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The Biggest Loser - Winning by Losing For discussion of the NBC tv show The Biggest Loser and the book Winning by Losing, by Jillian Michaels

My problem with the Biggest Loser Show

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Old 06-06-2010, 09:30 PM   #16
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Several of the contestants have admitted that while the show management officially endorses 1200/1500 well-balanced calories, the real behavior of the contestants is much different. Fasting, eating and then vomitting, spending hours in the sauna to dehydrate before a weigh-in.... all of the obsessive, compulsive, destructive behaviors they're officially against. But with all of the money that's at stake, and the stigma of failing in front of the whole country, it's no surprise that people are willing to do anything to get there.
I'm not sure its fair to say "several" contestants have admitted to the things you list. Unless you've seen different reports, I've only seen the one from Ryan Benson and Kai Hibbard. Benson's sounded pretty extreme but Kai Hibbard from Season 3 simply said her and others would dehydrate before the weigh-in. That is dumb of course because it doesn't equate to actual fat loss but I think it is pretty moot anyway since if you do it once you would have to keep dehydrating before every weigh-in from that point on otherwise it would just show up as a gain the next week. It's not like you can lose 5 pounds of water one week and then and ADDITIONAL 5 pounds of water the next week. You're just losing that same 5 pounds of water over and over if you dehydrate.

And there are 2 things that you can point to as evidence against the claim they dehydrate themselves. In Week 1 they all lose tremendous amounts of weight, usually their highest numbers of the season. But that happens to most people during their first week when they diet/exercise even off the show. And the show has what they call the dreaded Week 2 Curse, where in week 2 they usually show their smallest lost numbers. They still probably lose a lot of fat Week 2 but they just gain back some of that water weight. Also, on dietsinreview.com Amanda from Season 8 has several videos where she answers viewers questions about the show. On a recent one where Danny from Season 8 "guest-hosted" he answered a viewer question about dehydrating. He agreed it was pointless for the reason I mentioned (you'd have to keep doing it) and he also said they test you for dehydration. If they find you're dehydrated they make you drink water. Maybe he's lying, but maybe not. Ryan and Kai were on the earliest seasons, maybe they didn't test back then but because the issue has come up they've been testing for it now.

Anyway, to get back to the original post. I would love to see more about their diets as well. I just started watching the show this year and have now finished a few different seasons. I think the trainers and maybe even the producers do genuinely try to get the contestants to eat according to the plan. I saw how in Season 7 when Ron and Mike were not losing much weight Bob actually told them to start eating MORE. He said they were falling victim to the idea of eating super low cal to lose weight and instead slowed down their metabolisms. It was refreshing to see Bob tell them that.

I think a good idea would be for them to actually have a separate half hour show or something on the Food Network dedicated to their diets and healthy recipes. They've shown a few recipes on the show with celebrity chefs and they've always been interesting. I'd also like to see them show MORE of the actual training, I know they show a decent amount of it but its just so many quick cuts. My favorite scenes are usually the ones in the gym, especially last chance workouts, they're pretty motivating and I'd like to see more. The weigh-ins take almost half the show, that's just ridiculous, they can cut the time for the weigh-ins by a ton.
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Old 06-07-2010, 09:44 AM   #17
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The weigh-ins take almost half the show, that's just ridiculous, they can cut the time for the weigh-ins by a ton.
I agree with that. That's why I can't sit and watch 2 hours of the show. The same with celebrity apprentice.

I actually starting noticing when this starts and the next show you watch take a look. For a 2 hour reality show they start the weigh in or who they're going to fire at 20 minutes after the second hour. That's when you know it's going to drag on and on.

For the 1 hour shows about 20 to the hour is when they start the firing dismissing etc.......

Frankly I miss real actors and real shows. Reality shows are getting on my nerves. I thought when they first started they wouldn't last. Well I was wrong. It's much cheaper to hire non actors and get a successful show then to pay someone like Charlie Sheen who gets $7.7 million a year.
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Old 06-07-2010, 07:09 PM   #18
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The weigh ins are really long. I usually watch the show up until that point then start switching between channels and come back to see the end result of the weigh in.
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Old 06-07-2010, 10:40 PM   #19
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I was reading that Charlie Sheen is getting $2 mil an episode of 2.5 Men...two Mil to play Charlie Sheen...not exactly a thespian.
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Old 06-09-2010, 11:53 AM   #20
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Default Losing it with Jillian ~ What do you think

Now that I've talked about the biggest loser. What do you think of the spin of.

Losing it with Jillian

Me personally ....... I did watch both episodes. It's an OKAY show not spectacular or something I'm going to remember to watch every Tuesday.
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Old 06-10-2010, 10:45 PM   #21
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yeah I dunno. I watched both episodes. I enjoyed the first one, the second one...eh. I've got it set to dvr but I'll probably only watch if I've got nothing else to do.
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Old 06-19-2010, 02:46 AM   #22
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Going back to the original post about " my problem with the biggest loser show " ... I, too, have been an avid fan of the show since Season One. Every season I usually connect with atleast one contestant ... but the past two seasons, especially this past season ... I just don't feel the same anymore. Almost to the point that I probably won't watch the next season. Is it just me or has the show changed since the first two seasons? More drama based ... etc. I know it " sells " to show that stuff but I just feel like they have went off track from the first few seasons. Anyone else feel that way at all or is it just me? Maybe I just haven't connected with any of the contestants the past two seasons and it makes me feel that way haha.
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Old 06-19-2010, 04:40 AM   #23
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I agree with you! I watch the american one but am from australia. Our biggest loser is a bit different where its on 6 nites per week. Anyway last season on friday nites they would have Masterclass...where they did cooking displays, stuff on fitness, doctors come in, and different motivating people...its the best episode each week!
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Old 06-22-2010, 09:09 AM   #24
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Default Well, an article about the show

