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The Biggest Loser Doesn't Work!
It didn't work then and it won't work now


As some of you recall in the past years our weight loss challenge was based on "The Biggest Loser" model was re-named "Lose to Win" (with a focus on breaking our chains to lose our diet mentality based on diet culture). "The Biggest Loser" was a weight loss show that got a ton of bad press for its brutal 'tough love' tactics of forcing people to work out until they almost drop, all to lose huge amounts of weight and win a cash prize and being horrible for the contestants' health. We want to take this opportunity to present a program that doesn't focus solely on weight loss, but more holistic health and well-being. 

Hannah Colby, Registered Dietitian, practices in nutrition therapy based on science and the biology of the body and works hard to combat what the diet companies and influencers want you to believe. Below are examples of what diet culture and influencers tell you vs. what a Registered Dietitian would say.

Below are some reasons why a weight challenge focused only on appearance and the numbers of a  scale as the main measure of success, is not benefiting your health and overall wellness:

  • Exercising hard enough to vomit is a great way to lose weight (actually, hard exercise can often backfire)

  • Our weight is entirely within our control (some is, a lot isn’t)

  • Fat shaming is a great way to ‘motivate’ people to lose weight. (research says shaming people about their weight actually makes them fatter) and look at this: there’s even a research study suggesting that non-obese people have increased anti-fat bias after watching weight loss shows like The Biggest Loser.

  • It’s okay to suffer if the end result is that you’re thin (nothing is further from the truth)

  • And even though the "model" has support groups, the entire ‘lifestyle change,’ including giving contestants counseling, is overshadowed by the fact that they’re still in it to win it. It’s a game, and there are winners and losers. Everyone wants to win.

A longitudinal study in an obesity research journal followed 14 former contestants over six years. It showed that the contestants significantly damaged their metabolism after losing weight so rapidly, and they had all regained the weight. 

  • Prior findings from studies of The Biggest Loser contestants showed not only that metabolism slows drastically following significant weight loss, but also that regaining the lost weight does not restore metabolism back to its pre-weight loss levels. This means people who have lost large amounts of weight must adhere to an extremely low-calorie intake in order to maintain that weight loss.

  • One show contestant lost 239 pounds and achieved a weight of 191 pounds, yet six years later, after re-gaining 100 pounds of that lost weight, had to consume an 800-calorie-per-day diet to maintain his weight. 

Indeed, weight loss creates a true “metabolism dilemma”. Our ability to burn calories after weight loss (our “metabolism rate”) slows significantly after weight loss for some very clear reasons. This article explains this more in details (highly recommend to read in its entirety.)

Additional Reading:

  1. If this is your first New Year not setting a weight loss resolution

  2. Understanding the Restrict-Binge Cycle: The Dieting Pendulum

  3. How We Get Trapped in the Diet Cycle and How to Break Free

  4. Health Conscious or Eating Disorder: Take this Orthorexia Quiz

  5. The Difference Between Dietitians & Nutritionists

I encourage each one of you to not diet. Our goal is to help you rediscover eating meat, fish, eggs, Greek yogurt and fermented foods. Eat some dark greens and cruciferous vegetables. Have some fruit (berries, oranges, etc.). Get some sunshine, build strength and laugh often. Limit refined carbohydrates and sugar. This is what I highly encourage you to focus on instead of the number on the scale and your appearance. If you focus on daily lifestyle factors, weight loss can be an outcome, with change of appearance without  being the primary focus. 

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