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Many "Biggest Losers" gain weight back


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So I was wondering how all the contestants on the Biggest Losers were doing now, and came across this interesting article:

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/40423712/ns/tod ay-entertainment/t/biggest-loser-where-are-th ey-now/#.Tm-heeyZhBl

Most of this is couched in inspiring tones, but glancing at their "finale weight" vs. "current weight" information, it kinda looks like more than half of the contestants have gained at least 30 pounds!  Now, some of the men might have gained weight through bodybuilding, but still, I found it to be a rather depressing article.

OTOH, other posts about this show here have talked about how the starvation-level calories (7 x the contestant's current weight, so if you're 200 lbs you only get 1400 calories) and the excessive exercise shown on this show set the contestants up for failure - they do a weight loss blitz, but don't make any long-term changes in their eating habits. 

I am feeling uneasy about this show.  It seems like it sets unreasonable expectations for how fast you can lose the weight, and their contestants don't seem to be able to sustain the weight loss.

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I love watching the show.  Really, I do.  I have been inspired by  these people lose weight, and I am thrilled when I see their true selves emerge from the camouflager of fat.  That said, I also believe that it sets us up for some unrealistic (and unhealthy) expectations.  I used to watch the show and think I ought to lose 10-15 pounds per week.  I thought that I, at 230 pounds, should match the activity level of these people.  (Nearly reinjured a knee trying to do that, BTW.)  Not only do they live on a "ranch" with 24/7 resources, but I have read that the "weekly" weigh-ins are not really that"  They are more like 10 days.  I also grow annoyed with all the "product placement" on the show.  It has grown so commercial.  I guess I can't fault people for wanting to cash in on their 15 minutes of fame, and actually I enjoy the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred.  I guess it undermines the validity of the show for me.  Just another example of "take what you need and leave the rest."

I'll probably watch the next season, too....but with new eyes.

It's Reality TV, not reality.

I find it interesting that the women seem to be more able to maintain their weight.

I've read screwy things about the show as well, such as the weigh in were 3-14 days apart, not every week. :/

I've heard that a lot of contestants do drastic things to get their weight as low as possible for the final weigh in, including losing a TON of water weight, so it's no surprise that some of them come back 10-15 lbs higher in real life now.  Most people that do lose a significant amount of weight struggle to keep it off long term, and I agree, kinda depressing for those of us in that position.

The show is not real it is a competition and everything on it is geared to that wow factor of impressive results in a (seemingly) short time. This feeds into everyone's desire for fast results.

It is unfortunate that so many people watch the show and are disappointed when they do not get the same effects from similar efforts. But that kind of extreme and fast weight loss plan is not sustainable.

What I took from this program though, is that so many people have the impression that if you are morbidly obese, the only solution to getting to a healthy weight is surgery. This show has proved otherwise. It is possible to lose a lot of weight through diet and exercise.

For me, the long term results of the contestants simply prove that weight loss is not just about eating less and moving more. You need to learn how to maintain that weight in a healthy way. Truly changing your lifestyle.

More importantly, you have to figure out why you got to your highest weight, no one is that hungry.

So you have to pair the "eat less, move more" philosophy with the mental process of discovering your triggers to overeat and finding different strategies to cope with stressful situations.

The thing that worries me about 'The Biggest Loser' is the unrealistic expectations it sets for the people watching in regards to their own weight loss. A woman I know was trying to lose weight. In her first week, she was moaning that she'd only lost a pound. Now this woman was not that overweight, not to mention she'd lost weight in her first week of trying. When I told her 1-2 pounds was a healthy amount to lose, she cited 'The Biggest Loser' as evidence for it being a dramatic loss. 

Original Post by candidateforwax:

The thing that worries me about 'The Biggest Loser' is the unrealistic expectations it sets for the people watching in regards to their own weight loss. 

I agree that the show gives the public a half-truth about weight loss:  that it can be done with calorie deficits and exercise (truth) but that it also can happen really fast (untruth).  Obviously, a show that features people losing weight over the course of a year at a healthy rate wouldn't sell advertising, but it does seem to mislead some people who are too lazy to do the research and find out what is normal for people losing weight.  

i hate the biggest loser.

