10 Ways to Get Started Like an ‘Extreme Weight Loss’ Rock Star

Weight Loss / Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Reality weight loss shows know how to Get Things Started. I tend to start (and then re-start) in little ways that don’t quite stick – on tomorrows, Mondays, first of the months and first of the years. But shows like Extreme Weight Loss, where people work with Chris Powell to lose half of their body weight over the course of a year, kick things off in ways that cannot be denied. So let’s steal some of their ideas and get this thing properly ON: 


  1. Make a “Before” video. I’m going to grab my smartphone and record myself answering questions from the Extreme Weight Loss application, like, “What is the hardest thing about being overweight?” and “What would be the best thing about being fit?” And let’s add a special message congratulating ourselves in the future, because we’ve got this.
  2. Strip to your skivvies, and check yourself out. Full-length mirror. Front, back and sides. This is always one of the toughest parts to watch on the show, because everyone seems so vulnerable and ashamed, standing in their underwear on national TV. But think about that part in Aliens where Ripley climbs into the cargo-loader  with the huge robotic arms to fight the Alien queen. You are Ripley, and your body is the machine. Let’s agree that, no matter what’s going on now, we’re going to make these bodies do what we want, because we’re badasses.
  3. Know your numbers. While you’re still in your skivvies, step on the scale. Then take your measurements. You might realize, like I did, that you need a new bra. Knowledge is power.
  4. Put your motivation in your face. They say that if you know your why, you can tolerate any how – which is important, because the “how” of weight loss can really suck. So, what’s your motivation? On the show, Jacqui wanted to start a family, Mike wanted a girlfriend and Jonathan wanted to be able to play with his kids. Figure out what dream is exciting (or important) enough to get you out of bed and working out, even when it’s cozy and you’d rather play Candy Mania. Then find some images that represent your motivation, and put them everywhere – on your fridge, in front of the treadmill, next to your bed. I’m creating a Pinterest board dedicated to my motivation. That’s what the “secret” ones are for, right?
  5. Find your friends. (And know your haters.) Your friends in this are the people who will support you – without trying to talk you into ordering a pizza or skipping your workouts. So, Team You might include your friends and family members, your significant other, your doctor, co-workers, the people in your Zumba class or Weight Watchers meeting, or members of sites like SparkPeople or My Fitness Pal. Then again, it might not. You know who your haters are when it comes to losing weight. Watch out for them.
  6. Stock the fridge with healthy food. Out with the chocolate chips; in with the skinless chicken breasts, bell peppers and almonds. We are killing this.
  7. See yourself as an Athlete. Congratulations! From now on, you’re an athlete. Find something to train for, like a charity walk, a marathon, a long bike ride or hike, or a Tough Mudder. Go forth, and do as athletes do.
  8. Rearrange some furniture. When the show’s participants get home, they’re always surprised to see that their get-fat room has been transformed into with a home gym. (Don’t they watch this show?) So, now that we’re athletes and all, let’s look around our homes with our new Athlete Eyes and make some changes. I’m moving some furniture (to lessen the magnetic butt-pull of the couch), putting my workout gear in one place, and storing the dessert cookbooks. Laila Ali wouldn’t put up with that nonsense.
  9. Make your weight loss visual. I use the glass jars trick from the episode with Chantell. You take two big glass jars and mark one “Pounds to Lose” and the other “Pounds Destroyed.” Then you fill the first jar with marbles representing each pound you need to lose. Dropping those marbles into the Pounds Destroyed jar is so incredibly satisfying. Ker-PLONK.
  10. Treat yo self. Extreme Weight Loss is so good at setting up (and paying for) rewards that anyone would want: trips, tickets to big events, expensive hobby items, cars. But I’ll bet you’re a cheaper date than that. (I know I am.) So, decide how often you want to reward yourself –every 10 pounds, every 100 workouts, each time you hit a 25% goal – and do what fits your budget. Need something free? Take a day off work. Trade babysitting duties with a friend, and enjoy some time to yourself. Talk your husband into taking on one of your chores for a week. But buy him some dishwashing gloves now, because this is ON, you guys. For real.