Extreme Transformation

Lifelong Weight Loss in 21 Days


By Chris Powell

By Heidi Powell

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Chris and Heidi Powell, hosts and transformation specialists from the hit TV show, Extreme Weight Loss, now share their proven, life-changing, step-by-step guide for losing weight and keeping it off in their first co-authored book, Extreme Transformation.

They are the hosts of television’s most popular weight-loss documentary show, Extreme Weight Loss, and now the Powells provide a blueprint for changing your health in just 21 days. Whether you’re looking to lose the baby weight, that last ten pounds, or several hundred, this is the program that can change your life forever. They share their most effective secrets for weight loss success through diet and exercise and go into detailed focus on how to develop a powerful, sustainable mental change to keep the weight off forever. With their help, readers will “see” the hidden path of transformation; be guided through fast and fun exercises; enjoy loads of recipes (both quick and gourmet) along with advice for food shopping, preparation, and more! With an incredible expansion of the Carb-cycling core that has driven Chris’s first two national bestsellers, the Powells guide you from the very first step to reach your ideal weight and transition to lifelong maintenance–high-impact results in as little as three weeks.


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Table of Contents


Copyright Page

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I found myself

Lost in the depths

Of darkness and despair,

Blinded by confusion

That was dwelling everywhere.

No matter how many times I tried

I couldn't find my way.

But when I opened up my eyes

A whole new life awaited.

Through hope and heart and promises,

Integrity and dignity,

My life is now my masterpiece.

I control my destiny.

I am a Phoenix now

From ash I rise above

As I climb, step-by-step

The path to true self love.

It has been six years since we started our show Extreme Weight Loss—six seasons, over 70 incredible transformations on camera, and millions of lives changed in more than 140 countries! So much has happened in that short span of time—our family has expanded, our passion for helping others continues to grow, and our insight into how people can effectively lose weight and get in shape has deepened. But one of the biggest transformations of all is how we finally understand the necessary steps to keeping it off forever.

Since Heidi became even more visible on the show, the response has been overwhelming. People want more of her—on the show and via her blog, HeidiPowell.net. But what many don't realize is that Heidi and I have worked side by side from day one, helping our people change their lives for the better. As Heidi's role on the show has increased, I've been super excited—but not a bit surprised—to see how our viewers have responded to her amazing spirit, energy, and wisdom. They seem to relate to her emotionally charged, dig-in approach; instead of backing off when things get tough, Heidi helps them through some of the tough inner parts of their struggle to lose weight and hold steady to their transformation journey… and ultimately their lifelong dreams.

It turns out that my strengths as head cheerleader and chief educator dovetail nicely with Heidi's more emotional approach. Don't get me wrong: We are both tough, but in different ways, and we came to realize that the most successful of the people we work with need just that: cheerleader, educator, and counselor. They also have relied upon us as trusted friends—and that's what we want to be to you, friends you can depend on—to be honest with you, and to help guide you to your best life.

Together, we have always felt like a formidable team, but now with so many people responding to us as a couple (and family), we realize that yes, two is better than one… and our differences support our approach. And that's what we want to give you in this third—our most comprehensive and complete—book: a combination of both our approaches through a 21-day lifestyle shift that will put you on course to change your body and your life, forever.

Since our last book, we have made some influential discoveries—influential on us! Taking in the experience of the hundreds of courageous women and men we have guided through the weight loss journey, we've learned so much more about the struggles, and how to overcome them for continued success. We have dug deep with our people over the years, and now deliver to you the fastest, most convenient, most balanced way to achieve profound weight loss. Over the years we have set out to identify the reasons why it is so difficult for many to not just lose the weight, but to continue losing weight over time, and ultimately maintain a lifestyle of success. Why? Why do we lose motivation? Why do we fall off of the wagon time and again? How can we finally lose the weight for good? These are the questions that we have obsessed over for years and have sought tirelessly to find the solutions.

The answer is simple: Most diets are just that—diets. They are simple plans to follow for weight loss. Some even come with an exercise component. But they don't provide the inner compass, the knowledge, and the realistic expectations of what the journey is really like, to make a diet into what it's meant to be—a transformation. Before, there was no real guide to transformation. And that's our promise to you: a complete road map that will lead to long-term success—once and for all.

