Why So Many Biggest Loser Stars Gain The Weight Back

Why So Many Biggest Loser Stars Gain The Weight Back

The Biggest Loser was once a reality TV juggernaut. Debuting in 2004, it pitted overweight people
against each other to see who could lose the most weight all in front of the cameras. But after the contestants returned home, nearly
all of them regained some if not all of their weight. Here’s what happened. “If you want 5 minutes of fame, and drastic
weight loss that you’ll never keep off, then join The Biggest Loser.” Fans of The Biggest Loser know that appearing
on the show isn’t something to go into lightly. That’s because the weight loss routine that
contestants followed was seriously intense. Once they got to the ranch, participants would
workout for up to eight hours a day, according to Kai Hibbard who told the New York Post, “There was no easing into it. My feet were bleeding through my shoes for
the first three weeks.” “Not hard enough. Not hard enough.” Yet another contestant who originally clocked
in at over 300 pounds told the paper that, on her first day, she was put through a routine
that involved rowing, body-weight strength work, kettlebells, treadmill, interval training,
a StairMaster, and working outside with tires. It was so intense she collapsed. She said, “I thought I was going to die. I couldn’t take any more.” …All that, as they were eating less than
1,000 calories per day, according to Hibbard. It’s not surprising that many participants
on the show lost a ton of weight even in the short span of five months. The hardcore exercise regimen and restricted
diets, combined with having some seriously intense trainers constantly telling them to
keep going, ended up being the ultimate weight-loss scenario. But was it? “That’s all it is. It’s a game show. It’s a competition.” After the show finished, contestants returned
to their normal lives and their families. And while they may have strolled through the
door boasting a newly chiseled body, the old temptations were still there waiting for them. “I just slipped back into my old habits really
quick within the next year or two. And within about 4 or 5 years I had put back
on all the weight.” Biggest Loser OG Ryan Benson admitted to Business
Insider, “It was real easy to slip back into old habits. The cameras aren’t on 24/7 so no one’s going
to see you pick up four donuts on the way to work.” Benson, who had shed 122 pounds, rewarded
himself with a burger and fries on the first day that he got home, adding, “That was one of the things that propelled
me to the finish line. I thought, when I’m done I’m going to get
this. It was a reward.” These days, Benson has committed to a workout
and eating plan that he can better maintain. “I’m still losing weight slowly and steady,
and I don’t plan on ever changing.” Unless you’re independently wealthy or are
lucky enough to have billionaire parents, chances are you need to work in order to pay
the bills. And unless your job is a professional athlete,
you probably don’t have the time to work out as much as the contestants did while they
were on the show. “When you gain weight back even when you’re
in school, it’s shameful. When you’re in front of America…it’s ten
times as shameful.” Danny Cahill the winner of the show’s eighth
season, actually quit his job as a land surveyor in order to maintain his exercise regimen
after he was sent home from the ranch, according to The New York Times. He started his day with 45 minutes on the
treadmill, followed by another 45 minutes after breakfast. After a 40-minute rest, he would hop on his
bike and travel nine miles to the gym, where he exercised for two and a half hours. After lunch and another brief rest, he would
drive to the gym for a second workout. Sometimes he would go back for a third workout
after dinner, and run at night if he was feeling up for it. “I was thinking it’s over, man I’m normal
now. I lost 240 pounds and now I can live a normal
life like everybody else.” But it wasn’t a lifestyle he could maintain. According to the USDA, the average woman needs
to take in about 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day, while men need about 2,000 to 3,000 calories
a day. But, of course, if you’re trying to lose weight,
you need to restrict that amount in order to run a deficit. That’s why when people go on a diet, the idea
is to eat less than what their bodies burns naturally, in hopes that they will shed excess
pounds. “I’m super excited to see Dolvett eat a piece
of pecan pie. He has been pushing the red team so hard in
the gym, it’s kinda funny to see him have to eat such fattening food.” But the diets that the contestants endured
on The Biggest Loser slashed far more calories than most standard diets. Consider the diet that Cahill followed after
