What does it take to go from "I've failed at weight loss a million times" to "I've kept it off for years"? Chris and Heidi Powell, hosts of the popular TV show Extreme Weight Loss and authors of the new book, Extreme Transformation: Lifelong Weight Loss in 21 Days, say it comes down to a little moment and couple of guidelines.
Have Your Aha Moment
The first step to slimming down is to realize that being overweight isn't a food problem, the Powells say. It's a human problem, and fixing it is all about integrity.
"Integrity is doing what you say you're going to do when you say you're going to do it," Chris says. "And all of the people in our programs have an amazing ability to do this with other people. But how about with the single most important person who has the most significant impact on your quality of life? We tell participants that if they had that, they wouldn't be sitting in front of us. They would have lost weight the first time they promised themselves that 'the diet starts Monday.' Recognizing this fact is the aha moment that can change the rest of your life."
Do Something — But Not Much
To build your dignity and integrity, you need practice making and keeping pledges to yourself. The trick: Your first promise has to be one you can keep. "So it's not 'I'm going to wake up at 5 a.m. and go to the gym every day and never eat sugar again,'" Heidi says. "We start people with one small promise. One. We call it the power promise."
Keeping this vow gives you the confidence to build another one on top of it, and then another, and eventually your word becomes strong and powerful, Chris says. "You become a person who makes commitments to yourself and keeps them."
"Big changes aren't about fitting into a smaller pair of pants. They're about dignity, self-esteem, and integrity."
Start With the Foundation Five
But you could spend the next six months deciding what your power promise should be (aka procrastinating), which is why the Powells have their "peeps" begin with the following list. "They have to master their foundation five before they can even start with the eating and workout programs. But even with just these, we've seen them drop up to 50 pounds," Chris says. Pick one and start there:
- Drink an extra quart (4 cups) of water a day (on top of what you're drinking now).
- Eat breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up.
- Eat protein first at every meal.
- Reduce your sugar intake.
- Move for five minutes a day.
Go Off Track Every Once in a While
"If you don't mess up sometimes, either something is totally wrong with you, or you're lying," Heidi says. "That goes for Chris and me, too. But there are ways to get past this. The worst thing you can do is act like it never happened."
Instead, you need to confess (yep, admit to yourself, and ideally someone else, that it happened), reassess (figure out what went wrong), and recommit. ("Take that past and learn from it and start fresh," Chris says.)
Don't Be Surprised
So you were focusing on your integrity and your body shrank a few sizes? "That's what it's all about," Chris says. "Big changes aren't about fitting into a smaller pair of pants. They're about dignity, self-esteem, and integrity. Once you have those things, everything shifts. The challenge with what we do on TV is that what sticks with the viewers is that, say, someone lost 212 pounds. But if you ask the person on the scale, they'd say it's not about the 212 pounds. That number is nice, but the real change is that their chest is out and their chin is high and they believe in themselves again. That's what transformation is."
Learn more about Heidi and Chris Powell's approach in their new book, Extreme Transformation: Lifelong Weight Loss in 21 Days.