The Biggest Loser 2014 - Too Big a Loser?

Bob and Jillian - Complete shock and horror??
As someone who has always struggled with weight issues, The Biggest Loser is one of those shows - out of the reality show heap - that I really love watching as it brings such positive change into the lives of the participants. Moreover, it seems to inspire so many who are struggling with the burden of weight gain to really make some healthy changes in their lives.

Some of the contestants who returned for last night's finale looked amazing. Tumi stands out most for me. She lost a ridiculous amount of weight and looked good - really good. She looked happy and more importantly, she looked healthy. Tumi was hardcore from the beginning and I am so glad she won the "At Home" prize.

Tumi - Biggest Loser - Looking amazing. Good job, girl.

But when Rachel walked on to the stage, I was shocked and perhaps a bit sad.  As you can see from the photo of Bob and Jillian - they were pretty horrified as well.I immediately thought - "She is way too thin". I am not even trying to take away her months and months of hard work, discipline, tears and resolve.She, like Tumi, worked super hard and lost a great deal of weight - 155 lbs to be exact to end at at 105 lbs, at a height of 5' 4". However, I felt she did not look healthy - she looked almost anorexic. What do you think?

Rachel Frederickson, Biggest Loser 2014 - From one extreme to the next?

And this compared to what she looked like before the season finale. Not saying this is her ideal weight but she looks worlds better at this weight than she does now. She was not even this small when she was a state championship swimmer - an athlete!!! C'mon...

Rachel Frederickson - after her Biggest Loser makeover

Rachel Frederickson last night - pretty girl but she looks so gaunt.
And she is only 24.

I was really conflicted about who should win after seeing her. On the one hand, I felt she did not represent healthy weight loss. She looked incredibly frail and even when she tripped on the way to her final weigh in, I thought she would break. I felt like this perception of weight loss should not be rewarded.

On the other hand, she worked hard - not denying this, but more worrisome, the self-image issues seem to be very real, and I wondered if not rewarding her hard work would make her somehow think she was not the biggest loser - not as small as she should have been to win.

The Biggest Loser last night sparked a lot of reactions - but I think one thing I took away from it is that the show and the whole concept may need to be tweaked a bit. It has to be more than simply losing a whole heap of weight, especially if it becomes too much weight. Perhaps the participants should be set a target weight as someone suggested on Twitter - a healthy target weight. It should not be getting so thin to the point of looking frail, just to win money!

There were a lot of mean comments on social media which are not constructive. No matter what side of the weight spectrum one is on, hurtful comments never contribute anything meaningful or positive. I just hope that Rachel gets some support as she resumes her life.


23 comments:

  1. So sorry I didn't get to see the finale but I'll tell you this; if you dig deeper into the show itself and what the contestants have to do to have those incredible weight loss figures each WEEK you will know that this was probably inevitable. It is sad to see because many weight loss commentators have argued that this show was not realistic and gave people a false sense of what it takes to have that level of weight loss success.

    That being said, it is my hope that Rachel has learnt the real lessons about herself and obesity and that she could return to a healthy weight. I know too that as an athlete you do what you have to do to get the win and then you could return to normal after that. Hoping its that and not an eating disorder.

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    1. I know what you mean Stacy-Ann. I know all about those false expectations. What they lose in a week, I lost in 3, and the guy at my gym said I was doing it the right way, even though I felt it was just coming off too slowly. It is sad cause more and more people will think losing 20 lbs in a week is fantastic and easily achievable and will go to great lengths to get there. That is scary. I too am hoping that her naturally competitive nature is the real reason for her massive reduction in size and now that money is in hand, she will take her health in hand. Still, a very disturbing and disappointing message.

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    2. But you see, the entire show is kinda disturbing, what we see as a week is actually weightloss after 2 weeks with multiple daily workouts and strict diet and I believe that they dehydrate themselves before the weigh-in's. The biggest loser, often referred to as weightloss porn, has ridiculous extremes the contestants must go through to win. That being said, it was only a matter of time that one of the contestants would go the whole nine yards to win. Especially since she was coming up against 2 previously super morbidly obese men whose weight loss figures would have been very hard to beat. I've attached a link here so you can see what I am referring to.

      http://blackgirlsguidetoweightloss.com/the-op-eds/the-biggest-loser-the-problem-with-weight-loss-porn/

      As with everything, a pinch of salt......

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    3. I feel sad for the fat girl/fat boy movement that feels that this is the gold standard of weight loss. I won't complain about my weight loss again.