Our guide to Extreme Transformation is a product of over 14 years of experience on a journey that we've taken with hundreds of people. Nearly every individual we have transformed is like family to us. We talk, we laugh, we cry, and we have totally open and authentic communication about their struggles and triumphs—and through this experience we have gleaned so much about the pitfalls and how to prevent them, during both the weight loss journey and maintenance.

The weight loss technique we use for Extreme Transformation is the most complete and powerful nutrition and exercise plan we have ever designed. It is based upon our insight into the people who not only lose the weight, but also keep it off. Within each of the 21 days is a fundamental lesson that we have discovered to have a lasting impact upon every single transformation achieved. This approach leads to true, lasting success—the kind we are all interested in. We give them the tools to not only maximize their weight loss but also stay active and fit. These tools and fundamental lessons make this possible and set them apart from the millions of yo-yo dieters out there. They continue to practice these simple 21 lessons every day.

We have analyzed exactly what makes these most successful people do so well on our program. You're about to meet many of them, hear their stories, and see their remarkable transformations in their before-and-after photos. When you witness their journeys of success, you will be inspired and motivated to declare your own dream as well—because if they can do it, you can, too—whether you're trying to lose just 20 pounds, or well over 100.

If you, your client, your family member, or your loved one wants Extreme Transformation and wants to change life forever, this is your guide. We are ready to give full transparency to our whole approach, and give you real-life expectations of what is to come. Woven into these 21 days are rules, tips, tricks, and shortcuts that we will share with you—from tactics that can accelerate your weight loss, to shifting the way you think about yourself and about weight loss forever.

This same method that we use to take 50 to 200 pounds off our participants in less than a year is the same one we've effectively used for hundreds of other clients who want to lose just 10 to 15 pounds! Not only does it help them achieve their weight loss goals, but it also sets them up for lifelong success. Early on, we'll help you see and understand the hidden path of transformation, which usually coincides with a big "a-ha" moment, and once you "get it," you will never see life or the weight loss journey the same way again. Whether it's the final 20 pounds or more than 200 that you want to lose, just follow the program, apply the lessons, and the results will be phenomenal. Best of all, along the way we'll show you how to control the throttle, so you can drop weight at a slower, more comfortable pace, or accelerate to get to your goal in record time.

We applied the science behind behavior and habits, alongside our own personal experience, with our participants: what is necessary to break a bad habit and how we can lay down new, positive habits. We found what worked and didn't work in their real-life situations, and have filtered it down to the most effective, tangible steps toward lifelong change.

You may have heard that it takes 21 days to change a habit, and while many of us can change a habit in 21 days, recent research by such behavioral scientists as Ann M. Graybiel has shown that, for some of us, it can take longer. We're not telling you this to worry you but instead to educate you and give realistic expectations of the journey ahead. The good news is that we have planned around this. We have structured our nutrition and exercise method in 21-day phases so that you learn how to change the bad habits that led to your weight gain and replace them with new, empowering habits that help you lose weight and feel much better. You can repeat the 21-day phase until you've reached your goal weight and replaced those destructive habits with new routines to "anchor in" your new body and mind-set.

As you can see, this is the guide to total transformation. These are all of our secrets. This transformation you are about to embark upon will lead to a whole new you. It is a kind of change that is deep and life altering. It is not superficial. It is not just physical change; it is an emotional, mental, social, and even spiritual change. It's the kind of change that takes all of you—your thoughts and your feelings, your body and your brain. All of you.

Now, we aren't just going to sit here, telling everyone else to follow these 21 lessons. No, we actually practice and follow them ourselves. We are so passionate about this process because these steps have enriched and changed our lives! Yes. We live Extreme Transformation on a daily basis. So when we teach you the lessons of transformation, we are sharing with you not just as your coaches, but also as your equals—your teammates on this journey. These steps are lessons that we'll never master—but to live our best life, we must continually practice them! We're all in this together. While you are living Extreme Transformation, know that we, and hundreds of thousands of other people are, too!

