HEIDI POWELL

‘Extreme Weight Loss’ returns; join in the action!

PHOTO: Heidi Powell and husband Chris Powell are back  for a fifth season of “Extreme Weight Loss.”

Bring out the tissues, fans of “Extreme Weight Loss.” The show returns tonight (May 26) for a fifth season with a real tearjerker.

The season’s first of 10 episodes introduces us to a first for the show, twins Robert and Raymond.  At age 42 years and each weighing close to 400 pounds, the brothers let the world in on the unbelievable challenge they faced when just 13 years old. What a story! I’m not going to give anything away, but watching the preview of their story, I wondered, would I have been able to do what they did at that young an age?

For a long time they put family before everything, which certainly is admirable. But now it’s time for the Missouri brothers to put themselves first.

On “Extreme Weight Loss,” trainers Chris and Heidi Powell guide — sometimes with tough love — people through 365-day transformations. Individuals who lose usually about 50 percent of their weight are candidates for skin reduction surgery.

Again this season, the contenders will spend the first 90 days at the University of Colorado Anschutz Health & Wellness Center.

We learn in this first episode that Robert and Raymond are huge basketball fans, and during their transformation, they get the chance to work out with Lakers’ star Kobe Bryant and basketball greats Steve Nash, Byron Scott and James Worthy.

Watching Extreme Weight Loss” often inspires viewers to start their own improvement plan at home. Here’s a couple of Chris’ tips you can adapt as your own.

There are two hours of television here. Instead of planting your butt on the couch for the entire 120 minutes of  “Extreme Weight Loss,” do what Chris calls the Couch Potato Workout. At every commercial break do 15 pushups, 15 squats and 15 situps. Commercial breaks can be pretty long, so if one is still going on, I add in 15 rep sets of other exercises until the show resumes. (Jumping jacks, bicep curls, planks, etc.) You’ll be surprised how much of a workout you get in.

Chris and Heidi’s transformation contenders are said to follow a diet that’s largely one that reduces carbohydrates. In an earlier interview, Chris told me one day a week the candidates are allowed to enjoy the treats they miss, but with this catch: they have to eat it while out of their homes. I’ve always thought that was a good tip that anyone can follow. Have the food you want, once a week, but not at home where it likely caused problems before.

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

NOTE: Changes made to correct show’s name