Fast Weight Loss: “Extreme Makeover” Secrets From Trainer Chris Powell

Chris Powell, host of the hit show "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition" and author of the book "Choose More, Lose More for Life" shared his tips for fast weight loss.

By Perri O. Blumberg
  • Loading

    How can you do it?

    "For anybody looking to transform, you have to implement small changes, and allow them to develop over time," trainer Chris Powell told us in a recent interview where he shared the fast weight-loss secrets used on the hit show, "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition." He continued, "If you try to overhaul your life completely all at once, you fail. Everybody wants those really quick changes, but you're not going to get that if you vow to do an hour of cardio everyday—and then beat yourself up for not sticking to it." So what will help you get there? Here are Powell's tips for fast weight loss that lasts. (Of course, you should always check with your physician to see what would work best for you.)

    1. Start everyday with a promise to yourself.

    Write it down in a notebook, or recite it in front of the mirror in the morning. "On the show, we start each day with the promise to move for five minutes. It doesn't matter what you do; start with marching in place while watching TV," said Powell. "It's not about the exercise, it's about the promise. If you can keep that, you can accomplish whatever comes your way. Your love for yourself and confidence grows, and the more that blossoms, the more promises you keep. This cycle lifts you into an upward spiral."


    2. Drink an extra quart of water every day.

    "You don't see it on the show, but our contestants drink a lot of water. It's the first thing I have every contestant do," explained Powell. "After you've got that [quart] down, shoot for a gallon of water a day. All of these little changes will piggyback on one another and kick off your transformation."

    3. Remove sugar from just one meal a day.

    "When trying to transform, you don't have to take quantum leaps," said Powell, "but vow to take [added] sugar out of just one meal."

    4. Stop drinking soda, always eat breakfast, and find time to move every day.

    They sound like small changes, but they also add up. "There's a reason I take a year to do these monster transformations," said Powell. "Everybody's looking for that instant gratification, but the human body needs time to adapt. That's why it's so important that we focus on attainable little changes that we can maintain. And once you step on the scale after a month, you see progress and think 'Oh my gosh! There's nothing I can't do!'"

    5. Don't eat anything with partially hydrogenated oils listed on the ingredient list. Ever.

    "They've got no redeeming nutritional value, and seeing it on a food label is a red flag you should avoid it completely. All they do is clog our arteries!" exclaimed Powell. Other ingredients Powell looks for: high fructose corn syrup and MSG.

    6. Control your portions.

    Here's how to do it without even trying, according to Powell: "In place of monster meals three times a day, I recommend eating every three hours. It's automatic portion control, because the volume of your meals goes down significantly. You keep blood sugar stabilized and curb cravings." To stay satiated, Powell reaches for choices like almonds (about 23 is one serving), a banana and a piece of string cheese, or a quick protein shake.

    7. Honor your word more than your excuses.

    "Body transformation is all emotional," explains Powell. "In the vetting process [for the show], we'll spend a week with folks before deciding [who should be on]. We seek out those who hold themselves accountable for all of their decisions—people who aren't victims." That mindset is important to reach positive end results, Powell said. "Instead of doing what we said we were going to do, we tend to tell you all the reasons we couldn't. Individuals become victims to those reasons, and they waste so much energy justifying why they couldn't stick to their goals that they lose focus."

    8. Recognize when you slip up.

    "When we're casting, people think we won't pick them if they fall off the wagon. But I'm always looking for the people that come to me saying 'Chris, I binged last night and I'm out of control,' because those are the people who take ownership of their actions," revealed Powell. "This shows they are ready for help because they have the courage to reach out for it. That's my winner, that's the person that can transform."

    Andrew Hobbs/Thinkstock

    9. "Fall without failing."

    "There's going to be a time when you fall back on old, unhealthy patterns. When that happens, reach out to the people with whom you united," Powell said. "And just as we do on the show, take these steps: One, confess to unload your emotional weight. Two, reassess our commitment: Why did I break my promises? Were my goals truly attainable? And three, recommit to your goals. It doesn't matter if you've adjusted them or not from step two, just as long as you can truly obtain them."

    10. Find support around you.

    "Look for people with a shared vision and common goal, whether that's in a local support group or online," Powell advised. Countless studies have linked the support of friends and family to increased weight loss success; and connecting with others helps you feel more accountable for your actions.

    Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock

    11. Get a picture frame.

    "Inside it, put a picture of what you are doing this for, whether it's for your spouse, children or dream body," said Powell. "Having a picture of what you're working towards gives you a constant positive reminder."


    Want to stay smart and healthy?

    Get our weekly Health Reads newsletter

    Sending Message
    how we use your e-mail

    Your Comments

    • danielle petchell

      hey chris my bus diver lynnie need your help because she say that she is fat it would be mean so much to her. me and a another firend been want her to loss wight because so can you help her please it would mean so much to me if you did she been want to lose wigh for ever. she is my favorite bus diver

    • Morris Beckham

      It is important to always have at your disposal workouts that you can use to burn fat, change things up, and just have something different to have fun with. As a trainer that works with tons of women to lose body fat, I always recommend that you never do the same workout for more than four weeks.

    • Breezy

      I appreciate all the work you do for obese people. My son needs you so bad. I am so afraid for him. He is so young and has 2 children to raise. He has diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, swollen feet, numbness in his feet. He weighs 400 lbs. is there anything you can do?

    • Jennifer from Texas

      Love your show Chris. I get emotional when I see How people can change their life for the better. I have been wanting to do this for a long time. I have a thyroid condition which now I have no thyroid. I do take medicine which I thought would give me a little more energy but the way I eat it’s not going that way. In the past I have stopped drinking soda and eating candy or little Debbie snacks. I don’t have to have them. It’s really hard working 12 hour shifts and picking up extra shifts just trying to stay ahead and Then putting exercise in the picture is really hard. It’s expensive to eat right and make sure you have the right amount of food in your house. Being a single mother and working and just trying to find the time and energy is tough. I know What I need to do I just need the motivation to do it. Thanks again for a wonderful and inspirational show. Keep doing What you do. Love it.

    • Georgina S.

      God Bless Chris, You Are A Blessing To So Many, My Daughter Mercedes Had Her First Child, Didn’t Take The Time To Lose The Baby Fat, She Really Didn’t Know How To Keep It Off First Child Didn’t Know It Would Be So Bad, Working She Rarely Have Time To Sit Being A Single Parent, I’am Concern About Her Heath She’s Having Problem’s Now Walking Up & Down The Stairs The Cartiage In Her Legs Are Failing Her & It’s Interfering With Her Job, She Stands Up All Day She Works In A Nursing Home, Her Doctor Stated That The Top Of Her Body Since It’s The Heavyest Is Putting Lots Of Pressure On Her Legs, Can You Please Help My Only Daughter, She’s 24 Sincerely Worry Parent Georgina S.

    • Pat Ty

      Hi Chris, my name is Silvia and if you’re actually reading this (and i hope you do), i just want to say that i admire your devotion and commitment to helping people lose weight. Chances are, I’ll never get the opportunity to meet you,but i just want you to know that you have inspired me to make my own transformation. I took it upon myself to devote an entire room of my house and turned it into my own personal gym. I’ve been researching how to incorporate healthy eating habits and I’ve also begun my own video diary. Im excited to begin my journey and i have you to thank for being my personal motivater. I currently weigh 225lbs but by this time next year, I promised myself that i will weigh 140. Im confident that i will be successful and i have you to thank for it. Thank you again for being an inspiration to all of us, as i know im not alone on this journey.

      • Dianne

        Hey Pat. How are you doing? It’s been 6 months since you wrote. Are you anywhere near your goal or did you give up? Your message gave me inspiration and now I’m curious

        • Dianne

          Sorry, Sylvia. I wrote Hey Pat and meant to write Hey Sylvia

    • Carlos

      Chris Powell this is theresa borrego my husband really needs to loose weight or he will died he has almost died twice he stop breathing in his sleep and been in the hospital twice with a tube down his thoug Please I don’t want to loose him he really needs to loose weight really bad and I don’t know what to do I do no i don’t want to loose him I LOVE HIM SO MUCH I need him can you help please

    • tabatha wright

      Hi chris powell my name is tabatha wright I need your help loseing this weight bad can u come to chicago illinois please I love your show

    • simplerezta

      i find it hard doing this because i cant neglect my appetite ..
      what am i supposed to do??? :(

    • Jerome

      Thank you Chris Powell for these tips.