“Biggest Loser” Misunderstandings

Peter ForsterPhysical Conditions and Health, Self Care

Biggest LoserLast week on most everybody in my practice who has ever struggled with weight loss came in talking about the widely reported results of a follow-up study to the TV show “Biggest Loser.”

And almost everybody’s conclusion from the media coverage was that it seemed the media was suggesting that it was a waste of time trying to lose weight.

Most ‘Biggest Loser’ winners regain the weight they lost, and it reveals a disturbing truth behind many diets

There were a lot of studies with headlines like these.

But, whereas the follow-up study did make an important point about how hard it is to lose large amounts of weight and sustain that weight loss -“Out of 14 contestants he studied, 13 have regained weight….Four contestants are heavier today than they were before the competition began…” Missing from these stories was the reality that if the contestants have not tried to lose weight almost all of them would’ve continued gaining weight.

The fact of the matter is, without any effort at regulating diet, the average American can expect to gain more than a pound a year of weight.

And although there was a lot of attention focused on the risks of “yo-yo diets” several years back, the fact is that not trying to lose weight is associated with significantly poorer outcomes than trying to lose weight and regaining some of that weight.

So the take-home lesson should of been that losing weight requires constant vigilance rather than that losing weight is a waste of time…

And perhaps also that we need to devote more focus to how it is that we can prevent weight regain after a successful diet.

The author of the study notes, as we have said for years, weight loss is made possible by diet, not regaining weight requires adding exercise because of the changes in metabolism that occur with sustained weight loss…


“After the Biggest Loser Bodies Fought to Regain Weight.” New York Times. 

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