The Biggest Loser is one of the most popular TV shows on, boasting some 10 million viewers each week. But is the show transparent about its contestants push to lose weight?
Now, I’ll be the first to say that The Biggest Loser is inspiring, and doing good for a lot of contestants while also giving hope to viewers that they can do it too. I have personally run two Biggest Loser contests where we focused on lifestyle changes (as opposed to dramatic weight loss). Also, the techniques described here are “not allowed” by the show and could lead to disqualification- but apparently are done anyway.
However, consider the story of Ryan C. Benson- the first season’s winner. He is self described as “shunned” by the show because he has gained back nearly all of his weight- now over 300 pounds again. Also, he admitted to doing extreme fasting and using dehydration techniques in order to weigh less to win the program. Extreme meaning no water for 24 hours prior to weigh in to the point of urinating blood.
Kai Hibbard, runner up in season 3, confirms the extreme dehydration techniques, reporting that many contestants would not drink the 24 hours prior to a weigh in and when the cameras were off would be working out in as many clothes as possible to sweat out excess water weight. It is reported that some contestants would gain as much as 20% of water weight back after the weigh ins. That’s over 50 pounds for some!
Additionally, it has been proposed that a “week” on the show may be two or three weeks in real life. Not to mention that contestants work out on average between 4 and 6 hours per day. Neither of these are realistic or sustainable for the average person.
Extreme fasting, crash detox diets, and manipulating water weight- all bad ideas for sustainable weight loss. If you would like some real answers for weight loss that are both safe and work, then fill out the form on the right and I will personally coach you through some common sense approaches to weight management.