Extreme Weight Loss embarks on Season 4 tonight, May 27 — airing at 8 p.m. ET on ABC — and as (married) stars Heidi and Chris Powell tell Wetpaint Entertainment, the participants' journeys are fraught with self-doubt and setbacks — so much so that two subjects didn't even make it to the finish line.
Chris and Heidi tell us what happened with those two, and how they keep others on the path to fitness by cutting through the excuses.
Wetpaint Entertainment: We've heard that one participant quits and one is kicked off this season. What can you tell us about what happened?
Heidi Powell: Oh, gosh. What happened? It all boils down to, you have to really want this for the right reasons when you embark upon the journey. It's hard. I think so many people have this idea that … Chris and I come in and it's like magic pixie dust being sprinkled over them and they lose weight in a year. No, this is a really, really hard year. Like, the hardest year of these people's lives. And a month in, we really start to weed out who's in this for the right reason and who wants this bad enough to put every single excuse and reason aside, and there were a couple of them who just didn't. And one person in particular quit … and one person we actually kicked off the show.
We work with food addicts. People get to a certain place because they're addicted to food, and some of them are really good at lying, and we help them break down those lies and realize that it's OK to be imperfect along the way. You don't have to lie about it. The best thing you can do for yourself is be honest and be authentic and open and true. [The participant who quit] just could not get that [and] had a really tough time sifting through their own lies … It could to a point where we realized we were wasting our time and wasting our breath and this is time and energy that we knew was better spent somewhere else, on someone who appreciated this opportunity and was ready to make those changes in their life.
And just to clarify, these two people who did finish their transformations, they both know — whether they want to admit it or not — we're there for them if they ever want to change. In fact, we've gone back. Both of them had at least two or three opportunities to begin their journey again.
With a lot of prior contestants, a lot of people have had really desperate times in their transformation and times when they wanted to quit. How do you determine whether they just need a little bit more pushing or if they're just not ready at this time in their lives?
HP: For me, and Chris might have a different answer, but when they think they can't do something, that to me doesn't mean that they're ready to quit. That just means that they don't believe in themselves, and that's what they encounter most of the time. They feel like they're not strong enough. And that for us is easy. It's easy for us to say, "No. You need to stick to this. Let us show you how strong you are. I know this hurts. I know you want to quit. I know that this is tough."
The people that we know are ready to quit or we just don't want to waste time on, typically there's a huge sense of ingratitude, as well, and unappreciative-ness and just entitlement. It's not so much they're scared of the process. It's like, they feel like they deserve everything that comes along with the process but don't want to put any of the work in.
Chris Powell: I agree with Heidi wholeheartedly … It's usually fear that controls a lot of these individuals and their decision-making process. But that's not something that we will turn away from someone for. We will push them through it. That's what we do as coaches. So that kind of excites us. When you see someone scared of something, it excites us because we see opportunity for a breakthrough. And without a doubt, ten times out of ten, when that breakthrough occurs, it's powerful and it's lifechanging. The one thing that we also look for in individuals that truly aren't ready is — the word we use is, they are "inauthentic." It's typically individuals that, they will lie and cover up and lie and cover up. Especially because we work with food addicts, it is something that many of them aren't used to. And so, they're constantly protecting their addiction, but for the most part, when people really want to change, they're coachable.
HP: They're covering up, making their journey or their transformation seem like perfect so they can get all the benefits of it without having to do the work … The ones that want to quit, they typically just feel unworthy of themselves and this opportunity and the journey. And they feel like they're the only one or the weakest one. So it's just us training their brains over and over and over to think otherwise.
Extreme Weight Loss Season 4 premieres tonight, May 27, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.