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Fast Weight Loss: Secrets From Trainer Chris Powell

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

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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 an interview where he shared the weight-loss secrets used on the ABC 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 weight loss that lasts. (Of course, you should always check with your physician to see what would work best for you.)

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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.” here are 9 tricks for boosting your self-confidence.

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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.” Keep in mind that it’s possible to drink too much water. Here are the signs you are drinking too much water.

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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.” Learn more about what sugar does to your body.

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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!'”

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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. If you’re on the go, here are 100 snacks to keep you going.

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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.”

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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.”

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“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.”

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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.

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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.”

Medically reviewed by Elisabetta Politi, CDE, MPH, RD, on October 20, 2019

Perri O. Blumberg
A former food editor at Reader's Digest, Perri Blumberg is a writer and editor based in New York City. After attending Columbia University, where she received a BA in psychology, she went on to study food at a health-supportive culinary school. Her work has appeared in O Magazine, Men's Journal, Country Living, and on Mind, Body, Green, among others.