he clinched the Season 8 victory crown. For breakfast, he would have one piece of
sprouted grain toast, half a grapefruit, one egg, and two egg whites, according to The
New York Times. For lunch, he would usually have one grilled,
boneless and skinless chicken breast, ten spears of asparagus, and one cup of broccoli. Dinner would likely be something similar,
following the low-carb, low-fat, high-protein model of breakfast and lunch. “We are not normal. We have to do extra.” Apparently even doctors watch reality TV at
least, Dr. Kevin Hall does, according to The New York Times. He was part of a team of scientists that studied
the Season 8 participants of The Biggest Loser, testing them to see how the show had actually
impacted their bodies. When the researchers released the results
in 2017, they divided the findings into two groups: the maintainers, who managed to keep
a significant amount of weight off, and the regainers, who did not. And what they found is that the maintainers
had increased their physical activity levels by a staggering 160 percent over what they
did before having participated on the show. On the other hand, the regainers only increased
their physical activity level by 34 percent over their pre-show exercise regimens. “To be 12/15 pounds above my finale weight,
and have to work my ass off to really keep it that way, I knew something was wrong.” The researchers couldn’t find any significant
difference in diets, which showed that getting more exercise was the key to keeping the weight
off. A 2016 study by the National Institutes of
Health uncovered something that might seem a little unfair. After testing the thyroid levels of contestants,
researchers discovered that they had dropped significantly, according to Harvard University. And since the thyroid governs metabolic function,
that means their metabolisms had slowed down after participating on the show. Talk about a raw deal. But that was something Danny Cahill knew already,
even if he didn’t yet have the scientific proof in front of him. He told the Times, “All my friends were drinking beer and not
gaining massive amounts of weight. The moment I started drinking beer, there
goes another 20 pounds. I said, ‘This is not right. Something is wrong with my body.'” “The moment that report came out I said I
have to go on camera. This has to be said. So the shame came off my shoulders and it’s
time to speak up.” In addition to uncovering information about
drastically reduced thyroid function, the study also uncovered an additional change
in the bodies of Season 8 participants, one that would make it even harder for them to
keep the weight off than your average Joe. Specifically, the leptin levels of the participants
had quote “plummeted,” per Harvard University. Leptin, a.k.a. the hormone that makes you
feel full, is secreted by fat cells that communicate directly with the hypothalamus in the brain,
sending a message that helps maintain energy, while inhibiting hunger. But when those leptin levels take a dive,
it triggers feelings of wanting to chow down. “Can we get another round of shots?” “Felicia!” That means that contestants would feel hungry
all of the time, given how little of the hormone is present in their systems. According to The New York Times, researchers
know that dieting slows down a person’s metabolism, no matter what size they are when they start
out. So when The Biggest Loser wrapped each season,
they expected participants to deal with the fallout. But what the researchers didn’t expect is
that the former contestants would never recover their former metabolic rate, as most people
eventually tend to do after dieting. In fact, they were downright shocked at the
results. Dr. Hall told the outlet, “It is frightening and amazing. I am just blown away.” It was as if the participants’ bodies were
working against them, trying to pull them back to their original weight forever. “It’s awful, embarrassing, I feel ashamed,
however from being on the show, there was no way I was gonna keep that weight off.” Robert Huizenga, who was the doctor on the
show, claimed he had hoped for a smaller drop in the contestants’ metabolism but he questioned
if the results were correct. One thing you won’t see on The Biggest Loser
are the instances when contestants are seriously injured which has happened more than once,
according to the New York Post. For one, Biggest Loser Ryan Benson was reportedly
so malnourished by the time the show ended that he was urinating blood. And in 2009, two participants were reportedly
admitted to the hospital, and one of them was said to have been airlifted. On top of that, Hibbard recalled seeing some
of her fellow contestants suffer injuries while working out. She told the paper, “One contestant had a torn calf muscle and