We've also included tips—some from Heidi, and some from me. You'll know who's talking to you by these clever little icons that tag them:

When you follow the 21 days of the Extreme Carb Cycle (our nutrition plan) and Metabolic Missions (our exercise plan), you will see and feel your body change rapidly. But when you learn and apply the lessons within the 21 Days to Transformation, you will feel a whole new sense of control over your life and your destiny. Finally, after years of feeling lost, depressed, or frustrated, you will come to a place where you feel hopeful and optimistic. You will see your life and your future with clarity. You will wake up in the morning with enthusiasm. You will go through your day confident and self-assured. You will turn out the light at night feeling successful, satisfied, and in control.

The 21 Days to Transformation fall into three weeks, each week covering one of the three components to create your own Extreme Transformation. Your days begin with good ol' delicious nutrition and a workout challenge, followed by one transformation lesson and activity that creates a deeper understanding of who you are and how you can unlock your true potential.

Week One: Days 1–7 help you Learn It

Week Two: Days 8–14 help you Love It

Week Three: Days 15–21 help you Live It for the rest of your life!

This is our promise to you: We will show you how to lose weight, get fit, and discover a part of you that you never knew existed. You will feel confident and energetic—able to take on life's challenges with vigor. You will feel happier and more in control than ever before. You will love yourself. That's what Extreme Transformation can do for you.

Let the journey begin…


The Method

Chapter One


Our hit show Extreme Weight Loss has inspired millions of men and women around the world to change their lives for the better. In the show, we guide our courageous participants through a year-long journey of transformation. Although they lose hundreds of pounds in the process, the most rewarding part is what they gain: confidence, self-esteem, love, courage, and the know-how to control their bodies for the rest of their lives.

Our goal for this book is to share every component, every lesson, every aspect of transformation that will enable you to reach your weight loss goals and live enthusiastically—for the rest of your life. Though we've designed this 21-day guide around the exact method that we use with our participants, we have fine-tuned it so that whether you are here to lose those pesky 10 pounds that you put on and take off like a yo-yo, the last 20 pounds of post-baby weight, or 100 pounds or more, you can consider these 21 action-packed days your personal transformation boot camp—your guide to lifelong weight loss. We feel that this is the most effective method to date because it builds on our previous strategies and successes over the years, and includes new improvements that can deliver significant weight loss (as much as 1.5 percent of your body weight per week if you choose).

The 21-day plan is built upon a simple but powerful carb-cycle approach to eating, a once-a-day brief exercise mission that will stimulate your muscles and activate your body for weight loss, a fun activity of your choosing to accelerate your weight loss, and a simple yet powerful lesson and mental activity. This may sound routine, but let us assure you—the transformation journey you are about to embark upon is anything but!

We know that most diets can work—at least in the short term. Heck, a quick Internet search will find literally hundreds of plans that will most likely get you to take off weight if you follow them correctly. Unfortunately most diets don't take into account the necessary mental strategies, tactics, and know-how to control your weight for the rest of your life. So what happens? You lose weight in the short term, but then inevitably you go back to your old habits and patterns and gain it all back.

This is why Extreme Transformation is nothing like a diet. Instead, our no-nonsense approach to transformation contains within it our 21 simple but crucial lessons that clear the way for you to change your relationship with food and alter the habits that led to your weight gain to begin with. In these pages, we will lay out the entire journey for you—the good, the bad, and the ugly. We don't want to sugarcoat what lies ahead. Changing deeply engrained habits will get you out of your comfort zone and you will have moments—or days—of uneasiness and challenges. But we believe that if you face this inevitable discomfort head-on, you will find a sense of personal strength you never thought possible. So if you are ready to lose the weight forever, look no farther. But be prepared: There is some tough love ahead!

We realize that if you've picked up this book, you are already open to this process. You've taken an essential step toward a better life. But listen closely: True and lifelong transformation digs much deeper than diet and exercise. The process of losing excess pounds? That's the easy part. Really. And that's where we are going to start. We are going to show you the very simple, straightforward way to eat and exercise that will help you lose all the weight you want to lose. We'll show you how and why it works. We'll give you the exact method we use to help people lose up to hundreds of pounds in less than a year. You are going to be eating delicious foods (and we have included dozens of easy-to-prepare recipes for each day of the 21-day cycle) and discovering just how easy and rewarding the Metabolic Missions and Accelerators are.

