In the first three episodes (of eight total to come in season one), highly likeable trainer Chris Powell (who is a Bob Harper-style trainer), worked to successfully transform three different "super obese" people--those who have more than 200 pounds to lose, Sounds like Biggest Loser, but how is it different?
Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Editiondoesn't have competition between participants, and takes a longer-term view. Each episode focuses on just one individual's weight loss journey over the course of a year.
Chris Powell starts each episode with a bootcamp and immersion in healthy lifestyle tactics for a week at a California health institute, and then moves in with the story subject for the first three months to make sure that healthy habits take hold. This explains why there are only eight episodes of the show, but it has already been picked up for a second season, where I imagine Chris will have to move in for a shorter period of time to make the show work--maybe more like a week like Jillian Michaels did in Losing' It With Jillian (which I wish had another season).
Over the course of the one-hour episode, there are three, 3-month phases, goals and non-food rewards for weight loss, and then the final portion of the show is the great reveal--where we see how the person looks after the full year and how much weight they've lost.
The show's strongest points are:
1. Chris Powell
He's motivational, caring and very obviously gets emotionally involved with his "transformations" as he calls them. It also doesn't hurt that he's easy on the eyes, and in great shape himself.
2. No Politics, No "Too Little Weight Loss"
Since each story is about an individual's weight loss journey, no one gets voted off over politics, and no one gets sent home because they lost weight, but just not enough compared to their peers that week. Which to me, was always the biggest weakness of Biggest Loser's competition element--how can you ever be a loser when you're succeeding at losing any amount of weight? Never was that point clearer than when two of Biggest Loser Season 11's favorites who really needed to be there as they had very large amounts of weight to lose--Courtney and Arthur--were voted off early.
3. They Don't Sidestep The "Where Does All The Skin Go?" Issue
From the very first episode, phase 3's reward for meeting the weight loss goal was skin removal surgery, because once the right level is achieved they can be candidates for it. The first two episodes--which featured Rachel and Alex, respectively, both shared how after losing a lot of weight, they were frustrated with all the hanging skin that was interfering with their workouts. Both hit their goals and were able to have the skin removal surgery, and the episodes included the doctor's office consultation and the hospital stay.
Hmm? How come The Biggest Loser doesn't mention this at all? Is it because they don't want to admit that their contestants have this surgery too, and it's not just diet and exercise alone that makes the contestants look great? According to the two, highly-qualified personal trainers I know, generally if someone goes beyond 100 pounds of weight to lose, the skin can't be tightened up through exercise alone--there's too much skin to snap back.
To me, it's no big deal if someone has skin removal surgery, and that was the final step in helping them look awesome after losing 100, 200 pounds or more. But I credit Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition for not sidestepping the issue, so that when someone who is super obese at home gets inspired to lose their weight, they'll know that while weight loss will improve their health and quality of life, there could be this issue,and it's normal.
4. The Emotional/Mental Aspects Of Weight Loss Get Emphasis
Like on The Biggest Loser, Chris Powell also takes time to address the mental and emotional issues that are behind why the person gained so much weight, so that they can deal with it, and never gain it back. Often, it has to be dealt with multiple times, when the participant isn't losing as much weight as they should be. In the third episode, Dana, in particular, had big emotional issues to deal with that even had him sneak eating while on Chris' training program.
So, Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition, gets high marks in my opinion, and is a nice complement to the weight loss reality genre along with The Biggest Loser. If you're overweight, or have ever been overweight and need to stay on track, to me they are required viewing for inspiration, motivation and the exercise and healthy eating tips you pick up along the way.
What do you think about Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition? Please comment on the blog below or on the NEW The Healthy Food Review Facebook Page (and give us a like while you're there please).
Please note that I do not have an affiliation with the show. The views expressed are my opinion only and you should decide, along with your healthcare professionals, on the appropriateness for your personal use.