Chris Powell Transformation Specialist From Food Addicts to Fighting Fit: Obese Twins Who Weighed a Combined 900lbs Both Lose Almost Half Their Body Weight in Just a Year

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A pair of twins who weighed a combined 900 pounds have slashed their weight by almost half in just one year.

David and Rebecca Nielsen, 23, from North Prairie, Wisconsin, developed food addictions early on in life following their parents’ divorce and over the years they encouraged each other’s bad habits.

But in a bid to kick their unhealthy lifestyles and slim down they landed a spot on ABC’s makeover show, Extreme Weight Loss. On last night’s premiere of Season 3, the siblings unveiled their dramatic new looks.


Overjoyed: Rebecca Nielsen, went from 398 to 192 pounds, and described her transformation as a ‘miracle’


New look: David, who tipped the scales 470 pounds, says that he’s ‘kind of a stud’ now he’s 212 pounds lighter

David, who used to tip the scales 470 pounds, joked that ‘I’m kind of a stud now’ as he stepped up on stage to reveal his lighter 258-pound physique.

While his sister, who went from 398 to 192 pounds, said: ‘At the beginning of this journey we were so depressed and hopeless . . . We kept wishing for miracle. This is nothing short of that.’

The duo said that being obese had a negative impact on their lives. David explained that all he’d known was being ‘fat’ and at college he turned to alcohol and painkillers to numb the pain.

At one point his substance abuse led him to consider taking his own life.

Recalling the chain of events, he said: ‘I was in my apartment one night and I just started drinking and taking more pills. I got to the point where I was laying there and I didn’t have control of myself.


Help at hand: David and Rebecca were told on their 23rd birthday that they had landed a spot on Extreme Makeover and would be enrolled on a one-year weight-loss program


Comfort eating: The twins said they turned to food after their parents’ divorce

‘I was just taking these pills and I was just drinking so much. I remember just telling myself that this was it.’

But David said that a phone call from his father pulled him back from the brink.

‘That night my dad called and told me he loved me. I quit the next day, completely cold turkey. I stopped drinking, I stopped doing the pills.

‘For the first time I finally felt like there was something more for me than that. Being that fat and being that depressed.

He managed to lose 200 pounds but when he returned home and started living with sister again, he reverted back to his old ways.

Fitness boost: David said that he felt his stamina improve as he started working out

Fitness boost: David said that he felt his stamina improve as he started working out

Intense: The year-long weight-loss program involved daily exercise sessions and nutrition classes

Intense: The year-long weight-loss program involved daily exercise sessions and nutrition classes

Desperate to slim down he and his sister filled out an application for the third season of Extreme Weight Loss. On their 23rd birthday they received a surprise visit from the show’s fitness expert, Chris Powell.

Team effort: The twins pictured with fitness expert Chris Powell

Team effort: The twins pictured with fitness expert Chris Powell

He told them that they had made the cut and he would be helping them through a one-year weight-loss program.

Seeing that the twins were in an ‘extremely codependent relationship’ Chris split them up for the first 90 days.

David was sent home to spend time with his father, Daniel, while Rebecca was packed off to Arizona to work alongside Chris’s wife, Heidi. In that period, after cutting back their diets and taking up daily exercise, they lost a combined 204 pounds.

‘I can already tell my stamina is going up. I can workout so much harder than I used to be able to,’ David exclaimed.

Commenting on her brother’s new outlook, Rebecca said: ‘Dave looks so skinny, you can see that he’s coming into himself. When he was at his heaviest he had lost faith in himself.’

By the end of the year the siblings managed to lose a combined 419 pounds. They say that they now plan on returning to college and completing their studies.

Rebecca wrote on her Facebook: ‘Wow. What a year it has been. We can definitely say that this was the craziest, most exciting, liberating, and emotional year of our lives.

‘No matter how much our bodies transform on the outside, nothing can show the changes that our head and our hearts have made. A true transformation for the both of us.’

