Obesity is a national epidemic. More than one-third of U.S. adults are obese and the number of states with an obesity prevalence of 30 percent or more increased to 12 states in 2012, according to the CDC. In 2008 alone, medical costs associated with obesity-related illnesses like heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer skyrocketed to $147 billion.
ABC's Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition aims to help people combat obesity by directly helping those who are fighting the uphill battle.
Chris Powell, a trainer and transformation specialist, guides each of the eight participants on Extreme Makeover through the process of transforming their bodies and strengthening their confidence.
Powell knows from personal experience the difficulties of struggling with body issues. At 14, he was the smallest kid in his school and no match for others on the football field. His parents encouraged him to start weightlifting and, in no time at all, he increased both his size and strength.
The human body is an amazing machine that we can transform naturally. I have devoted my being to developing innovative lifestyles and tools to enrich the lives of others, and each life changed has been a remarkable gift, he told ABC.
Powell has a degree in Exercise Science, concentrated in biomechanics and physiology, according to ABC. He first stepped onto the fitness scene with an unorthodox approach to weight loss. He caught the world's attention with the largest and fastest natural weight loss ever recorded, helping David Smith lose 401 pounds in just 26 months.
Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition showcases the lives of individuals who have turned to food for solace and pleasure.
After being allegedly being raped when she was 14, Jacqui turned to food for comfort. At 30, she weighed 355 pounds. Tony, who at 49, weighed 398 pounds, attributes his food addiction to his unstable family life throughout his childhood. He consistently overate as a means of coping.
Sometimes people hit rock bottom, and they are open and coachable, Powell told Zap2it. Sometimes we just come across someone who says, 'I am struggling, and I just don't like my life the way it is.'
So what weight loss tips does Powell offer? Not only to those on Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition, but also to everyone trying to live a healthier lifestyle?
Powell said people must be honest with themselves, let down their guards and be ready to accept major change if they hope to make a difference.
Here are his top weight loss tips, as told to Zap2It:
Confess. You need not confide in someone. Look in the mirror and state the problem. It has nothing to do with weight loss and everything to do with what is happening in your heart, Powell says.
Reassess. What was the commitment? If you're a working mom, exercising three hours a day is likely unattainable. Set reasonable goals.
Recommit. Humans fail. The most important step is starting again.
On his official website, Powell offers inspiration, tips and recipes for weight-loss success. His STAX Weight Loss and Nutrition System has been designed to transform the way individuals eat, with specific portions of proteins, vegetables and carbohydrates for ideal carb cycling. His best-selling book, Choose to Lose: The 7-Day Carb Cycle Solution provides easy workouts, diet guidance, recipes and insight into weight lose that can help you transform your body.
I believe that everyone has the right to live a happy and healthy life, says Powell.