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My jaw dropped when Rachel walked out at the finale on Tuesday night, but I wasn't necessarily shocked. The last few BL finales, I walk away thinking, "I'm not watching next season." It took me awhile to get into this past one, but eventually I got sucked in - especially with the Olympic and triathlon episodes. If I could have one wish granted for Christmas it would be for The Biggest Loser to be removed from television for good. Probably the biggest problem with the show is that despite it being reality TV, it is so far from reality that failure is almost guaranteed for the contestants.
Anyone who has worked with people on losing significant amounts of weight will tell you that losing large amounts of weight is all about one thing - changing behaviors.
I wanted to win so bad that the last ten days before the final weigh-in I didn't eat one piece of solid food! Even ignoring the weight loss, which as you can see isn’t a great indicator of actual fat loss (a better measurement would be a DEXA scan), there is the question of the training. On one episode shown in Australia, the trainers picked their teams on day one by making the brand-new-to-training, severely overweight contestants run up and down the beach.
This brings me to my next point - substantial weight loss is about changing habits and creating sustainable patterns for the rest of the clients’ lives.
I think when I was on the actual ranch we were eating between 1,000 and 1,200 calories a day, I’m not certain. So I got to a point where I was only eating about 1,000 calories a day and I was working out between 5 and 8 hours a day… And my hair started to fall out. While the show has been helpful at motivating some people to get off the couch and get moving, I know many fitness professionals feel the same way as I do. Andrew Read is like that old guy in the Rocky movies - he has a funny accent, hates everyone, and no one ever knows if he's happy or sad.
Even back in grade school his teachers would complain he was spending too much time reading bodybuilding magazines or trying new exercises in the gym.
Premiering Tuesday, May 28, the new season of the ABC series, formerly known as "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition," takes twins with a combined weight of 868 lbs. The hit series returns for Season 3 as transformational specialist Chris Powell (author of the New York Times bestseller, "Choose to Lose," and the recently released "Choose More, Lose More for Life"), documents the amazing makeover of 15 courageous, "super obese" people who, in an unprecedented 365 days, set out to safely lose up to half of their body weight, ultimately revealing an amazing metamorphosis.
From the producers of ABC's celebrity diving series, "Splash," "Extreme Weight Loss" is executive-produced by JD Roth, Todd A. In addition to having participants continue to work alongside transformation specialist and trainer Chris Powell, the show is taking a unique approach to the upcoming season: each participant will spend the first 90 days of his or her weight loss journey at the renowned University of Colorado's Anschutz Health and Wellness Center in Aurora, Colorado. The Anschutz Health and Wellness Center offers some of the country's most advanced research and science-based expertise, focusing on a comprehensive wellness approach that includes weight loss and management, fitness and nutrition services. As she embarked on her weight-loss journey with the show, however, she became obsessed with the number on the scale, and that obsession turned into a devastating eating disorder. As a prize, the show arranged for surgery to remove the excess skin that remained after her massive weight loss. She hadn't learned how to keep her weight off – only how to lose it in the first place. Since the early 2000s, extreme-weight-loss shows have been a staple of American TV programming. I hear people call these shows "inspiring" and "life-changing," but in truth, in my opinion these shows are doing more to hurt our understanding of healthy living than then they are to help it.
They're a Short-Term Solution to a Long-Term ProblemThe boot-camp atmosphere of these shows teaches us how to lose weight quickly, not how to keep it off. Sure, you see the "success stories" on the covers of magazines and in '"Where are they now?" episodes. They're Sending the Wrong MessageIn several of these programs, the reward for winning is a cash prize.
When the camera goes off, the newly thin contestant is placed right back into the routine that enabled him or her to become obese in the first place. They May Lead to Long-Term Weight GainSome of these shows have their contestants work out for hours a day.
In fact, LiveScience reported that two contestants from season eight were hospitalized after collapsing during a run. The risk in all three cases was significantly higher because the contestants had been severely obese and inactive for many years. It Makes People Unlikable, and May Lead Us to Become Unlikable OurselvesResearchers have also investigated how The Biggest Loser affects viewers. Finally, a third investigation found that viewers were less inclined to exercise because of how it's portrayed on the show.