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  2. Wow! I don't watch this show only because i already have two many others recording on my DVR. But I always like seeing the contestants before and afters. This was way too extreme! And not exactly what the show is setting out to achieve.

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    1. I hope NBC reviews this approach, for the long term well being of their contestants. That is much more powerful than ratings, although sadly, not realistic in this ratings/ad driven world!

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  3. She looks entirely too frail. I also had problems with the expectations that they had for people. It seemed almost unattainable. It doesn't help when I expect to lose 2-3 lbs a week after exercising rigorously and eating healthy, only to lose at most a pound. We have to remember that it is television and it's all about the ratings. I'm happy that these people were able to start a healthy lifestyle, I'm just hoping that it is healthy and not result driven.

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    1. Trianna, I agree with you 100%. Weight loss is NOT easy and I realise that tv and this show among others, has skewed the reality of the battle. I go to the gym once a day for an hour, and don't do any crazy diets. These guys work out all day, and God knows what they eat. All for ratings!!!

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  4. Oh no, she doesn't look healthy at all and is definitely underweight for her height.

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  5. I don't watch the show, but I've been hearing a lot about this story and I agree that she looks way too thin. But she lost the highest percentage of her original weight and that means she's the winner. Even if she isn't healthy and isn't the best example of how to lose that much weight safely.

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    1. And that in itself is tragic. Ratings trump health apparently.

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  6. Oh, YIKES! I haven't watched this show (though I do have a lot of the Biggest Loser DVDs at home and cookbooks… They are all great!)

    But my goodness… she does look very frail :( I think it's a great idea that the producers get on board with some sort of "healthy target weight" because this to me doesn't look at all healthy. And it now sets a precedent that thin = beautiful when really healthy = beautiful. Like you, I don't mean to take away the months of hard work all of the contestants put in to getting the weight down but with that comes the understanding that they ARE setting a precedent on a large scale and that there will be people who will try to mimic their achievements. THAT'S what I'm worried about.

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    1. Spot on, Charlotte. So many look at this show and are motivated and inspired by these stories. I would hate to think that THIS is what people would be striving towards. I hope she gets back to a healthy and beautiful size.

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  7. I have never been a fan of the show, but I have to say that it was inevitable that this would happen. Such extreme weight loss is encouraged to take place in such a short period of time. People are rewarded for losing ridiculous amounts of weight in such extreme ways. What did they expect?

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  8. I was at the finale, and I was struck by how thin she was. The most surprising was that she was such a strong competitor during the show and seemed so strong, it at the finale I couldn't find that athlete with the muscles she should have built. The thing is, she was a competitor from the very beginning. She played the game better than anyone. Unfortunately, that meant that her final weight caused some concern. It makes sense to me, though... She had a competitor (and former athlete) mindset and got a taste of how successful she was at it. I really hope she has a healthy relationship with food and will get stronger following the show, but she has been through a whirlwind of changes and it will take her some time to sort it out and figure out how to live and be healthy day to day. The hardest part starts now, and I wish her the best!

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  9. OMG. She looks scary skinny. Coming to you for
    SITS.

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  10. I've never really watched this show because it never seemed that realistic. Now after following the buzz about the finale I know it is not realistic. Its hard enough to define health for myself. I don't need any outside pressure in the form of a reality show. My current healthy weight is 160 and I look hot. :)

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  11. I as really disappointed by the mean comments as well. They are in Jo way helpful, and I felt no matter what, seeing all that negativity certainly make her feel terrible. Interesting post! Reading from the SiTS sharefest!

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  12. I blogged about this same topic. I felt bad for her and the mean comments that people have been making this week. She was chastised for being too big now she is getting the same treatment for being too small. She is the product of a flawed reality show. I hope she finds balance. Stopped by from #SITSSharefest!

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  13. Nice job with this post. I agree with you, and I really like the way you talked about Rachel's extreme weight loss without being judgy or mean. I have always been a fan of The Biggest Loser, and I loved Rachel this season, so I just hope she finds her way to health and happiness.

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  14. Great post-- but I really think it is much ado about nothing. She wanted to make sure she got that prize, and she did it. As others have said, the show creates this kind of atmosphere where people do things that are unhealthy to be the biggest loser.

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  15. You've got such a valid point. Getting healthy focused solely on a number can really be a dangerous thing. As a former figure competitor I would get down to a size 2, 9% body fat and stand at 5'11". I was nothing but skin, bone and muscle. When I stopped competing I had real body dismorphia issues. There needs to be a balance on the BL show. Health not beauty should come first! Cheers to you!

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