Comments Off ‘Extreme Weight Loss’ Premiere: Chris Powell Helps Twins David And Becca Lose Weight

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On the season premiere of “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition,” trainer Chris Powell met 22-year-old twins Becca and David, who had been struggling with their weight for years.

The twins blamed their weight problem — Becca weighed 398 lbs. and David weighed 470 lbs. — on their parents’ divorce, which happened when the twins were teenagers. David said his lack of relationship with his father even led to a suicide attempt, but an unexpected call from his dad on the night of the attempt stopped him and he got the chance to thank his father on the show.

“You told me that you loved me and I hadn’t heard that in so long. But it was like all I needed at the time,” David told his dad Dan, who said he was proud of his son’s strength.

Chris was able to whip the twins into shape, leading to a combined weight loss of 418 lbs. Afterward, they said they were headed back to college and felt happier and healthier than ever.

Hundreds of congratulatory messages flooded the twins’ Facebook page during and after the show.

And The Guardian Express called the tearjerker a great start to the new season.

“Extreme Weight Loss” airs on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Comments Off Rebecca and David Lose 418 on Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition

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Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition starts the season with a pair of twins named Rebecca and David who wrote Chris Powell on their 23rd birthday. Chris arrives and meets these fraternal twins and hears their stories. Both have issues that are the root cause of their size as they have turned to food as a substitute for dealing with problems in life. The weigh in reveals David is 470 pounds and Rebecca is 398 pounds. Chris wastes no time in getting them moving and finding out the hidden problems that has caused them to get so out of shape. Both share stories but David actually tried to commit suicide and this really touches Chris.

The first challenge is a team goal of 200 pounds in 90 days. Chris splits the pair up and takes Rebecca back to Arizona with him while David goes home where he sees his dad has already made him a workout room. We get the usual stuff about how to pick the right foods and use the right portions. Chris does pop in on David during the 90 days. At the first weigh in they have lost a total of 204 pounds and you can see the spark in their eyes now. But the hard part is just starting.

The second 90 day goal is for Rebecca to lose 57 pounds and David must drop 75. They don’t work together too well and seem to get lost here in this segment as they don’t have Chris standing over them the whole time. This shows that having a weight loss buddy can be a bit more difficult than you think when you can’t agree on anything. The problems are amplified when we see the weigh in at the second 90 day period. Rebecca loses 58 pounds but David only manages to lose 62 and is disappointed. Chris has seen this before and tries to get him to look at what he has lost and not dwell on those 13 pounds he was short in reaching the goal.

The third segment is to lose another 76 pounds between the two of them. Chris hopes it will take some of the pressure off by setting a team goal. These two are falling short and the tensions flare. We see David cheating with food and Rebecca gets into it with him. Both of these siblings needs to get over their rivalry and work together. It happens too little too late and on the weigh in they have only lost 48 pounds.

Now we are at the best part of the show. We get to see the twins at the end of their one year journey to get thinner and healthier. David is the first one to come out and he looks like a different person. Rebecca looks great too when she comes out a few minutes later. Chris gives them the customary Wal Mart cards to continue with and a pair of bicycles. Hopefully, these two have learned enough to never let food be a crutch in their lives again.

Comments Off Show More Sweet Than Extreme

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Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition has undergone its own makeover for its third season, which begins Tuesday. It’s now called Extreme Weight Loss, which sounds dangerous, if one is to believe what nutritionists and fitness experts keep saying. You needn’t worry. As it turns out, Extreme Weight Loss is harmless.

Chris Powell, described as a “transformational specialist” and author of the brisk-selling book Choose to Lose: Lose More for Life, accompanied 15 willing participants on their journey from fat to thin.

Morbidly obese when they began the program, the participants were expected to lose half their body weight over a 365-day period. The emphasis is on losing weight safely and for those following at home as well as those participating in the program, there are lessons to be learned along the way about good eating habits, getting proper exercise and shedding weight in such a way that it stays off.

Extreme Weight Loss is aspirational programming. It’s not about sitting in front of the TV and laughing at the people on the screen – it’s not The Bachelorette, in other words – but rather about seeing real people learn a little something about themselves and grow to accept who they are.

Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition surprised a lot of people and became a surprise hit with viewers when it first aired, in no small part because of its positive, life-affirming message. There’s no reason to think that will change just because the title has been made shorter and sexier.

As with a lot of summer programming, Extreme Weight Loss looks as if it requires a substantial time commitment, but it doesn’t really. Beginning Tuesday, it will run in two-hour segments for 13 weeks, but each two-hour segment is a standalone episode that focuses on one overweight person’s weight-loss journey.

The opener revolves around David and Rebecca, twins who didn’t think much about their weight as they grew up in Wisconsin farm country. Now, David, who tops out at 470 pounds, and Rebecca, who weighs 398 pounds, realize their weight is starting to affect their lives. Powell works with them, and soon realizes that as with many overweight people, they used food as relief from stress, in their case, a difficult upbringing and unhappy childhood was the source of their anxiety.

Powell decides early on that the best way to work with them is to separate them, which is traumatic at first for two people who’ve come to rely on a mirror reflection of themselves from early childhood. Naturally enough, bad habits re-emerge at some point during the twins’ training. Seeing how Powell addresses that issue and seeing whether the twins pick up on his cues is reason alone to give Extreme Weight Loss a chance. It’s not as extreme as the title makes it sound. (ABC)

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Comments Off Extreme Weight Loss Season 3 Premiere a Tearjerker

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Extreme Weight Loss  Season 3 premiered tonight (8 p.m. ET, ABC ). The contestants were the twins, David and Rebecca Nielsen. The two-hour episode was a tearjerker. It followed the twins for an entire year as they strove to loss enough weight to qualify for stomach surgery to remove folds of skin.

The first hour was spent documenting the first 90-day period of the twin’s weight loss program. Host Christopher Powell and his wife, Heidi, worked with the pair as they strove to lose a combined weight of 200 pounds within the first 90 days.

David and Rebecca were successful at doing this, and David was helped by his father, as well as Chris. He had always wanted his father’s support and love, but David felt that he wasn’t living up to his father’s standards.

When David’s father showed him the room he’d repainted and stocked with exercise equipment, it marked a turning point in their relationship. It was one of the many emotional moments in the program, guaranteed to bring the Kleenex box out.

Though the twins did well the first 90 days, they began to fall back into their old ways. They had always enabled each others’ eating habits, relying on food as an emotional crutch.

Christopher Powell thought up the show’s biggest milestone challenge to date. He decided that the twins would benefit from participating in a Kokoro training camp. It’s the same sort of rigorous training that Navy SEALS go through during “Hell Week.”

David and Rebecca struggled, and Rebecca had a moment when she struggled for breath, and emergency personnel had to come over to check her out. Her brother was worried that she’d had to quit, and had decided to quit on her own; but, she resolved to finish the Kokoro training and they both made it through successfully.

Then, David began to slack off. He would still exercise some, but for not as long as his sister. She didn’t like it that he was eating in front of her and she thought that it wasn’t fair of him to bring junk food into the house they were staying at.

David acted as if he didn’t care about what Rebecca said. He told her that he would keep on eating like he had been doing, and training for juist an hour or so a day.

When it came time to weigh them again, neither made the desired weight loss goal. However, a doctor said that David was a good candidate for the surgery.

He thought that it was a shoe-in that if he was a good candidate, that Rebecca also would be — but, the doctor said that she still needed to lose more weight.

This was yet another point during the show that was a tear-jerking moment, as David felt bad that he was a candidate, though his sister had worked harder than him to achieve her goal.

David underwent the surgery and continued losing further weight. By the time the pair had their final weigh-in, his sister had successfully lost enough weight that she also qualified for the surgery.

Overall, the show was a great beginning to the season. I can’t wait to see what other contestants will undergo on their weight loss journeys.

