'Extreme Weight Loss' Premiered 10 Years Ago — Chris Powell Is Still Changing Lives (EXCLUSIVE)

'Extreme Weight Loss' debuted a decade ago on May 30, 2011. The ABC series changed the contestants' lives, and it also altered Chris Powell's life.

Shannon Raphael - Author

May 28 2021, Published 10:30 a.m. ET

Chris Powell
Source: Instagram

When Extreme Weight Loss (which was originally known as Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition) debuted on ABC in May of 2011, viewers were introduced to head trainer Chris Powell.

Each season, the fitness expert helped a set of contestants to lose weight and to alter their lifestyle habits over the course of one year. The series inspired countless others either to apply or to make changes on their own, and fans became invested in the contestants' journeys.

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While people got to see the participants evolve physically, mentally, and emotionally, Chris himself was forever affected by the success of the show.

Ten years after the series premiere, Chris Powell reflected on what the series meant to him, how he's forever bonded to the contestants he worked with, and whether he'd join a reboot.

Chris Powell
Source: Instagram
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Chris Powell discussed the legacy of the reality series, and whether he has any regrets.

Those who tuned in to Extreme Weight Loss each week during the show's five-year run saw a compressed version of each participant's journey. Chris shared that he filmed the show "365 days a year," and that they "never took a break."

As if that schedule wasn't intimidating enough, Chris became a dad in the same year that Season 1 debuted. He shares a son, Cash, and a daughter, Ruby, with his ex-wife, Heidi Powell (he was also a stepdad to her two children from a previous marriage).

Though the commitment was intense, the trainer said that fatherhood allowed him to be "more patient, compassionate, and understanding" of the participants. He mainly has positive memories of his time on the show.

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"Any time I reflect on the experience of Extreme Weight Loss, I have the most incredible memories..." he shared exclusively with Distractify. "The whole experience from beginning to end, with all the good and all the bad, was probably one of the greatest blessings in my entire life."

While Chris does have mostly happy recollections from the show, the Arizona resident does have some regrets about his past training methods.

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"I made a lot of mistakes in my life, even when it comes to my training. In all fairness, my intentions were always good; I always did preach what I actually thought was in their best interests," Chris explained. "My Season 1 and Season 2 people, I was so much more rigid on what I felt like they needed to do to get the results. In hindsight, I needed to allow them much more flexibility for long-term success."

Chris now recognizes that it's important to focus on behavioral change, habit adoption, and taking the "slow and steady" approach rather than cutting things out completely or being too restrictive.

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"Now, having a much better understanding of human behavior and long-term adherence to programming, that was a mistake," he said about his tactics in early seasons. "That's something that I look back on, and it makes my heart hurt."

The Extreme Weight Loss personality may be somewhat critical of himself, but it's evident that he's left an indelible mark on many of the contestants he worked with.

Chris Powell
Source: Instagram
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The trainer is still close with many of his 'Extreme Weight Loss' contestants.

Superfans of the hit ABC series will be happy to learn that the tight bonds that formed between Chris and his various contestants each season were, in fact, real.

He shared that he's actively in touch with about half of the 76 people he worked with, and that 10 of them have moved to Arizona. After he trained the participants, his role often shifted to that of a friend, a boss, or, in a few instances, a marriage officiant.

Season 5 participant Rachel Paul is the head of operations on Team Powell.

Chris became an ordained minister, and he presided over the ceremony between Season 4 alum Bruce Pitcher and his wife, Alexa Pitcher (who first saw her husband by watching the show).

Alexa and Bruce are now expecting their first child together.

He was also the minister for the wedding of Season 5 stars Cain and Tiffany Myers. Chris has recently been in touch with Jacqui McCoy and Wally Lang as well.

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The Choose to Lose author noted that the show really brought people together.

"What we went through and what connections people saw on the television were real," he explained. "We spent a year of our lives together. We shared some of the most incredible life-changing experiences together. Through that, you build really powerful bonds."

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What is Chris Powell doing now? He teased an 'Extreme Weight Loss' reboot.

Since Extreme Weight Loss wrapped in 2015, Chris has been keeping busy. In addition to training and being a dad, Chris founded the nonprofit Move One Million. The organization offers a free app that is aimed to help people get moving for just a few minutes each day.

He's also still hearing from fans and followers who want the show to come back. They may be in luck, as he teased exclusively to Distractify that there's a TV concept in the works.

"We're working on something right now that might be even bigger [than the show]. There's been something in the works for quite some time now. I'm really excited."

Chris said that the project would be far-reaching, and that people would be able to participate in it for free.

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Chris Powell
Source: Instagram

"One of the hardest parts of Extreme Weight Loss was the fact that we could only change 15 lives a year, when we literally got more than a million emails asking for help ... there's a new opportunity here where everybody can transform," he shared. "As the viewing audience transforms, certain superstars will emerge. I'm beyond thrilled about this. Stay tuned."

Though it's been a decade since the show first debuted, we may soon be seeing Chris Powell on the small screen again.

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