Inspired by Chris Powell, Woman Loses 130 Lbs

ABC News Blogs

Chris Powell has witnessed some amazing weight loss journeys.

Powell, the fitness trainer on ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition," gets messages from many people who tell him about what motivated them to achieve their remarkable weight loss results.

Among the standout stories is that of Dana Atkins, a cancer survivor from Lafayette, La.

Atkins recalled her 130-pound weight loss success on "Good Morning America" today.

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"I was watching your show one day, and I thought, 'if these people can do it, so can I.' And so I thank you. You have no idea how much you inspired me," she told Powell.

Atkins did it by committing to hitting the gym five days per week, cutting the calories and adjusting her eating habits.

She tracks her weight loss on an app called Lose It, eats breakfast every morning and doesn't eat carbs after 5 p.m.

The 36-year-old said Powell inspired her, even through her tough workouts.

"I could hear Chris's voice in my head ...  even though my legs are on fire and my knees are hurting I could hear him saying, 'Come on Dana, keep going, you got this,' and I would just finish the workout, I would feel so much better after," she said.

Working all on her own, Atkins went from 380 pounds -- and a size 30 -- to 253 pounds and a size 18.

She still wants to lose 90 pounds more.

Powell turned up at Cajun Gym in Lafayette one day to surprise Atkins. He worked out with her and gave her some workout tips and encouragement.

"You're going to do great," he told her.


Chris Powell's Workout Tips

On the weight loss journey, it is common for the fat to come off relatively quickly as we begin to exercise.  This is because our systems (cardiovascular, muscular, respiratory, etc) are extremely inefficient, so our body incinerates the calories like a V-12 engine burns fuel.  This rapid fat loss is awesome for many reasons, and usually gives us a quick boost of confidence that we really CAN achieve our goals.

However, after a little while that once-remarkable weight loss slows down or stops – even when we are doing exactly what worked in the beginning.  Why?  What happened? 

Our bodies are capable of some remarkable adaptations as we exercise.  Our heart, lungs, nerves and muscles learn to move in harmony together, and we undergo chemical reactions on a molecular level, making exercise easier and much more efficient. What was once a V-12 engine struggling to walk a mile (and burning a ton of calories in the process), has become a super-efficient hybrid engine, capable of moving for hours on end (but burning much fewer calories in the process)

So what do we do?  Can we ever achieve our goals and have the body we deserve?  Absolutely!   

Your body begins to adapt after repeated exposure to the same type of exercise and weight loss slow or even stop, but you can outsmart your body and continuously lose weight.

Here's how: Simply increase one of the following FITT components every six to 10 workouts:

Frequency.  For example, if you typically exercise three days a week, increase to four days.

Intensity.  For example, if you typically walk at a 3.0 on the treadmill, increase to a 3.5.  Or if you run a mile in nine minutes, aim for 8:30.

Time. For example, if you typically exercise for 30 minutes, increase to 35 minutes.

Type.  For example, if you typically jog for exercise, try a different type of exercise like rowing, cycling, or boxing.

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