Comments Off What’s on Tuesday

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8 P.M. (ABC) EXTREME WEIGHT LOSS The show formerly known as “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition” begins a third season as Chris Powell, a trainer specializing in the “super obese” — people who exceed their ideal weight by approximately 225 percent, or more than 200 pounds — helps the twins David (470 pounds) and Rebecca (398 pounds), above. After deciding that the two are co-dependent, he moves into David’s Wisconsin home while Rebecca is sent to Arizona to work with Chris’s wife for 90 days, during which they undergo a challenge based on Navy SEAL Hell Week.

Comments Off TV highlights for May 28, 2013

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HIGHLIGHTS RETURNING SHOW: “Transformation specialist” Chris Powell helps people who struggle with obesity learn to adapt healthier lifestyles on the third season of “Extreme Weight Loss” (ABC at 8 p.m.). He starts with 23-year-old twins David and Rebecca of Wisconsin, who grew up using food to cope with a difficult childhood.
Comments Off TV picks for May 28: ‘Body of Proof’

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‘Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition’

7 p.m. on ABC

Trainer Chris Powell returns for a new season of helping obese people trim down and get fit. Each subject is followed for a year.

Comments Off We talk with Chris Powell About Season 3 of ‘Extreme Weight Loss’

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Tonight is the season 3 premiere of “Extreme Weight Loss” on ABC. But wait – what happened to the name? Wasn’t it “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition”?

“We’re putting the title of the show on a diet,” Powell said with a laugh when we talked with him on the phone about the show.

We asked strength and conditioning specialist Powell, author of the new book ”Choose More, Lose More for Life” to talk about the third season and what viewers can look forward to.

I can’t even compare it to the first two seasons because everybody’s journeys were just so unique,” he said. “This season, I took on challenges that I never took on before – I took on a married couple. I took on a set of twins, which was totally unique – I mean, talk about an interesting dynamic there.”

Tonight’s season three premiere features the twins, David and Rebecca, who reveal a difficult upbringing that led them to gain a lot of extra weight over the years. But a couple of the people in upcoming episodes faced physical challenges beyond excess weight.

“One gentleman blew out both of his knees and so when it came to exercise we had to be so flexible in his approach, find every way around it, it was almost all upper body,” Powell said. “I also ended up taking on a kid in Green Bay, Wisconsin, who lost his arm in a car accident a couple years ago.”

Powell says the overarching theme of the series is “no excuses.”

“If you want it bad enough, you can get it. And I’ve gotta tell you, it’s just been a remarkable year, and just beautiful people who have gone through this process,” Powell said.

But he adds that it hasn’t been all “hugs and high-fives” as he called it.

“Going through the ups and the downs with them this past year has been truly an honor,” he said. “I’m just excited for the general public to see these transformations – not just the physical transformation, not just the physical weight loss, which is incredible. … Really it’s the transformation from the inside out for all of these people.

“They all came from this place of such darkness and despair,” he said. “I’m just so thrilled for everybody to see at the end of this year how much they love themselves.”

Comments Off ‘Extreme Weight Loss’: Chris Powell Helps Obese Twins Get Fitter

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David and Rebecca have always struggled with being overweight.

The fraternal twins from North Prairie, Wis., had a tough time growing up and they turned to food.

On their 23 rd birthday, fitness trainer and “Extreme Weight Loss” host Chris Powell decided to help them lose weight. David tipped the scales at 470 pounds, and his sister weighed 398.

Powell brought David and Rebecca to Los Angeles to begin their transformation. First, they had to go to a loading dock, where their initial weigh-in was done on a freight scale.

What followed was a full night boot camp with a Navy SEAL team, followed by grueling workouts.

In an appearance on ”Good Morning America” today, Powell explained how he approached helping the twins. He said he realized that they had a history of enabling each other’s poor decisions – especially about their weight – so he separated them for the first 90 days of the program.

During that time, Powell trained with David, while his wife, Heidi, trained with Rebecca.

The twins’ weight loss journey, and their final weight loss totals, will be revealed during the show’s season premiere 8 p.m. ET today on ABC.

RECIPE: Chris Powell’s Protein Waffle

RECIPE: Chris Powell’s Chicken Tostadas

RECIPE: Chris Powell’s Asian Wraps

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