Powell Q&A: What Do We Look for in Show Contestants?

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I cannot believe that after a year of hard work (or FIVE years, to be exact), many months of anticipation, and a heckuva lot of blood, sweat, and tears, season 5 of Extreme Weight Loss is officially a wrap. Ohhh man…this surely is bittersweet for me. So many incredible friends made and lives changed, and while it took a LOT out of Chris’ and my personal life to spend so much time with these wonderful peeps, I wouldn’t change it for anything.

With this season now in the bag, naturally I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting, not only on this last year, but on the past years/seasons as well. Chris and I both feel incredibly blessed, I must say. We got front row seats to some of the most incredible transformations I’ve ever seen, and are absolutely honored we got to be a part of each and every one of them. I am so proud of our peeps’ individual journeys, as well as all of the hard work and sacrifice they put into making their transformations of a lifetime—each with a unique story and background that makes their stories of triumph that much more inspirational.

A question we are often asked is, “How do you choose your contestants for Extreme Weight Loss?” This may be one of our most frequently asked show-related questions, so Chris and I decided it’s time to dish on just what goes into the “I Choose You!” process. Check out the video below!!

For more videos like this, as well as more fun Powell Pack vids, subscribe to my YouTube channel here!

Do you have a question about the show you would like to see answered? Leave it in the comments below!

Xoxo,

Heidi


41 Comments

  1. Janie Hudson - January 2, 2017

    Hello Mr and Ms Powell,
    I have been up all nite watching your show. It is truly Amazing how you both inspire people to reach there full potential physically. I adore you. I always wish it was me loosing that wieght.😶😶
    I have been told by all my Dr’s that I am obsessed. I have been in denial for so long. I allowed myself to go down because I became so depressed after my marriage broke up. I just isolate,don’t answer my cell. Just sleepall day then eat at nite, now eat now read till my eyes get tired As well among other things. Now I live alone and I find it very differcult to go outside anymore. My cloths don’t fit.
    Everything is to tight. Only eat once a day about 5.00 pm when I get out of bed. 1Then at nite I’m so depressed I just snack on whatever. I’m so depressed I don’t go outside unless it’s absolutely necessary. I use to be a size ,10,then 14 ,then 16 then,18,,20,now 26 28. I can’t even take a bath with getting exhausted. I walk different, I toss and turn in my sleep all nite because of the weight I can’t even walk to put out the garbage without taking a break ,before I go back. My sisters tell me I snore so loud they don’t spend the nite anymore,because they can’t sleep for my loud snoring. As well they say at times I stop receiving breathing and the wake me up. They want me to take sleep test. They are afraid I might not wake up. I am so embarrassed ,I used to go visit my family however they are constantly reminding me of my weight gaining. I use to love to dress,but now I can’t even wear Hills anymore. I miss being dressed up now pretty. I took the full body mirror down. I look horrible. I feel terrible because I allowed myself to go downafter my husband left for a girl the same age as our daughter, that he meet on the enternet. I feel so ugly,betrayed,unloved, alone, so feel like a big blob. The last time I saw my Dr’s they said If I don’t loose weight I will have serious health issues. I’m àlwaye reminded of my obesity. The last time I weighed myself was at PubliX grocery store in June. The people waiting made negative comments that just made me feel worse. My wieight at that time ever was 365 . I never been this heavy in my life. I have lost all my self esteem.
    Before the break up I was getting dental work done. Since then I Never went back to the Dentist now I look HORRIBLE ALL OVER. I LOST MY DESIRE TO SMILE BECAUSE I LET MY
    SELF GO DOWN. IT’S SO DEPRESSING TO OVERWEIGHT,AND UGLY SMILE. I CRY SO MUCH. I ALSO PRAY IN TEARS FOR HELP!!!!

