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Extreme Weight Loss: Chris Powell talks carb-cycling diet and transformations

Chris and Heidi Powell provide transformations on "Extreme Weight Loss."
Chris and Heidi Powell provide transformations on "Extreme Weight Loss."
ABC

Which is harder: Diet or exercise? Asked that question on Tuesday's episode of "The View," Chris Powell instantly answered: Diet. And as the transformation specialist on "Extreme Weight Loss," he's become an expert in helping obese individuals overcome their challenges to succeed with both diet and fitness.

When it comes to diet, Chris has teamed up several times with celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito. Author of "The Pound a Day Diet: Lose Up to 5 Pounds in 5 Days by Eating the Foods You Love," Rocco works with contestants to help them understand how to change their diet by changing the way that they cook.

Co-host of "The View" Sherri Shepherd noted that both she and co-host Whoopi Goldberg have used Rocco's diet. Whoopi shed 30 pounds, while Sherri lost 60 pounds.

Chris also has created his own diet book "Choose to Lose: The 7-Day Carb Cycle Solution." It involves alternating high carb days with low carb diet cycles. The approach is designed to eliminate fat while keeping your metabolism at its peak.

However, Chris emphasized that exercise is a critical element of weight loss. He proved that point on Tuesday's "Extreme Weight Loss" episode by guiding a mother and son through a year of transformation with his wife Heidi.

At the start of the journey, Kathie weighed 255 pounds. Her son Josh weighed 345 pounds. Kathie emphasized that she blamed herself for teaching Josh to use food as love.

Living at home, Josh was in a co-dependent relationship with his mother. For that reason, Chris and his wife Heidi sought to separate the two during their year of transformation.

Heidi worked with Kathie, while Chris trained Josh. The workout portion of the show takes contestants through a bootcamp-style regime. Chris has created a home version of that plan in "Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition: The Workout 2011."

But when someone is obese, Chris feels that diet and exercise aren't enough. Going from a state of clinical obesity to a normal weight requires a mental and emotional transformation as well.

For that reason, Chris and Heidi opened their home to Josh. They helped him feel part of their family to ease him through the separation process.

At the end of the journey, Chris asked the mother and son to step on the scale for the last time. Kathie weighed 147 pounds. And Josh became the first male contestant to weigh less than Chris at 183 pounds.

In "Chris Powell's Choose More, Lose More for Life," Chris also discusses how to overcome psychological as well as physical obstacles to achieve weight loss. The book also includes his carb cycling diet.

A British study backed Heidi's discovery of just how well carb cycling works for weight loss. In that study, women eliminated high carb foods twice a week, eating normally the rest of the time. They lost nine pounds during a four-month period, compared to five pounds in four months for women who followed a daily 1,500 calorie Mediterranean diet.