Instead of driving, she started walking to meet her friends for coffee, and spending less time chained to a treadmill in a gym. I realize that The Biggest Loser: The Lifespan Challenge wouldn't be compelling TV, but it would make for the better lesson.
There's less money power and marketing behind it, so the seasons are more spread out and aired during off times (summertime versus winter).
Sure, contestants are able to drop astonishing amounts of weight in a short period of time, but the real problems start when the poor contestants are voted out or the show finishes.

Nearly half of the contestants have returned to heavier body weights than what they finished the show at. I stopped eating solid food after eating only protein and asparagus (a diuretic) then I had two colonics and spent the night before the weigh in and out of a sauna. With contestants reporting that it is not unusual for them to train anywhere from four to six hours daily, it’s pretty clear the hopes of learning sustainable practices from The Biggest Loser are nil. I don’t know which Wheaties box these trainers got their qualifications from, but expecting a severely out-of-shape person to run is a sure-fire way to have a medical issue crop up.
It's not about humiliating them and nationally broadcasting what is already a very uncomfortable situation. With a final weigh-in and TV ratings still on the line, contestants can expect to be hassled by the production crew daily about their weight and training, as well as receiving constant reminders about how thankful they should be for being treated like some kind of public Christmas turkey (except in this case they are being starved instead of fattened up). We would rather the show be about education, changing habits, and teaching people how to get in shape and stay that way, while balancing their lives at the same time.
David, who weighs in at 470 pounds, and Rebecca, who weighs 398 pounds, spent their childhood making people laugh. In each of the 13 stand-alone, two-hour episodes, the participants undergo a transformation not only of their bodies, but of who they are as individuals.
Spurred to lose weight drastically and swiftly, she shed a whopping 207 pounds in less than a year – more than half of her body weight. She couldn't sustain her extremely restricted caloric intake and the hours of exercise every day, and on top of that, she suffered from the crippling anxiety that came with knowing she couldn't keep going on like this – and feared the weight would come back. From The Biggest Loser to Extreme Makeover to Shedding for the Wedding, we've been tuning in to watch regular Joes duke it out to see who can lose the most weight.
Weight management involves making a long-term commitment, as well as implementing changes to our everyday lives. But for every "success story," there is at least one participant who has gained some, if not all, of the weight back. This turns what could be an amazing lesson on life and healthy living into an attitude of "winning at any cost." So, after eight weeks, the person who lost the most weight (no matter how he or she did so) wins!
In reality, it's about focusing on the process – how can we tweak our everyday lives to be healthy in a sustainable way? First of all, no one should go from being completely sedentary to training like an Olympian; that's just asking for injury. News & World Report, as many as 90 percent of the contestants on the show purportedly regain all their lost weight. Another contestant from season nine was treated for exhaustion after trying to ride 26 miles on a stationary bike.
In one study, viewers expressed increased disdain for overweight people, even after watching just one episode.
He started her on a Shaklee program that gave her the knowledge and tools that she needed to create a healthy, sustainable routine.
I started her off with a Fitbit, insisting she never go a day without taking at least 10,000 steps. Between Shaklee's nutrition program and my simple movement plan, Jacqui learned not measure her happiness with a number on a scale, and to focus more on what she has control over, such as moving and eating. For the first time in her life, she says, she's in a place where she can understand what it means to be healthy and happy (and thin) in the long term.
We need to be patient with ourselves and learn how to make little sustainable changes in our lives, which, in turn, will make the long-term difference.
Extreme Weight Loss Season 4 is set to air in early summer, and they're currently casting Season 5. I'm certainly smart enough not to take everything that is said or happens as reality, but I do worry about those that may. There, instead of only having to get to training each day, they will be faced with kids, job stress, all their interpersonal relationships, and even doing their own food shopping. The goal of any good trainer is to teach clients the habits they will need to be successful if that trainer were not around to help them. Its basically drinking lemonade made with water, lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. There is no way anyone who has kids and a job can manage to fit in that much training on a daily basis for an extended period of time.