    PLEASE REPLY OR RESPOND..
    PS……
    I KNOW YOU HAVE YOUR HANDS FULL,WITH SO MANY PROJECTS AND PEOPLE CALLING,MOST OF ALL YOUR KIDS. WHICH IMUST SAY YOU ALL ARE A BEAUTIFUL FAMILY. I MISSED
    THAT.
    I SOMEHOW FOUND IT EASIER TO POUR SOME OF MY HEART OUT TO YOU,BECAUSE NOBODY ELSE WANTS TO HEAR IT ,NEITHER DO THEY UNDERSTAND,HOW THIS WEIGHT AFFECTS ME. I just feel better talking to you. I never discuss my feelings with anyone. I never see anyone anyway.
    I FEEL I HAVE GAINED MORE WEIGHT SINCE JUNE,. MY ENERGY LEVEL IS SO LOW. I CAN’T SAND up long enough to even cook,because the weight has put so much pressure on my back, it is so very Painful.
    Even when I’m invited to anything I don’t go. Everyone looking at my crooked teeth missing teeth,my smile is so ugly, I don’t dare take pictures anymore. Or remin ding me of how much weight I gain. I don’t look like myself anymore. I’m writing you with tears in my eyes because for the first time I have been able to vent and admit I am obsessed…….

    • Team Powell - January 2, 2017

      Hi Janie: Thank you for sharing your story with us, and I’m so sorry you’re having such a difficult time. Here’s a post that outlines Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program, and it’s the same program the use on the show: http://heidipowell.net/9060. And be sure and follow all the links within the post too – the lead to very helpful information for you as you begin your transformation journey. Pay special attention to the part about promises also. And please discuss this, or any nutrition and exercise program, with your healthcare team first and then follow any modifications they might recommend. Make and keep one promise at a time, and you can achieve your goal! We believe in you!

  2. Deborah Adams - February 1, 2016

    I have to say.. I’ve started watching your show and it is so inspiring.. I want to start my journey again.. by again.. well you know the story.. weight loss attempts over and over. A Dad who tried to make me eat spinach when I was young ((LOL)) that didn’t work out haha.. However.. I got somewhat serious years ago and had a stomach stapling.. that failed.. then due to problems I had a stomach bypass.. which fixed the problems.. however I managed to sabotage myself and of course I’m now still at a unhappy 290 lbs. Anyway your shows have shown me I need to address the issues inside as well and I’m fixing to get started trying this again. Hopefully with more resolve as things are changing in my life and I need to get healthier. God Bless you all for showing these shows.. it truly helps us all!

    • Team Powell - February 1, 2016

      Hi Deborah: Thank you for your post! It sounds like you’re on the right track this time – you got this! 😊

  3. James - September 30, 2015

    So my gf and I have been dating for 3 years now. I am going to propose to her in December. I am in the military (Air Force) stationed in Vegas been in 8 years and very fit and healthy. My gf Katie is a little over weight and I’ve talk to her going to the gym and eating healthier. She even said to me a couple months ago she would get s trainer in October. Well 2 months have gone by and she’s been eating somewhat better and she is going to the gym. Problem is she’s not pushing herself in the gym. She is staying comfortable and mediocre about it. I feel like she is scared about her heart rate going up. Ian supporting her and being motivational to her. Last night I brought up the fact about paying for a trainer and she said she will when she feels ready and comfortable. The problem is I had a goal in mind that she would do a 5k with me in December. How can I convince her to get a trainer now and go hard-core. I love her for who she is but I just want her to live a more health lifestyle. Please help me. Thanks

    • Team Powell - September 30, 2015

      Hi James: While we so badly want those we love to be healthy, it really is up to them to make that choice for themselves. Keep encouraging her in kind and loving ways, and she’ll choose to make these healthy changes when she’s ready. And when she does things under her own choice, those changes have a much higher chance of sticking long run. Hope that helps!