 

i only watch it to seee the changes.

 

number one,its sooo unrealistic for people to loose 10 or 20 pounds in a "weeek"

number 2,alot of them starve themselfs for the finale.

they work out for hours upon hours and only eat as little as 1000 cals a day. not really a good message for people.

I think it's too bad that people get the message that rapid weight loss is possible.  I myself am losing about 2 lbs a month, and am happy with that because I feel like I am setting myself up for long-term success.  I've lost weight (more quickly than I am currently) before, and have always gained it back.  To me, weight loss is exciting and maintaining is boring because then I have to accept that I have to eat like this ALL THE TIME, and not just to lose weight but to maintain my weight.  Having people lose weight so quickly just makes them return to their old ways when they're done. 

I like to see the "before and afters" on the show, I always think before and after images are really motivating. But in general, I'm not a fan of the show. I've only really watched it a few times with my mom and I've never seen a whole season.

I don't think that weight loss should be a race. Everyone loses weight at a different pace, that doesn't mean that they're doing it "wrong." Weight loss isn't a one size fits all type of thing. Each person has to find what works for them. The show really does give people unrealistic expectations regarding how much weight they should be losing each week.

It's hard enough to stay motivated and patient with slow (but healthy!) weight loss without having the media tell you that you should be losing 5 pounds a week because that's what others can do. I think it's important to not take the show too seriously..it's a reality show that's airing to get viewers and make ratings. I'm sure that's their main priority and actually helping people get healthier comes second to that.

There have been a couple of stories about contestants developing eating disorders after the show was over.

And I agree with everyone, the show does give anyone who watches it unrealistic expectations for weight loss.

Original Post by candidateforwax:

The thing that worries me about 'The Biggest Loser' is the unrealistic expectations it sets for the people watching in regards to their own weight loss. A woman I know was trying to lose weight. In her first week, she was moaning that she'd only lost a pound. Now this woman was not that overweight, not to mention she'd lost weight in her first week of trying. When I told her 1-2 pounds was a healthy amount to lose, she cited 'The Biggest Loser' as evidence for it being a dramatic loss. 

There is a show called "Extreme Make-overs: Weight Loss Edition", which takes the weight loss candidate on a one year journey in different phases. First phase is with the weight loss/fitness coach living in the house for 3 months, with the tv/living room usually transformed into a gym. Great results. Then the trainer leaves and the obese individual is left to his own devices, going back to work, etc... And the weight loss usually starts to dwindle. Third phase, after a rebuke from the trainer, there is usually a "back on track" mentality and then at the end of the fourth phase, there's teh wow moment reveal where people will have lost up to 100-200 pounds in the year.    Only one guy failed totally, because he had a serious food addiction, and later checked into a facility to help with his problems.

Nebichan, that sounds like a much more sane approach for a weight loss reality show.

there is also a show called heavy on a&e where they go to a facility for a month and learn how to eat and exercise. then they go home for 5 months and try to do it on their own. if they fail to lose weight at home they have to option of going back to the facility. usually the people succeed, only the ones who are in denial of food addictions had trouble. most lose close to 100lbs (being at least150lb overweight). its a good show because its way more realistic.

 

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As a proud bbw this show is actually showing people what the public can't admit.  There are big people and small people.  It's nearly impossible to morph our body to change one way or the other. It simply does not hold water that 1000's of people got big including myself from eating all this so called food.  I have gone on 1200 and 1000 calorie diets for 8 months at a time and 12 months at a time only to loose only 20 pounds and this was in the first 2-3 months only - yeh I stuck to it I'm not a liar.  People are fine jus tlike God made them - he made big AND small.  The biggest loser show with the contestants gaining all the weight back once they go back to real life shows that even with nearly killing these people, putting them in near cardiac arrest nearly and all this supervision you can't overcome mother nature.  One thing for sure I'm glad Jillian Michaels is off the show this season with her belittling and berating.  She would not get away with doing this to me she would meet her match - you don't get to downgrade people because they are big.  Sorry I know the new 21st century buzz words are that we are food addicts and liars we are not - 1000's of us diet and exercise our whole lives to no avail.  I dare and challenge anyone to cal me a liar and a food addict.  Let's meet you'll meet your match!  Here's to big beautiful people everywhere.  If this were high blood pressure or diabetes and there was not real stuff you could do to help it people would march on Washington but because it's weight let's blame the people - this is wrong.  Here's to big people everywhere you're beautfiul!!!

