The Biggest Loser Participants Appear To Lose Weight Initially But 6 Year Follow-Up Tells Different Story
In 2010, 6 men and 8 women gave their consent to scientists to measure long-term weight loss before they began The Biggest Loser. These 14 individuals were in a unique position. First they had been accepted onto The Biggest Loser. Second, they were the first participants of The Biggest Loser to give their permission to scientists to measure their long-term weight loss results. 6 years later this study was published.
Here Is What Happened To These 14 People 6 Years After The Biggest Loser
- Initially the 14 participants weighed on average 328 pounds (about 149 kg) and after the 30-week challenge, they weighed around 200 pounds (91 kg). 6 years later their average weight was 290 pounds (131 kg).
- Only one person did not regain any weight
- Body fat started at an average of 49%, dropped to 25% during the 30-week challenge, and then 6 years later was back at 45% on average.
However Metabolism Slowed Down And Never Regained
There is a persistent myth in culture today that you can speed up your metabolism by exercising. Metabolism is important for health because the slower your metabolism, the less you can eat and not gain weight. Metabolism is like how quickly your body burns through fuel, sort of like a fireplace.
If your body runs really hot (so to speak) and has a high metabolism, then you can eat more without gaining weight. If you body runs lower on metabolism, you don’t burn through the fuel as quick. So you would need to eat less than the fast-burning person to avoid gaining weight.
Here’s where things get alarming. The resting metabolism of these 14 participants, on average, started around a natural burning rate of 2607 calories. So on average, these 14 participants would ‘burn’ through 2607 calories just by doing their normal daily life.
However, after 30 weeks of competition, their metabolism rates had dropped to 2000 calories per day. Despite tons of exercise, their metabolism slowed down.
What Does This Mean?
The Biggest Loser is an entertainment show. It’s actually not about sustained long-term weight loss. This is incredibly unfortunate because The Biggest Loser promotes this myth that exercise and extreme dieting works! The real results of much different than what’s purported. Furthermore, people can actually harm themselves by doing exercise and extreme dieting!
In my experience working with people with eating struggles, people come to see me after years of dieting. Only after years and decades of dieting do people start to really fundamentally feel that dieting is bad for their health. Shows like The Biggest Loser fail to mention the harmful effects of dieting, like slowing down metabolism. Most people think that trying to lose weight by extreme dieting is safe. That, even if the weight does come back, there’s no long-term damage being done.
Please be aware of the popular dieting hype because what we’re seeing here is the opposite. We need to be aware that trying to lose weight in extreme methods does have long-term negative consequences.
This guest post was brought to you by Jared Levenson, an Overeatering Coach who runs EatingEnlightenment.com. He helps professionals who struggle with overeating to master holistic skills by offering a free video course to stop binge eating at https://eatingenlightenment.com.
Interesting article but we also have to remember that when you drop weight your body isn’t as big anymore so you will naturally burn less as you’re not carrying around that excess weight and the closer you get to a healthy weight the less your body will want to lose weight for fear you’ll go underweight either so this trend does naturally happenReply