  4. Kris - September 25, 2015

    Hello, I’m sure this will get lost in the muddle, but am writing more for my own accountability than anything. 🙂 if I don’t write it down, I won’t commit. 🙂 I have a handsome, one in a million husband who fell in love with me almost 25 years ago 40 pounds overweight. I have 3 truly wonderful children and have been a teacher for 25 years. I’m surrounded by wonderful in-laws and parents. I do know what my “issue” is pertaining to my weight gain and one day want to be able to share with the world that I have overcome my food trigger. I do have lots of health problems… An A1c as high as 11.5 and triglycerides as high at one point of 450. After 3 years of symptoms, I had one of my parathyroid removed last December. The tumor was 10 times the size of the gland. I am
    thankful for the changes in my life immediately following the surgery. I am on the road to improvement in the other areas as well. But recently I was driving with my daughter and telling her how all my grandparents had passed by the time I was 10. I am 46 now and at that moment, my mortality sunk in of things don’t change. I am taking the first step… Putting it in writing to you. If I write I will do it. 🙂 I have a dear friend who had a song on the radio once about starting over. It’s going to be my theme song and he has actually challenged me to run Central Park with him in the spring. How incredible it would be to be able to make a video of that moment with that song and share it with the world. 🙂 I don’t know if anyone will see this and certainly don’t expect a reply. But as soon as I finish, it’s game on! Only 63 pounds to go! So keep up the inspiring work… It’s such an encouragement. Here we go……..

    • Team Powell - September 26, 2015

      Hi Kris: Thank you so much for your comment! And congratulations on choosing to begin your transformation journey – you got this! 🙂

  5. Trina Miller - September 20, 2015

    Amazing,Life Changing! The most kind,compassionate,giving,selfless people I have ever met is You; Chris & Heidi Powell. Holland Weathers, Ian,Ashley,Dax,Lauren,and how can I forget Matt Assmus,and Jason Kemp! So many others in production & filming that make everything come together in the end! I will never go a day without thanking the Lord for what you,Chris and Heidi have done for me! I tell everyone I meet that asks,because it’s the one question I’m always asked, Are Chris and Heidi really that amazing? Yes Yes And Yes! You are so much more, both of you! For me, you came into my life, taught me how to love myself enough to care about me, care about my health! You taught me how to work through all the emotions that caused me to keep turning to food. You taught me what a real workout was; about HIIT, and hitting that wall! I think of my time filming the show and I believe every aspect brought me the strength I needed to keep me working out and eating healthy to this day! I am thankful that I can travel to Arizona to hike your beautiful mountains and you welcome me like family💕 love love love you guys! Thank you for giving me my life! I now go on to pay it forward and inspire others to find Life Changing Weighs!

  6. Katie - September 15, 2015

    Hi, Heidi (also team Powell 😜.)
    I’ve read all the comments from team Powell saying y’all are unable to train anyone/take on a client at this time.
    I’ve checked the website and casting is closed.
    I desperately want to nominate my boyfriend Matt for your show. He deserves the very best after everything he has been through.
    Growing up, he had a mother who was addicted to drugs and a father who was abusive and in and out of the picture his whole childhood. the only reason he never gained weight back then was because they didn’t always have food and on top of that, he was an amazing athlete, playing football, running track, and winning 2 state championships in basketball. I met him the summer between his 2nd and 3rd year in college. We soon fell in love, and he also fell in love with my daughter. Her real father has never been in the picture so Matt is her daddy. We soon moved in together and everything seemed to be going amazingly. Then we noticed some strange things about his sister. She lost about 125 pounds in 6 months and was never around. We discovered soon after that she was using meth even though she has two beautiful daughters, aged 10&12. Since they came from a broken family, Matt and I were the only family members willing to help in any way. We took in the girls until their mother could clean up her act even though they were half our age (We were 21&22 when we first brought the girls home) and even though he was still trying to finish his senior year of college. We actually just got official custody of the girls yesterday as their mother has not shown any interest in wanting to get them back or even seeing them.
    Matthew has had a lot of stress especially in the past couple years, and despite that, he was still willing to be father to my child and father figure to our nieces in their hour of need. He has gained a lot of weight, and continues to binge eat even though he wants to lose weight. He will come to the gym with me sometimes, but not at a rate that would help him lose weight or gain muscle. He wants it, as you said in this video-everyone wants to lose weight. I’ve recorded and binge watched (the only good kind of binge😜) this entire last season and it wasn’t until after I finished it that I thought “Matt really deserves Chris and Heidi.” He is an incredibly hard worker, busting his butt at two jobs to help support a house of five at the age of twenty three. I’m willing to do just about anything to get Chris and Heidi look at his story. A few years ago I lost 50 pounds, and I know first hand how much better you feel when you’re eating healthy and at your peak of strength and I want that more than anything for him. Please let me know what I can do for you to see his story. I want everything for him. I love him so much and I know if Heidi and Chris got to know him, they would too.
    Thank you so much for your time, I know I got a little wordy. ❤️ 🙂

