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Extreme Weight Loss preview: Mother and son team up to overcome obesity

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The family that plays together stays together. But the family that overeats together endangers their health emotionally and physically. Tuesday's episode of "Extreme Weight Loss" will feature a mother and son who hope to reverse their obesity by teaming up together, reported the Gaston Gazette on Saturday.

Kathie and Josh Morton admit that their relationship focused on overeating. "We celebrated with food. We ate when we were sad,” Josh reflected.

Desperate for help, they applied to be contestants on "Extreme Weight Loss." The opportunity gave them a year of guidance from Chris Powell, who specializes in diet and fitness for obese individuals. He is the author of "Chris Powell's Choose More, Lose More for Life."

Like many obese individuals, the Mortons' weight gain happened gradually. Kathie began to eat for comfort after ending a relationship. At 312 pounds, she felt constantly judged by other people because of her obesity.

Kathie now says she reached her breaking point when she wanted to ride a rollercoaster. Because she was too large for the safety bar, she was forced to "take the walk of shame."

Recalling how constricted she felt when she was obese, Kathie says that she worried about such simple activities as going to a restaurant. Would she be judged, and would the booths have enough room?

And Kathie's son Josh suffered similar anxieties. "To be 20 years old and to hate what you are is not a good place to be," he admitted.

Because of how much they suffered from their obesity, Kathie and Josh both grabbed the chance to be on "Extreme Weight Loss." But it wasn't easy.

“I wasn’t the person who wanted to bare my soul to the world. That would give me high anxiety,” Josh admits about the constant scrutiny of camera crews.

They can't reveal how much they lost until after the show airs on Tuesday. But they both emphasize how much their daily lives have changed.

"I’m learning how to live after 'Extreme Weight Loss' now. I’m learning that balance," says Josh.

One area that has undergone dramatic changes: His diet. Josh spent most meals in front of his TV eating fast food or pizza prior to undergoing his year of working with Chris.

Chris emphasizes that America's love affair with fast food has to end. He's a believer in unprocessed food and the weight loss method known as carb cycling, which he documented in his book "Choose to Lose: The 7-Day Carb Cycle Solution."

But exercise is a critical part of the year-long "Extreme Weight Loss" journey. Chris takes participants through a boot camp session that trains them to become their own personal trainers.

And for those who question just how challenging it is, Chris has created an unusual form of fitness DVD. It features former participants on the show who lost a combined total of 579 pounds. The DVD is called "Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition: The Workout 2011."

With clients who often lose half of their body weight in a year, Chris has drawn attention for his multi-faceted approach to weight loss. In a recent exclusive interview, I asked him to explain how he succeeds with clients ranging from teens to seniors.

Successful, permanent weight loss requires understanding the "mental side of change," Chris told me. Emotional investment builds "the true foundation to transformation. These are the secrets that we share with our 'transformation peeps' on the very first day of their journey, and the real reason why they are able to accomplish such extraordinary things."

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