Big Losers, Big Health Risks?

biggestloserIf you’ve ever watched The Biggest Loser, you know contestants drop ungodly amounts of weight at lightning speed. It’s an inspiring show, even if it needs a major disclaimer saying that it is NOT normal to lose 15 pounds in a week. Ever.

The show has come under fire recently as contestants have admitted to using drastic weight-loss techniques to drop pounds, and a contestant’s heat stroke incident this past season highlights the dangers of overexertion. As the winner of season one is reported to have gained back most of his weight, it’s clear the show has a dark side. As one doctor said, attaching a money prize to the competition takes the focus off of health and puts it onto the big win. Lesson of the day? If you’re trying to lose weight, do it for you, do it to be healthy and don’t do it drastically.

Biggest health risks.


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  1. clear says:

    Most people who lose lots of weight gain it back because the weight they were formerly at is simply the weight at which they are genetically predetermined to be. Studies show that it is healthier for someone ‘heavy’ to maintain a stable weight throughout their lives while eating well and doing moderate exercise than to it is to have fluctuations in their weight to due strange dietary regimes with the goal of losing said weight.

  2. April says:

    In response to the previous post, no one is genetically predetermined to be 500 lbs. But I do think more needs to be done to address the psychological reasons why these contestants are that big…not just the physical part of losing weight. I think this show is amazing, though, because it really has inspired a lot of people to get healthy.

  3. Susan says:

    I’ve noticed a lot of Biggest Loser contestants also have a lot of loose skin from losing the weight so quickly. Not a huge health risk, but definitely a nasty side effect to the rapid weight loss on the show. I hope they don’t have to use their prize money to pay for the skin removal :\

  4. katrina m says:

    i watch the biggest loser, and find it very motivating to me. yes it is drastic, but it is still hard work for these people. they are put through grueling days and workouts. i don’t envy them much.

    however, i do wish they would show more on tv about nutrition, what they eat, how they balance calories in vs calories out. i wish they would show more about their emotional journeys of figuring out WHY they got to where they were at the beginning, and how they can avoid returning there. and i have to admit, this last season they really seemed to focus more on this aspect. talking to the contestants one on one, airing their breakthroughs of “why” they are how they are, what maybe pushed them over the edge to morbid obesity. they also talked more about how they can keep it off, how they need to change their lives.

    i do think the show can give some people sitting at home some unrealistic expectations of going on a diet and dropping 100 pounds in 5 months, but hopefully people can see past that and just work hard and do what’s best for their own bodies.

  5. I did a similar post a few weeks back and got a lot of mixed comments. Many people find the show inspiring. It’s important to keep in mind that the contestants are supervised and under a physician’s care at all times. In the real world, there isn’t always someone looking out for us.

    I question the training methods on TBL also. Clearly, some of the contestants have issues with their knees, but the first day on the ranch they are expected to do things like run uphill. All in all, I think the show can set people up for failure by making them assume that they are doing something wrong if they don’t lose double digits each week.

  6. I wrote an article back in September kind of along those lines. I think the fact that the show gets people moving in general is a great thing, but it doesn’t come without unrealistic expectations or potential health risks. You can read my take on it if you want to. http://www.nomorebacon.com/190/day-66-16-contestants-and-2-angry-trainers/

  7. Mary says:

    I think the bigger the person is the bigger the lbs per week can be. If you look at percentage of weight loss it is quite small. I agree that the show sets up unrealistic weight loss but they are also carefully supervised with medical personnel on hand. It worries me that people at home are trying to follow these wight loss plans without supervision. I have been calorie counting with sparks and lost 16 lbs in 2 months. sure it would be nice to drop 30 lbs in 30 days but at what risk to my body (and mind)