    • Team Powell - September 16, 2015

      Hi Katie: Thank you for sharing Matt’s story with us. You guys have definitely been through a lot, and it’s so inspiring that you have taken in his nieces – they are lucky girls! As you mentioned, casting is currently closed, and ABC handles all initial applications. But Matt can begin his transformation today with the same program Chris and Heidi use on the show – carb cycling – and he can learn about the program basics here: http://heidipowell.net/9060. Their program will outline everything he needs to know and do to achieve his own transformation – he can do this!

  7. pam - September 14, 2015

    Being a Grandma of 4 & one more on the way….i’ve been over weight ALL of my adult life. I would love to get trained by a professional that can try to reprogram me/if it’s still possible. I i looked into Anschutz Health & Wellness center OR something closer to my homestate of MI….but, I didn’t find anything that would m0be covered by heath insurance.

  8. Kimmie - September 14, 2015

    I bought both of your books and let them collect dust for a long time 🙁 Been a bad couple of years….BUT, I have dusted them off and as of tomorrow, it has been 5 weeks on the carb cycling program and down 14 LBS. I am sooooo proud of myself. I don’t have a lot of people that I go to keep me on track or route me on; but that is even more of a reason I am so proud of myself. I just feel connected to this book along with you and your family. POSITIVENESS WORKS! Thank you so much for all you do. I do have a question. My work-outs consist of walking / light jogging everyday (except Sunday) and I always get in 10,000 steps per day. Sometimes I get very hungry between meals. The more I work out, should I change my calorie? I keep my meals between 250-300 calories (1250-1500).

    • Team Powell - September 15, 2015

      Hi Kimmie: Congratulations on those 14 pounds gone – that’s so exciting! The program is designed to take into account your calories burned through exercise, so you don’t want to up your calorie consumption. If you do get hungry in between meals, make sure you’re drinking all your water (sometimes thrist is masked as hunger pains), and here’s a post that might help too: http://heidipowell.net/9285/tip-of-the-day-curb-those-cravings/. And remember, you can change cycles at any time, so that might help too. Hope that helps!

  9. Katie - September 14, 2015

    I don’t suppose you would consider doing a season in Australia. It’s an awesome place, you’d love it.

  10. Erin - September 13, 2015

    Where can I get their Bode burn drinks now?

  11. Rhonda Roush - September 13, 2015

    Hi Heidi. First I want to say I love your inspiration you have given me to want to get healthy.
    I have a question. I was one of the dumb ones that had stomach surgery last November. What happens with this is they make your tummy smaller but they don’t fix your head. I am just now realizing I’m so addicted to food. I have no clue how to stop. It’s to the point I wake up 3-10 times every night and can’t get back to sleep until I eat. I feel so lost and can’t get on track. I have a life story that I could make millions if I wrote a book on my life but I can’t change what’s happened so I need to learn how to start with my addiction. I have my workouts in daily it’s just my food. I have gained 11 pounds in a week. How does one change this addiction?

    • Team Powell - September 13, 2015

      Hi Rhonda: Since you said you need some help with the nutrition side of things, you might be interested in the nutrition part of Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program, and you can learn about the basics here: http://heidipowell.net/2713. And with your recent surgery, please discuss their program with your healthcare team first, and then follow any modifications they recommend. And here’s another thing that might help, it’s Chris and Heidi’s #1 transformation tool, and you can learn all about it here: http://heidipowell.net/8679. Give it a try – it’s the first thing they do with every person they work with. You can do this!