There is no difference when someone weighs four hundred pounds to making them weigh in with or without their shirt. At that point, [I had] all the pressure on me, and [I was] trying to do right by what I had been told is the best thing to ever happen to me. They’re exercise terrorists, holding reason, professionalism, and common sense for ransom. When ratings drop, the show will be dropped too, and then the true professionals can go back to doing their jobs right - without all the screaming, public humiliation, eating disorders, and injuries. Behind the smiles there were tears of pain from a difficult upbringing that led them to use food as an outlet. By assuring they have the proper nourishment and exercise, Powell provides a fresh perspective to individuals whose lives have become unmanageable because of their weight.

Knowing she needed a change, but having no idea where to start, she applied to, and was chosen for, the television show Extreme Weight Loss. She was binge eating again, her metabolism was all over the place, and she was having a slew of health problems. I'll admit even I have gotten wrapped up in the compelling stories and dramatic before-and-after transformations. In a second study, viewers were more likely to think of obesity as a condition influenced mostly by lack of self-control. With the proper direction, Jacqui was finally learning how to nourish herself healthfully and enjoy food again in the real world. While extremely heart-wrenching, I don't relate with them as much anymore (and sometimes it feels like a soap-opera). My hope is that the increase of ratings and expectations don't ruin the show like it did with Biggest Loser. If the right habits aren’t in place, then these people will quickly fall back into their old ways once old stressors are reintroduced to their lives. Those who have been successful are those who have continued to exercise regularly and make eating right a priority. The rules of the show said we couldn't use any weight-loss drugs, well I didn't take any drugs, I just starved myself!
But I was in a different place, I knew winning the show could put us in a better place financially and I was willing to do some crazy stuff. Not to mention that many of the sessions shown on TV are solely for the amusement of the audience, and not for value to the contestants.
However, the production team dressed it up to make even more drama out of it and it was the main point that was advertised for that week’s episode. Weighing in shirtless only makes things more sensational and serves to belittle the contestants more. And they would tell you all the time, ‘200,000 other fat girls were in line right behind you. Not to get too completely graphic, but my period stopped altogether and I was only sleeping 3 hours a night.
From the worst pad-holding technique I’ve ever seen from someone who purports to have been a professional boxer, to kettlebell form that makes my spine hurt just to watch, these are hardly shining examples of some of the stars who legitimately work within the industry. After Chris Powell decides to help the twins on their 23rd birthday, he realizes they're extremely co-dependent and enable each other's poor decisions, especially when it comes to their weight.
He guides each of the participants through their transformation process by moving into their homes with their families or loved ones. The contestants may not be properly equipped with the knowledge or the tools to sustain a healthy life for themselves. I showed Jacqui how to move more and work out less by focusing on moving when she'd normally be sitting. Twenty-four hours before the final weigh-in I stopped putting ANYTHING in my body, liquid or solid, then I started using some old high school wrestling tricks. All this torture I put myself through has had no lasting effects on me (that I know of) and at the time it was sort of a fun adventure for me -- but I am sure it wreaked havoc on my system. I just want to reiterate that - the best thing they could come up with for advertising was to point out that their trainers were so negligent that they injured a brand-new client. The only positive thing I have to say about the trainers from the show is that they are really good at yelling.
After a tearful goodbye, the twins are split up for a 90-day challenge, with Rebecca going to Arizona to work alongside Chris's wife, Heidi. The upcoming season is filled with remarkable and eye-opening changes, including a married couple, and the inspiring story of an amputee who worked to shed the weight he gained after losing his limb. Now that the show had ended, Jacqui had traded one set of unhealthful behaviors and symptoms for another: She was lighter, yet more unhealthy and unhappy than ever.
I wore a rubber suit while jogging on the treadmill, and then spent a lot of time in the steam room. At the beginning of his weight loss journey, David said he'd always wanted to go through Navy SEAL training to show his dad that "he was a man." Chris takes the twins on his toughest milestone challenge to a rigorous "Kokoro" training camp designed to forge mental toughness and modeled on Navy SEAL Hell Week.
This time commitment to exercise makes for great entertainment but, I think, ultimately conveys a warped sense of reality.
But when the twins' old habits begin to reemerge, Chris becomes concerned they may not be able to meet their weight loss goals. Just like many of the contestants of the show, I watched my weight balloon feeling somewhat helpless. I related to the everyday people who were struggling - not only weight but self-worth issues.

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