Originally published on Examiner.com.
The reality TV show “Extreme Weight Loss” has survived several seasons. But for the first time since transformation specialist Chris Powell first guided an obese individual through a year of physicalweight loss and emotional turmoil, his wife Heidi took on the leadership role in changing the life of a widow whose husband committed suicide in an episode that aired Tuesday.
The episode highlighted post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and how it affects every aspect of life for those with the condition as well as those who love them. For Melissa, whose military husband Mike returned from Afghanistan with PTSD, life became a series of ongoing attempts to help him.
And when he committed suicide in 2009, Melissa found herself coping as a single mother with two sons. The youngest boy had PTSD as well, and Melissa discovered that food could comfort her and ease the pain that she hid for her children.
But at 301 pounds, Melissa knew that life had to change. She was endangering her health, and risking leaving her children without any parents. So she asked Chris and Heidi Powell for help.
They went beyond their usual approach: With Heidi in the lead, Melissa changed every aspect of both her life and the lives of her children. Also helping: Celebrity chef Rocco Dispirito, who lost 50 pounds himself with his “Pound a Day”diet.
The result: Melissa stepped on the scale at the finale weighing 159 pounds. And Chris, who had doubted her commitment initially, happily admitted he had been wrong while Heidi cheered.
What if you don’t qualify for “Extreme Weight Loss” but want the extra guidance that the Powell pounds-off pack provides? Investigate apps to track your fitness and diet, Chris told USA Today on Tuesday.
And he’s particularly passionate about CrossFit. “I’m a huge CrossFit fan. The app gives you a feed from all the CrossFit gyms in the area, and will tell you what the workouts are for the day” he said of Wodbox.
For his own clients, Chris uses MyFitnessPal to track exercise and food. He feels that the approach makes it a game.
“We learn through games better than anything. Thank goodness for the advancements in tech,” he commented.
But CrossFit definitely isn’t a game. And for those who hesitate to try it, the founder of the fitness program says it’s for everyone.
Greg Glassman, CEO and CrossFit’s founder, says: “The needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ by degree not kind.” Although CrossFit can challenge “the best athletes in the world, they can, and should be modified and scaled to benefit everyone from children to seniors,” added Russell Berger, CrossFit representative, in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.
“Everyone needs fitness, not just those who are already fit,” he added. And he concurs with Chris that diet is a critical part of it.
Chris recommends carb cycling. It’s designed to boost fat-burning by alternating periods of high carb intake followed by low carb consumption. And a major emphasis throughout: No fast food and no junk food.