  12. Tina - September 13, 2015

    Hello I faithfully watch your show every season it’s amazing to see how you touch these powerless live. Having said that I have a question I was told by my Dr I have to lose weight to stay alive and have any quality of life, I have tried all kinds of diets, diet pills, and I go to the gym. But I seriously need some help I lost 100 pounds the first year bit have stayed at that weight ever since. …still needing to lose 200 pounds. I’m really worried and not sure where to go from here. It’s hard to say but I need help. I’m on a very tight budget and have not been able to buy your book.i don’t want to lose my life over lack of knowledge to do this. I know you can’t take on every person I just need some help of some kind. ..please

    • Tina - September 13, 2015

      People’s lives not powerless my phone has a mind of its own sorry

    • Team Powell - September 13, 2015

      Hi Tina: Congratulations on losing 100 pounds already – that is awesome! You might be able to find Chris and Heidi’s book, “Choose More, Lose More for Life,” at your local library, and you can find the basics of their program in this post: http://heidipowell.net/9060. Be sure to follow all of the links, and their program will teach you everything you need to know and do to finish your transformation journey. You can do this!

  13. Kimberly - September 12, 2015

    About 2 yrs ago I started Choose More. I was committed & lost 30lbs. I felt great & really thought I was on my way. Then for whatever reason, I “fell off the band wagon.” I’ve still kept most the weight off, but I can’t get motivated to start again. Sometimes the struggles of life are too much. I don’t need to be on your show – though I absolutely love it – but I would love the opportunity to work with you. I need someone to believe in me because I don’t have that in my life right now & I can’t find it in myself to believe in me anymore either.

    • Team Powell - September 12, 2015

      Hi Kimberly: While Heidi would love to work with everyone who needs her help, she’s not able to take on clients right now. I do hope you understand. But you can do this – you’ve lost 30 pounds before on carb cycling, which is awesome! Your first step to get back on that band wagon is to make and keep that first small, simple promise to yourself. Here’s a post with all the promise process information to get you started: http://heidipowell.net/8679. If it will help, report back and let me know how you did with your promise. You can do this – we believe in you!

  14. Leslie - September 12, 2015

    I was wondering. If you would take on someone who has very little money. I am a single mom of 4. I survive off of goverment assistance. After leaving an abusive marriage i cant seem to figure out healthy affordable and fast meals. I live in phoenix too. Feeling frustrated i just dont know how to even start. Thanks for what you do.

    • Team Powell - September 12, 2015

      Hi Leslie: While Heidi wishes she could personally work with everyone who needs her help, she’s not able to take on clients right now. Because of this, she and Chris have made their carb cycling program – the same program they use on EWL – available for all of us to use to achieve our transformation goals. You can learn about the basics of carb cycling here: http://heidipowell.net/9060. Their program will teach you everything you need to know and do to achieve your goals, including lots of awesome recipes. You can do this!

  15. Pat - September 12, 2015

    I so love your show. It brings tears to my eyes every week! I hate it when the season ends and forward to it each year. Keep up the good work. We need more angels like you

  16. Lindsey Redding - September 12, 2015

    Hi Heidi and Chris!

    Just wanted to start off saying thank you for all you guys do. You are both truly inspiring and the people you help are also very inspiring.
    My little sister and I are wanting to do this together. Combined there would be like 250-300lbs needing to be lost. Would there ever be a chance for us to do the show together? And when could we audition?

    Thank you so much.

  17. Lindsey Redding - September 12, 2015

    Hello,

    I have been obsessed with the show for so long now. It inspires me every time I watch it. Thank you for all you both do!
    I was curious, will there be other chances to participate in the show? Like will there be another chance to audition soon?

    Thank you!

  18. Roxanne - September 12, 2015

    I love your show. It is so inspiring to see the people you work with fully transform their lives. I know the folks you select are very special and lucky but what I’d like to know is if you have something to share with us people at home. A step by step plan that I can follow. I have about 50 pounds to lose…please advise and HELP!!! My struggle is life…working and trying take time for me!!!

