Extreme Weight Loss

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Extreme Weight Loss TV Poster Image
Weight-loss reality show is compassionate, noncompetitive.

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Lots of discussion about the relationship between weight loss and health, as well as the importance of having family and friends' support during a weight-loss journey. On the other hand, a lot of attention is paid to how people look, and the show fails to address weight-loss-related issues like building muscle mass and the dangers of over training.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Chris Powell is hard on his clients, but he also offers them constructive advice and emotional support.


Weight-loss participants scream, yell, grunt, and even cry during workouts. Occasionally participants suffer injuries as a result of extreme workout schedules.


References to feeling sexy, but these comments are offered in the context of improved self-esteem.  Weight-loss participants are often showed in bras and shorts during weigh-ins.


Words like "screwed" are sometimes audible.


Food brands like Cool Whip and Quaker are sometimes visible, but they're not prominently featured.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this weight-loss series, in which morbidly obese people struggle to lose a large amount of weight in one year, has positive messages about the importance of being healthy and exercising, but it sometimes suggests that you need to be skinny to have good self-esteem. The content is pretty family friendly, but weight-loss clients are often shown in bras or shirtless during weigh-ins and doctor visits. Occasionally food labels (Quaker, Cool Whip, Pillsbury) are visible.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byonline calorie ... November 28, 2014

Children Can Count Calories

Some parents feel concerned when the child does not ‘eat well’. There was an incident when the worried parent visited a Pediatrician with the concern that the c... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byDylan09 August 13, 2012


Tis show tells people that you can accomplish more than you think. Chris Powell is a tough, but caring man; and he will never let you down. One of the best role... Continue reading

What's the story?

EXTREME MAKEOVER: WEIGHT-LOSS EDITION follows people’s year-long transformational weight-loss journeys. Each episode follows trainer Chris Powell as he works with a morbidly obese person who wants to shed extra pounds and change his or her life. After a one-week boot camp designed to teach weight-loss clients new exercise and eating habits, Powell moves into their home to help with the first three months of weight loss. To motivate clients to stick to their strict diet and workout goals, Powell offers them incentives like in-home gyms, trips to Europe, and skin removal surgery in exchange for meeting their target goal weight. After the 90 days are up, he leaves them to continue their transformation on their own, checking in at the end of every three-month phase to weigh them and establish new goals. The end of each client’s transformation year is celebrated with a big reveal, where his or her total amount of pounds lost is announced, and the client showcases his or her new, skinnier look.

Is it any good?

This series stays in stride with the dramatic but family-friendly stories about transformation and happiness that the Extreme Makeover franchise is known for by offering positive messages about losing weight to get healthy and develop better self-esteem. Powell is also a positive role model, offering compassionate -- but firm -- guidance about what needs to be done to lose weight.

Like many other weight-loss programs, the show focuses on losing pounds without discussing factors like gaining muscle mass and the dangers that come with over training. It also fails to address some of the physiological and emotional barriers to losing weight. Nonetheless, viewers may find themselves inspired by the people featured here.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about weight and weight-loss shows. What messages does the media send about what people should weigh and how they should look? 

  • Why do you think people choose to have their weight-loss journeys featured on reality shows? How do these shows contribute to girls' body image issues? Do these shows have the same impact on boys?

  • What's the best way to lose weight? Should weight loss be achieved quickly or over a long period of time? Why? What are some of the positive consequences of losing lots of weight? Are there any negative consequences?

TV details

  • Premiere date: May 30, 2011
  • Cast: Chris Powell
  • Network: ABC
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-PG
  • Available on: Streaming
  • Last updated: March 14, 2020

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