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The Biggest Loser – Gone Too Far?

I have been watching The Biggest Loser for years. I love watching the transformations that happen on the show. People who thought that they were hopeless, stuck and destined to be miserable get to the root of their issues and come out on the other side armed with tools to live a healthy life. 

As I was watching the finale last night, I saw something that made my heart drop. As the final member of the final three stepped out on stage, it was immediately clear that she had crossed over the line. Rachel didn’t look healthy and trim, she looked aged and dangerously thin. I say “dangerously thin” because while she may only be a few pounds underweight now, it is what is going on in her head that is the real danger. From what I can find online, Rachel is 5’4” and 105 pounds. The minimum someone her height should weigh is 108 pounds. The nature of the show, the winner having the largest percentage of weight loss, is such that the only way Rachel could win against the two other finalists, and the weight they lost, is to lose the amount of weight she lost and left her weighing only 105 pounds.  

If you watched, and saw the look on all three trainers faces, you know they were shocked at how Rachel looked, too. Where does the line get drawn? How much is too much? Should the winner be ineligible if they are underweight at the finale? 

I am not judging Rachel, I am genuinely concerned. Having struggled with anorexia for as long as I have, I understand how easy it is to fall into the patterns that can quickly turn dangerous. Just one more pound and I’ll stop. Just another mile and it’ll be enough. Just one more. 

2 comments to The Biggest Loser – Gone Too Far?

  • The stories told and journeys portrayed on this show are inspiring, but the basis for the show is flawed. Consider two contestants with an ideal weight of 150# where one weighs 300 pounds and the other 330. If the 330 pound contestant drops to their ideal weight of 150 pounds for a 55% weight loss, the 300 pound contestant MUST drop below their ideal weight to compete. That has always bugged me about this show.

  • Michelle

    I stopped watching the show because I felt that it was portraying an unrealistic approach to losing weight. They are placed in an environment with all the tools needed (nutrition, training, support) to succeed. Work is taken away. Family responsibility is taken away. Huge losses week to week (sure, there are weeks they plateau or gain). Hours spent in the gym. . Realistic for an overweight person who is going at the process at home, with work, with family, with temptation, with the real life day to day occurrences other than going to the gym? No. And the psychological side to the process barely gets touched.

    But, it is ALL about the numbers. Yet we are told to focus on being healthy, not the number, not on being skinny, but on being healthy. This show does just the opposite, it is all about…lose that weight, drop them pounds, who can lose the most this week, just because you did not lose the most you are gone, you are off the show. But let us not take into consideration if these people doing this in a healthy way, what is best for their bodies and minds.

    The transformations and stories are truly inspiring, and I give contestants so much credit to embark on a serious weight loss journey on television. I am not going to comment on Rachel, I think that the facial expressions on the tranier's faces say it all, but I hope she reaches for the road to health, not skinny.

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