Chris Powell, a trainer on the television series Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition, encouraged students to live with a purpose and believe in themselves when he visited Weber State University Thursday.
Powell, who was featured as part of the Convocations Lecture Series, works closely with obese individuals and helps them overcome obstacles preventing them from living a healthy lifestyle. He said the first step in reclaiming one’s life is accepting the fact that disappointment is inevitable.
“You’re going to fall flat on your face,” Powell said. “You’re going to binge, and you’re going to slack on your cardio and you’re going to do these things hundreds of times over the next year. And if you don’t think you are, you are setting yourself up for great disappointment.”
In order to avoid discouragement, Powell said, people need to expect to fall without failing. Disappointing oneself becomes an important learning experience for people seeking to change their lives.
“If you expect to transform for good,” Powell said, “you expect to fall flat on your face. And when you do, that is a beautiful thing because that is the ultimate opportunity to get back on your feet. If you don’t learn how to get back on your feet, you’re never going to get where you want to go.”
Additionally, Powell told those in attendance that a lifestyle transformation depends on integrity.
“Integrity is valuing your word to yourself,” Powell said.
Powell also said that one of the most important steps a person takes is deciding what kind of life he or she wants to live and simply working to develop habits that will accommodate the desired change.
“You can be whoever you want to be,” Powell said. “Whoever you want to be right now . . . all you have to do is whenever you find yourself in a situation, just live into that identity. Figure out who you want to be and be that person.”
Powell explained that when a person makes those decisions, it brings a renewed purpose to that person’s life.
“Live with a purpose,” Powell said. “There is a saying that the antidote for despair is purpose. If we don’t have a direction in life, as humans we’ll find ourselves in limbo, and that’s when we get destructive to ourselves. We have to take all of this passion and point it in a certain direction.”
Nichole Reid, a WSU senior and chairperson for Convocations, said Powell was a great addition to the lecture series. She explained that while last year many speakers represented areas in arts and humanities, those in charge of the events want to bring a more diverse group of guests to campus.
Allie Johnson, a junior at WSU, said she thought Powell’s message applied not only to those seeking to improve their physical health, but to anyone working to accomplish personal goals.
“You’ve got to be committed to yourself and believe in yourself,” Johnson said. “Know that you can do this. That’s what stuck out to me the most, that people don’t take it step-by-step anymore. People just want to jump into things and expect to see results just like that.”
While Powell’s message was inspiring to Johnson, other students had a more emotional reaction to the presentation.
“One girl was in tears when she was leaving,” Reid said, “and she just said, ‘Thank you so much for having him come because this was really helpful for me.’ And to me, that was worth it.”