    • Team Powell - September 12, 2015

      Hi Roxanne: Yes! Chris and Heidi have put their entire carb cycling program (the same program they use on EWL) in their book, “Choose More, Lose More for Life,” and you can learn about all the basics here: http://heidipowell.net/9060. You can totally do this!

  19. Yvonne Oranday - September 12, 2015

    Hi Chris and Heidi, I’m big fans if your show and watch it to gain inspiration. I would love to try to be a client on your show but my question to you is how can you help a person that has alot going on in their home and I say that because I have a 30 year old daughter that is special needs and needs me home. I would like to get healthy and lose weight in order to help her also. She’s small in stature about. 5’1″ and 170 lbs. I want to help her get healthy also. I have diabetes, have had thyroid issues, blood pressure issues too. I don’t want her to struggle with that too. Can you please give me some ideas? Unless I can take her with me and we do a mother and daughter show? That would be neat and different. Thanks for your inspirational shows.

    • Team Powell - September 12, 2015

      Hi Yvonne: You can begin your own transformation journey today with the same program Chris and Heidi use on the show, and you can find out about the basics of their carb cycling program here: http://heidipowell.net/9060. And please discuss this program with your healthcare team first, and then follow any modifications they might recommend. You can do this, and you can teach and help your daughter along the way too!

  20. Tammi - September 12, 2015

    Where do you go to sign up or addition to be chosen?

  21. Brittney - September 12, 2015

    It has been amazing to see each of these transformations. I am struggling through my own transformation but any time I need a motivation boost I turn on the show! I own my pitfalls recommit to the process and move forward. I appreciate all of these people being courageous enough to share their life with the world. Here’s to smart choices and accountability each step of the way! My question is can you offer any advice to someone who feels like they don’t have a good support system to go through this? I remember Kelli feeling the same way but I’m not sure I have the same results as her… P.S. Hannah’s Chis and Heidi impressions are hilarious and great!

    • Team Powell - September 12, 2015

      Hi Brittney: A good support system an be an awesome transformation tool, and if you don’t have one right now, talk to co-workers, friends, family, and/or anyone who would also like to embark on a transformation journey, and since you’ve already begun your journey, you can lead the way for them! And remember, you can be your own #1 cheerleader too. You can do this!

  22. Brie - September 12, 2015

    Good morning, Heidi!! You and Chris are such an inspiration to so many. I have struggled with my weight since I was a victim of incest at age 8. I have always turned to food for comfort. After watching your show and following you on FB, I was able to lose 100lbs. Shortly after, I got pregnant with my third child and gained nearly 70lbs back. My son is 9 mos old and I am struggling to lose the remaining 50lbs. I enjoy working out while watching Extreme Weight Loss on Hulu and wanted you to know how much you have inspired me to be healthier. I live just east of Boulder, Co and when I see you and Chris at CU, I want to run up there to give you a giant hug! I’m also trying to get help for my husband. He has been obese since middle school, was a successful heavy weight wrestler in high school and currently takes about 150,000 steps per week according to his Fitbit, but cannot lose weight. There seems to be a mental block and he struggles with food addiction and over eating as well. He is a good husband, father and provider and we have a relationship like you and Chris. Lots of unconditional love and have been committed to each other since college. He has been sober now for 15 months but is still battling his demons and food. Thanks for reading this! You are an amazing woman and I admire what you have been able to accomplish in your life. Thank you for being you.

    • Team Powell - September 12, 2015

      Hi Brie: Thank you for your post! Chris and Heidi have put their carb cycling program (the same program they use on the show) in their book, “Choose More, Lose More for Life,” and you can learn about the basics of their program here: http://heidipowell.net/9060. You both can totally do this, and what an awesome support you can be for each other!

  23. Sara - September 12, 2015

    I am so thankful for the feelings you both inspire in people! I have a question, sometimes the show doesn’t always show everything about a contestant. Do you find that some of these brave men and women need to give up their jobs to complete a successful transformation?

    • Team Powell - September 12, 2015

      Hi Sara: After boot camp, the contestants go back to their “normal” lives. 🙂

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