I cannot tell a lie. One of my guilty pleasures is watching reality TV shows. Rupaul’s Drag Race,  ANTM/GNTM (Germany’s Next Top Model), Top Chef,  Ink Master (what?? I hear you cry) and, until it was cancelled , The Biggest Loser!

The Biggest Loser? Erm… never heard of it.

What? Where have you been?? The show features obese or overweight contestants competing to win a cash prize of $250,000 by losing the highest percentage of weight relative to their initial weight. There is even a version of it here in Germany.

Although it is very entertaining, and has well meaning intentions, the people on the show are put through punishing (and sometimes humiliating) tasks and exercises in order to get them to lose the maximum amount of weight each week. There have been many critics of the show, There are strong rumours that the show has been cancelled due to bad publicity from previous contestants, dubious weight loss methods and negative conclusions  relating to research into weight loss.

Research Into Rapid Weight Loss Hasn’t Helped The Show

A study that specifically measured the long‐term changes in resting metabolic rate (RMR) and body composition in 14 participants of “The Biggest Loser” competition. Published by the Obesity Journal, it found that the contestants’ metabolisms had slowed down dramatically as they lost weight and now they must eat hundreds of calories less per day than people of a comparable size, just to maintain their new weight. Without adhering to this extra burden, they will gradually gain back the kilos and return back to their  body’s “preferred weight”.

Conversely, other studies that focused on the metabolism and weight loss, have found no negative effects on metabolism after gastric bypass.

Shockingly, only one of the 14 Biggest Loser contestants studied weighs less today than when they ended their series. Four of them are now heavier than before they went on the show. Watch ABC News’ summary report here.

Loser or Winner?

Ryan Benson: Season 1 Winner

Ryan (above L to R: before, after & now photos) was the winner of the very first season of the Biggest Loser back in 2004 but by 2017 Ryan had gain more weight than when he was on the show which, when you consider that he lost 55kg (122lbs) is no mean feat!

“I slipped back into my old habits real quick. Within the next year or two and in about four or five years I had put back on all of the weight,” he told Inside Edition.

“I was eating a cheeseburger, fries and ribs right after the final weigh in,”  Ryan Benson.

Recently Ryan has decided (who knows why!) to rejoin the ‘weight loss via TV method’ to achieve his goal to be a lighter and fitter person. You can see him talk about his experience here.

Erik Chopin: Season 3 Winner

Erik Chopin (above L to R: before, after & now photos) was the winner of The Biggest Loser in 2006. Before appearing on the show, Chopin attempted and often failed at losing weight and keeping it off. He lost an incredible 97 kg (214lbs). Since the show, Erik has been vocal about his weight gain, admitting to Oprah Winfrey on her show in 2009 that he gained back 79 Kg (175lbs) pounds. Today, he’s on a new fitness and diet plan and weighs 144 Kg (245lbs).

Danny Cahill: Season 8 Winner

Danny (above L to R: before, after & now photos) was the winner of the eighth season of the Biggest Loser with a starting weight of 195 Kg (429lbs)  but by the end he had lost a staggering 108 Kg (238lbs). In 2016, Danny revealed that he gained much of the weight back and is now 295 pounds.

The only place to point the finger is at the man in the mirror. Patrick House

Patrick House: Season 10 Winner

There are exceptions to this weight gain “rule” and Patrick House (above L to R: before, after & now photos) is one of them. He won the title of Biggest Loser  in 2010 by losing 82 Kg (181lbs), his ending weight was 99 Kg (219lbs).  Patrick has put on a fraction of his original weight and he is currently 120Kg (265lbs). He is very critical of the research. “The weight I have gained back is directly proportional to my time focused on diet and gym time,” he says.

When reading the through the headlines, the contestants on The Biggest Loser seem to have all gained weight after filming has ended. But when you look at the amount of weight that they have put on, most are not as heavy as they were on their first day on the Biggest Loser Ranch. The research has highlighted at least one important thing, rapid weight loss is definitely not the way to lose weight as it makes it harder to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

LIIB