Original Post by proudbbw:

As a proud bbw this show is actually showing people what the public can't admit.  There are big people and small people.  It's nearly impossible to morph our body to change one way or the other. It simply does not hold water that 1000's of people got big including myself from eating all this so called food.  I have gone on 1200 and 1000 calorie diets for 8 months at a time and 12 months at a time only to loose only 20 pounds and this was in the first 2-3 months only . . .

That's not what it shows at all.  It shows that going to extremes to lose weight doesn't work in the long term . . . but nobody with any sense advocates that, anyway.  The show probably would work most of the time if it followed a sane and healthy course of action.  However, it doesn't.  The methods it promotes would set almost all of us up for failure.

(For the record: Virtually anyone and everyone on here will tell you that 1000 and 1200 calorie diets are a recipe for long-term weight <i>gain</i>, not loss.)

"Supersize vs. Superskinny", shock tactics aside, has a much better long-term model.  After the initial showmanship of switching the huge vs. meager diets, they send the contestants home with doctor-designed meal plans.  Often, after six weeks, they come back with moderate weight loss or gain--nothing at all like you'd see on "The Biggest Loser", but they seem to do better on the one-year revisits than TBL alumni.

Just because the contestants often gain all the weight back, doesn't mean they'd be better off morbidly obese. Two wrongs don't make a right. As ootek said, if 'The Biggest Loser' advocated ACTUAL healthy eating and exercise, as opposed to starvation diets, they would probably have a much higher success rate. That way, they're gearing the contestants towards a healthy lifestyle (you can't get to your goal weight and then just eat whatever you want and expect to maintain), rather than trying to lose the most pounds in the shortest space of time. Maybe if you'd eaten more than between 1000 and 1200 calories a day (with 1200 calories being the limit for a small, sedentary woman and anything below that being starvation), you'd have seen better results too. Eating healthily is not about being hungry, despite what so many people seem to think.

I watch 'Supersize vs. Superskinny' too and it's definitely a lot better. I do wish they'd focus more on showing a healthy diet for an overweight and an underweight person, rather than making them switch diets for shock value, since each diet is unhealthy in its own way. But, yeah, as you said, they do focus more on leading a healthy lifestyle than TBL. I like their sections on anorexia too.

proudbbw - I'm glad you are happy with your body, and that you feel good about yourself.  I totally agree that the overweight are stigmatized and treated unfairly, and that it's totally wrong.  But I can't agree that some people are "naturally" obese.  There are people who are healthy while being over the "ideal" bmi, sure, but that's a far cry from saying people who are heavy enough to qualify as contestants for TBL (which I think is a horrible show) are that weight because of how they are built.

Also, I have to say, I used to talk and think much like you.  But I've lost 55 pounds.  I think obese people can lose weight, but it isn't easy and it isn't quick, and TBL style isn't the way to go.

As ootek and candidate said, 1,000 to 1200 calories a day probably would lead a large person to gain weight, not lose.  Weight loss stopping after a few months is exactly what I would expect; your body isn't getting enough calories and responds the only way it can - by becoming super-efficient at using those calories it does get.  Unfortunately, far too many people who try to lose weight go that route, and of course it doesn't work.

If, at some point, you should decide to try to lose weight, try getting a reasonable estimate of the calories you are actually burning and/or eating per day, then aim for a deficit of 500-800 a day.  That would give you a reasonable amount of weight loss, and your body won't react so quickly.  Then, after 6 months, stop and focus on maintaining your new weight for a few weeks to a couple of months.  You can try for further weight loss after that.

That's if you decide to lose weight, of course.  I'm not trying to talk you into it, just sharing a more practical way of approaching weight loss that would have a greater chance of success.

But, regardless of your weight, I hope that you are exercising.  Exercise will make you healthier, stronger, and make you feel better.  It's the second healthiest thing you can do for your body (the first being not smoking, of course).

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