As soon as you shift into this weight loss mode, you will begin to lose weight, feel lighter, and be more energetic! And that's just the beginning.

After one week, your body will begin to shed unwanted water weight and fat, and show signs of a more efficient metabolism. In two weeks you will see and feel a significant change in your body, and by the third week you will begin to feel more confident and clear about reaching your goals… and your life. You'll begin to see and believe that you really can do this.

We give you all that you need to do—a day-by-day road map that will get you to your weight loss goals (see chapter 2 for more details on how the carb cycle works). Each day offers five meals, a quick 5-to 20-minute Metabolic Mission, a weight loss Accelerator, and a fundamental lesson and mental activity to stoke your motivation and create a deeper understanding of yourself so that you can keep the weight off forever. All your meals—breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner—are laid out for you so you don't have to do any thinking! And we've also included some "Clean Cheat" snacks and meals for your reward days, too! Just follow the path!

These days are set up so that we can all go through the plan together. Day 1 through Day 4 we rev up our metabolism and burn fat with healthy carbs, Metabolic Missions, and Accelerators. Come Day 5, we all switch to low-carbs, turbocharging our weight loss for two days so we can all step on the scale the morning of Day 7 and see our amazing progress. If you want the same experience our participants go through on the show, this is it. In fact, as you are going through this right now, our participants and thousands of people around the world are, too!

Of course, if your work or living schedule doesn't match up with a Monday-through-Sunday schedule, no problem. You can start your Extreme Cycle on any day of the week—just choose what best fits with you. The 21-day cycle is flexible and adaptable to you, your goals, and your lifestyle.

But the beauty is that in just 21 days, you will begin a powerful and effective way to lose weight and get in shape. You will lose a number of pounds weekly and feel lighter, more fit, and more confident in just 21 days. You will maximize your metabolism so that your body can mobilize and oxidize fat effectively. You will also become more finely attuned to your body's response to food so that you feel satisfied, balanced, and no longer at the mercy of out-of-control cravings. And if you ever do experience a craving, we show you all of the tricks of the trade to curb it instantly, so that you always remain in control.

Our new exercise plan is part of this metabolic remake: These 15 Metabolic Missions will challenge you to explore your physical capabilities of running, jumping, pushing, crunching, and squatting so that you boost metabolism, and shape and develop lean muscle. You will begin to see an entirely new, more slender and cut silhouette. Just look at the dozens of before-and-after photos of our peeps in the pages ahead, and see what they created for themselves through Extreme Transformation! Best of all, you will repeat the 15 Metabolic Missions every three weeks, and when you perform them again you will perform more reps and more rounds than before. Every 21 days, you will see quantitative proof that you are getting fitter! These missions are designed to turn you into a badass.

Each Metabolic Mission is simple and easy to work into your daily routine. You will not have to carve out huge sections of time to fit in a complicated fitness program. You don't need any equipment. And you don't even need to go to a gym if you prefer exercising at home! You will be able to do a quick, effective workout in less than 15 to 20 minutes a day, five days a week. Accelerators are an added bonus that are included to boost your metabolism and burn even more fat. These longer-duration exercises (think cardio) are optional—but once you learn how they actually accelerate your weight loss, we won't need to convince you. Ultimately, they can lead to your record-breaking weight loss!

Eating and exercising are just the beginning of your transformation journey. In fact, they're the easy part. The secret ingredient to your life of transformation lies in the motivational lessons that accompany each of the 21 Days to Transformation.


We do things a little differently around here. Yes, you are going to follow the exact diet and exercise plan that we use for all of our remarkable transformations, but we have found that when you are able to "see" weight loss from a different perspective, you will focus on something totally different than the diet and exercise, and actually embrace this process with enthusiasm. Anybody can reluctantly follow a diet plan and lose weight… but think about what we're actually saying here: Imagine going through this weight loss journey and arriving into maintenance, without ever having to fixate on diet and exercise. That's right. Granted, we will teach you diet and exercise, but you're going to feel so good focusing on the true components of transformation, the weight loss just happens. We are going to show you how to radically shift your thinking to do just that, which is why your results will be so extraordinary!

In the process, you will identify different aspects of your life that have been holding you back, preventing you from achieving an extraordinary life. We understand how overwhelming and uncomfortable it can feel to begin yet another attempt at weight loss… when those in the past never really worked. Don't worry. We will show you the way.

You may have encountered advice and tips from positive psychology or other forms of self-help. What we've designed here is different: It's a path that is physical, emotional, and mental; one that is backed by the latest neuroscience and research into habit formation, our reward pathways, and getting at the root of addictive behaviors. It's also supported by some of the most advanced research in nutrition and exercise physiology. We take all of the science and bundle it up with some good old-fashioned common sense and real-life experience, and deliver it to you in this guide. Extreme Transformation is real, and it's yours.


While the new Extreme Cycle is a potent combination of high- and low-carb days to give you effective and reliable weight loss results, the real secret to lifelong transformation is lying underneath the diet. Extreme Transformation is not just about how you eat and how you exercise. It's about changing habits and replacing them with a whole new way of thinking and being. It's rehabilitation.

Over the past few years, we've distilled down our observations of those who have become truly and permanently successful in their weight loss and maintenance, as well as reflections on our own experience, plus a deep dive into the most current research in the areas of integrative nutrition, exercise physiology, and neuroscience. We've simplified everything into three principles that encompass all that we do for people—focusing on their bodies, their hearts, and their minds. For lifelong change and weight loss, no single principle can exist without the others. They all must happen together. You'll feel amazing, and best of all, you'll know how and why you feel amazing.

These three principles consist of 21 lessons, which fall into the three weeks of transformation:

Week One: Learn It

The first seven lessons will teach you what it takes to make the radical shift in thinking that is necessary at the beginning of your journey of transformation. You will dig deep and find two critical components for lifelong change: your what and your why. You'll identify exactly what it is that you want to achieve, and why; the motivating factors that will lead you to these goals. Then we will help you discover the true path to transformation that has been there all along. This path is in all of us, but it often lies hidden. Seeing the true path will completely shift our focus off the diet and exercise and place it where it belongs for lifelong change. We then teach you the crucial lessons of setting up your environment and your support system for success, tracking your progress, and best of all—making the journey fun!

The steps in this section will have you rethinking every weight loss program you've ever done. We will show you a path to the lifelong transformation that you have always wanted. It has always been there; you just didn't know how to see it!

Week Two: Love It

In Week Two, you will go from learning the process of Extreme Transformation into mental and emotional action—actually taking the steps toward believing in yourself, your true abilities, and the process that leads directly to success. You will find a place that is honest and vulnerable so that you can peel away all the excuses that you've used in the past. You will learn how to unload the real weight—to finally be at peace with any unresolved emotional trauma you have experienced in the past—that is holding you back from living your life to the fullest.

You will take responsibility for your actions, you will learn how to identify and banish the negative self-talk that has held you back, and ultimately embrace a whole new identity—one built on self-love, integrity, and dignity!

Finally, you will address your fears. We know and understand these fears, and we are going to teach you tactics to conquer them once and for all. We'll take you through some tough situations that will help you get inside yourself—maybe to a place that you've never let yourself go before. Don't be afraid.

We have seen it all, and nearly every individual who begins to Love It—embrace their journey with enthusiasm—will tell you that it is one of the greatest accomplishments of their life. In the end, you will feel powerfully free from those chains that have held you back in the past.

Week Three: Live It

The lessons in Week Three prepare you to handle the challenges ahead, and set you up to live a life of transformation. You will learn how to become a priority in your own life, and you will know how to defend your priorities aggressively so that no one will stand in the way of your success. We will lay out inevitable obstacles ahead that will try to derail your progress. When you do fall off track, we will teach you the tried-and-true method to getting right back on. And we will shine a spotlight on your current triggers, so that you can identify them and navigate safely around or through them.


On Sale
Dec 22, 2015
Page Count
224 pages
Hachette Books

Chris Powell

About the Author

Chris Powell and Heidi Powell are the stars of ABC TV’s prime time hit show, Extreme Weight Loss. They are regular contributors to Good Morning America and The Dr. Oz Show. They live in Phoenix, Arizona with their four children.

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