I don't think it is real or realistic
I have watched it in the past. I watched two full seasons 2005 and 2006. I was psyched to watch it every week too. I checked the website out. I was "into it". The aspect of the show that I didn't like was the competitiveness it seemed to hook into. I didn't like how the trainer would yell at the "losers" while they were working out. I am sure that was for the benefit of the camera but I could tell some of the contestants were not happy about it. I am also sure that keeping the ratings up was also behind it too. I think those contestants are under a lot more pressure than you or I would ever be to lose weight.
If someone kept harping at you to keep at it so the show could look good, how would you feel? I also don't like the pitting of one "loser" against another either. I could tell that some people loved to "diss" on their team mate but IMO none of that was "team work". NONE! As long as you watch it with the idea that it is a GAME and COMPETITION like World Wide Sports, only for "fatties" then I think you can (and probably will) overlook some of the more visceral aspects of that program.
Did you ever see where one of the past "winners" came back on? It was the couple who met on that show. They were engaged. The woman had still maintained her weight lose after 16 + months but the guy admitted that he was struggling. He seemed less confident about whether he would be able to keep it off.
I would love to see some of the other "losers' now after a few years. I am sure that they have them sign contracts and "gag orders" so they can't talk about how they really did this but I bet there is some behind the scene stuff going on that would cause some of the viewers to stop watching. Maybe, they are all taking some supplements like body builders to get the results they are. I don't have a problem with that but be up front about how you get those kinds of results. There is nothing I hate worse than saying one thing and doing another. Gee, I think that is called being "hypocritical".