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'Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition' premieres

May 30, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
We've all seen those TV shows where participants are sent to some ranch or camp to try to drop weight and win the big prize for getting small. Some say that is an unrealistic way to keep pounds from creeping back on. A new ABC show does it differently.

"Rachel" has plenty to smile about. She was chosen to be a part of the yearlong "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition," airing Monday night on ABC7.

"This means that I have a future. This means that I have a future and I'm so ready for it," said Rachel.

Rather than a contest at a ranch, this show puts each individual in their own environment.

"So the transformation occurs in their real lives, in their home towns, because if you did it here and then sent them home, the likelihood of success would be virtually zero," said Dr. Terry Schaack, medical director of the California Health and Longevity Center.

At the California Health and Longevity Institute, participants had a week with health experts to get the tools they need.

Rachel starts her journey at 369 pounds, but others on the show weigh 400 to 600 pounds.

"This show is for people who are too big to be on our other shows. This is for people who are hopeless," said J.D. Roth, creator of "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition."

"Super obese": That's the term coined for those needing to lose 200 or more. Taking weight off like that takes a long time. Each episode is going through the painstaking process of losing weight while gaining principles they're clearly lacking.

"Most of them had no ability to cook and really never grew up nurturing the food, family meals, somebody taking care of them in terms of healthy eating," said Paulette Lambert, a registered dietitian at the California Health and Longevity Institute. "They really didn't know much at all."

Lambert says for most the challenge was liquid calories.

"Most of them took in about 2,000 calories a day of sugar drinks," said Lambert.

"This is confronting your past, facing your struggles and learning to overcome those obstacles while you're committing to an incredible transformation and committing to increasing the quality of their own life," said trainer Chris Powell.

Trainer Chris Powell's motivation and moves make the difference.

Each subject is medically tested every two weeks, with Powell working both body and mind.

"The mind has to transform first," said Powell. "Change your mind, change your body. In the end, it's how much they love themselves."

Each week you'll meet a new participant. Monday's premiere of "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition" features Rachel's story, Monday at 10 p.m. PT on ABC7.