bursitis in her knees. The doctor told her, ‘You need to rest.’ She said, ‘Production told me I can’t rest.’ At one point after that, production ordered
her to run, and she said, ‘I can’t.'” Another cast member claimed that many of the
contestants have incurred permanent knee injuries. On top of all of the weird and difficult things
that have happened to former show contestants, there are still additional controversies out
there. “Last week, Jillian broke the rules and gave
caffeine supplements to each member of her team without the doctor’s permission.” One big controversy is that some of the show’s
contestants allege that they were drugged by the show’s Dr. Huizenga, according to the
New York Post something that could damage their metabolism. Joelle Gwynn, who competed on the show in
2008, claimed that trainer Bob Harper’s assistant gave her pills from a paper bag, saying they
would help her. She recalled, “I felt jittery and hyper. I went and told the sports medicine guy. The next day, Dr. H gave us some lame explanation
of why they got added to our regimen and that it was up to us to take them.” Suzanne Mendonca from Season 2 spoke of other
alleged horrors, claiming, “People would take amphetamines, water pills,
diuretics, and throw up in the bathroom. I vomited every single day.” And as if things couldn’t get any wilder,
she said Harper was happy about that. As of mid 2019 Huizenga is in court, according
to The Hollywood Reporter, pursuing a defamation suit against the New York Post and former
contestant Gwynn. With everything that’s coming to light about
the weight-loss methods used on the show, it’s arguably evident that those approaches
aren’t exactly ideal for long-term, sustained weight loss. That means that many obese individuals are
going to be looking for new ways to shed excess weight and keep it off for good. Fortunately, weight loss surgery is looking
like a viable option for people, as gastric bypass patients’ metabolisms speed back up
within a year, according to Dr. Jennifer Kraschnewski, associate professor of medicine and public
health sciences at the Penn State College of Medicine. Although the reasons for its success are still
being researched, she told CNN that it likely has something to do with the complicated connections
between the brain, the gut, and hunger-regulating hormones. Equally important is the perspective that
people have about obesity itself. She explained, “The take-home point here is that obesity
really is a disease. It’s not something that you can treat once
and will cure it. It’s something that has to be continually
addressed in one’s life.” It’s unclear if The Biggest Loser will ever
return to TV, once again pitting contestants against one another for that coveted $250,000
prize. It’s certainly not that there’s a lack of
interest in weight loss reality shows, as is evidenced by the success of TLC’s My 600-lb
Life, but perhaps the details that have surfaced about the Biggest Loser’s long-term results
have sullied its reputation. Former executive producer of The Biggest Loser,
JD Roth, did throw his resources behind another show, a six-episode series called The Big
Fat Truth in 2017, according to Forks Over Knives. “I believe that the way to do this is a way
we have not tried on any weight loss show I have ever done over the last almost 15 years.” The show, which featured former contestants
from The Biggest Loser, among others, stressed the importance of a whole-food, plant-based
diet for a healthy weight. “You’re not gonna believe what happens.” Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more List videos about your favorite
stars are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the
bell so you don’t miss a single one.

7 thoughts on “Why So Many Biggest Loser Stars Gain The Weight Back

  1. The obesity rate in my city is up to 41%. Most never walk because there's nothing to walk to. Most drive their cars.
    "Sorry, too busy right now." …They were talking to the fast food drive thru speaker.

  2. When it started talking about the metabolism😖. Ofcourse, the extreme exercise and limited eating would make anybody lose weight. It's hard to stay in that healthy green zone. It should never go to the yellow or red zones. Eat(healthy), exercise(healthy), self- control, & being mentally(healthy)

    This reminds me of Fluffy and his 1 more piece of cake joke😆

    I'm not in the best place I COULD be, but I'm in a good place. Mentally(not killing myself over if I mess up), having self-control(most of the time), doing exercise(walking), and being conscience of what I eat.

    Again, not killing myself over it. But, I'm conscience about it. 👍🤩👍

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *