that they chose to be that way. So as Chris noted, “Nobody feels like they chose it. . . Yet show me the person who can say, ‘I’m like this because of the choices I made — that person is ready to make a change.” He also noted that those who can say, “I’m taking responsibility for my actions,” those are people he can help. Those are the ones he will coach all the way through the long, arduous process and transform them in to the person they really want to be.
Looking at some of the root causes of why people reach such unhealthy and undesirable body weights, Chris said that through his work he has found one common denominator: personal emotional trauma. He revealed, “Each one of them suffered some kind of severe emotional trauma in the past – and it’s relevant to each individual.” For some, they have been overweight all their lives, and for others, it has only been since the time of the trauma in their lives. But no matter whether the condition has been recent or life-long, Chris has found he can help them.
With a combined regime of nutrition, exercise and counseling, personal change is possible. In fact, Chris was the first to admit that counseling is an essential part of the process. He explained that for each contestant they have a local therapist that they work with and then there is a therapist that oversees the entire process as well. Because each person has struggle with their identity, their self-perception, it is just as important to focus on self-identity. They cannot see and accept this new identity in this process they are going through — and see everything from an outside perspective — if they continue to struggle with this identity of who they are and what they ultimately want out of the process — it just doesn’t happen. So each works closely with therapists — hand in hand — for without that the transformation truly would not be possible. As Chris said, “You can’t see weight loss without transformation.” Physical, emotional and mental. It is a multi-prong process and each area demands diligent attention and work.
Chris said that he was put on this path when a personal friend of his asked for his help in changing his life – and in one year he took 400 pounds off of him. Because the process was so fulfilling, it inspired Chris to bring this series to ABC who immediately wanted to be a part of it. So what became an initial intrigue with the theoretical possibility of: “How is it even possible?” became something more. Once Chris saw how much his friend wanted it and truly desired to change, he realized, “What a beautiful person. What an incredible man — and it was so fulfilling! Talk about emotion. Helping someone take their life back and start to experience things they have never been able to experience before – like riding a rollercoaster, buying clothes off the rack, fitting into one seat on an airplane – it’s awesome!” Thus, it has been very emotional to help these people.
The format of the show will allow viewers to see the transformations relatively quickly. There are 8 contestants and 8 episodes. Each one will show within one hour the transformation over the one year timespan. Chris is confident that viewers will be amazed.
You are invited to see for yourself these remarkable stories of transformation on EXTREME MAKEOVER: WEIGHT LOSS EDITION starting May 30th at 10:00 p.m. on ABC.
Tiffany Vogt is a contributing writer to TheTVAddict. She has a great love for television and firmly believes that entertainment is a world of wondrous adventures that deserves to be shared and explored – she invites you to join her. Please feel free to contact Tiffany at Tiffany_Vogt_2000@yahoo.com or follow her at on Twitter (@TVWatchtower).