Losing weight (and keeping it off) can be very difficult. So watching shows like the biggest loser is something that many can relate too the struggles. This show gets over a million views per episode. And it’s not surprising as you see the contestants transform their life and their health. You see them losing over 10lbs a week on a consistent basis and you are proud of them as they are getting healthy and looking better. If they only lose 5lbs in a week, you can’t help but feel disappointed. In reality losing 5lbs a week is on the extreme side. It is much safer and more sustainable to lose more like 2lbs a week.
According to many previous contestants, while you see many ups and downs on the show, it really doesn’t represent what really happens at the ‘ranch’. But what is the truth behind The Biggest Loser?
Contestant Calorie Intake Is Cut To Dangerous Levels
According to WebMD, the average moderately active adult male should eat around 2,800 calories. And a moderately active adult female just over 2,000.
Some of the contestants on The Biggest Loser were cut back to as low as 400 calories per day. It would be hard enough to function on that amount of calories. Let alone having to exercise for 7-9 hours on top of that. This is why you see contestants on The Biggest Loser collapsing and complaining. It’s because it is not natural. And not safe!
They Are Fed Foods With Very Little Nutrition
You would think that the contestants are being fed super healthy and nutritious food while on the show to make sure their bodies are getting as many nutrients and vitamins as possible to keep them going. Wrong! Most of the food that they are given is sponsor donated foods.
Former Biggest Loser contestant Kai Hibbard said the following. “My season had a lot of Franken-foods: I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray, Kraft fat-free cheese, Rockstar Energy Drinks, Jell-O.”
This is not the right way to lose weight for the long term. This is actually a good way to further mess up your body.
Contestants Are Worked Hard….Too Hard!
According to previous Biggest Loser contestants, there is no easing in period. Contestants are thrown right into the deep end. After all, that makes for far better TV. Right? So from day 1 they are working out for 5+ hours a day. And I’m not talking about walking for 5 hours. No. You can expect to do the following on your first day:
- Body-weight work
- Kettle bells
- Cool-down on treadmill
- Interval training
- Outside work with tires
This all wrecks havoc on the body if not firstly conditioned. Many contestants now have severe knee issues, thyroid issues, loss of period, just to name a few. This is an extreme stress on the body.
Cut From Their Families
In times of stress, one of the biggest comforting factors is support from your family and friends. But this is not the case on The Biggest Loser. Because producers believe that contestants will give away show secrets, they are not allowed to call home. Former contestant Kai Hibbard says that she was only able to call home once in 6 weeks and it was a supervised 5 minute phone call. This way there is no chance secrets would get out.
Contestants of The Biggest Loser are also cut off from each other. When not working out, contestants are confined to their rooms and not allowed to leave. You see if the contestants were allowed to talk with each other after hours, they would probably come to the conclusion that the whole show was ridiculous and do a mass exodus.
So Much Editing To Make The Show More Entertaining
Most of the show is not real. The producers are always trying to add more drama into the show and at the cost of the truth. For example, one contestant had a torn calf muscle from the shows workouts and against doctors orders, was made to run by one of the trainers. The contestant refused as the doctor said not to run. But the scene was edited to make it look like the contestant was lazy and full of complaints. When in reality they had a serious issue and their doctor advised against running.
The show is full of examples like this. It would be really interesting to see the show for what it really is and without all this editing to make for more entertainment.
But Contestants Lost Weight, That’s All That Matters Right?
Sure contestants lose a lot of weight during the show. But one of the biggest secrets of the truth behind The Biggest Loser is that almost all contestants put weight back on. It does vary how much but typically they put on at least half to three quarters of the weight they lost. Many contestants have put all the weight back on and some have put on even more then they lost.
So why is this?
Well, Dr. Kevin Hall, an expert on metabolism at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has been following the contestants of The Biggest Loser for 6 years after the show. And he believes it is all to do with the show destroying the contestants metabolisms. He found that in general the resting metabolisms (the amount of calories the body burns when resting) of the contestants greatly decreased due to the show. Contestants calorie intake was cut so severely that their bodies metabolism basically shuts down.
This means that the contestants metabolisms could not sustain their thinner body size. Most of the contestants now have a slower metabolism and burn far less calories then the average person their size.
So there you have it. Unfortunately the biggest loser in the show is the contestants themselves.