I can't believe it. I turn on my computer this morning and what do I see. One of the leading stories is about a contestant telling the truth about the biggest loser. Here's the link

http://tinyurl.com/38t7g8d

Here is the Youtube link in case the article disappears.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXoKe...layer_embedded
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Old 06-22-2010, 09:30 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by 2feelbetter View Post
I can't believe it. I turn on my computer this morning and what do I see. One of the leading stories is about a contestant telling the truth about the biggest loser. Here's the link

http://tinyurl.com/38t7g8d

Here is the Youtube link in case the article disappears.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXoKe...layer_embedded
Oh pish posh, former contestant on rival network telling us what we already know.Don't most of these people already have eating disorders and body issues?After all, that's why they are on the show right?
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Old 06-22-2010, 03:40 PM   #26
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I'm not sure its fair to say "several" contestants have admitted to the things you list. Unless you've seen different reports, I've only seen the one from Ryan Benson and Kai Hibbard.

I thought of this thread when I was browsing in our local library, and I found the book, Believe It, Be It: How Being the Biggest Loser Won Me Back My Life by Ali Vincent

I couldn't help but check the book out and see how her experience compared to (and whether it contradictored or supported) Kai's claims (which I've read the most from).

Even though this book is written from a very pro-Biggest loser stance (and as I understand it, Biggest loser production staff or lawyers reviewd and had some editing control of the manuscript), there was far more confirmation of Kai's claims than I expected. Keeping contestants from speaking to each other, the cameras everywhere but the bathrooms (and even then if more than one person was ever in a bathroom or spent too much time in the bathroom, the knocks on the door). Ali's experiences with the "confessionals," and her experiences in the gym. They confirm more than they refute what Kai has said.


One example that stands out (the only one I can refer to specifically without having to reread the whole book to find the examples):

Ali mentions that she received a positive reaction from he crew.

"Even the crew members started to believe I could do it.

For a brief second I thought this contadicted Kai's claim that the crew wouldn't speak to them, until I read the first words of the next sentence:

Usually they didn't speak to us...."


Even though Ali's experience was positive, I didn't find any description of events that were contradictions of anything Kai said. Rather it seemed more of a case of same situation, different perspective.

To a large degree, it seemed to me that Ali had a stronger, more dominant personality than Kai. She was willing to "do her own thing" rather than succumb to the pressure. She was able to choose not to take the pressures personally or submit to pressures she didn't agree with. She did things her way, and ignored rather than internalized the negative.


There often is no "objective truth" only perspective. It's a shame though that we can't get more perspectives.


I would like to hear more from former contestants about their experiences (positive and negative). I don't understand the desire to punish one for speaking out. Of course I also believe that "confidentiality agreements" should be ethically based "you can't tell secrets that you or competitors could profit from at our expense," rather than protection from misconduct "you can't make us look bad in any way, or tell anyone about the bad stuff we do."
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Old 06-25-2010, 08:49 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by kkazz123 View Post
I agree with you! I watch the american one but am from australia. Our biggest loser is a bit different where its on 6 nites per week. Anyway last season on friday nites they would have Masterclass...where they did cooking displays, stuff on fitness, doctors come in, and different motivating people...its the best episode each week!
I liked the masterclass too. On the basis of last season, BL Australia's become my favourite version:.
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Old 06-28-2010, 10:51 AM   #28
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I enjoy the Biggest Loser and Losing It with Jillian, but I always try to keep things in perspective when I watch. I try to focus on the fact that you have people who are beginning to exercise and make "healthy" food choices again (I try not to focus on the "weekly" loss numbers).

The tough thing is that Biggest Loser (and Jillian) have become franchises. In the first season or two, the contestants blogged about what they ate each day/week. You could see how little they were eating (1000-1200 calories a day). Since the introduction/creation of the Biggest Loser plan site, books, videos and Jillian's weight loss DVDs, books and site, this information is no longer provided on-line. Additionally, these details are not provided on the show in any detail. This allows the Biggest Loser to continue growing as a profitable entity. As you all have seen, they receive large dollars for the many product placement "ads" during the show (e.g., Extra gum, Brita water filters, etc.), and not a lot is shown in terms of what/how/when contestants are eating. Additionally, you see the types of exercises that are done, but the details are not provided. This creates a "need" for individuals to purchase their products.

I choose not to purchase the information, but try to enjoy the program for the overall motivation that it provides.

Also, with the prior contestants, they do sign a confidentiality agreement and I know in years passed, the agreement was set for a specific amount of time (e.g., 6 years or something). Once that time passes, they are "free." I'm sure since Kai has shared information (she blogged about this prior to 2010), the contracts have become stronger.
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Old 10-06-2010, 05:02 PM   #29
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I watch Biggest loser to see the transformations and be inspired. Not much else. It's a tv show and I'm always shocked when people think they can obtain the same sort of results at home. We could never work out 6 hours a day, a week isn't a week on the show, and (for most people who I've talked to about it) they don't weigh 300 pounds.

I can understand why they don't give a lot of concret info on the show about exactly what they are doing. As unhealthy as some of those people are on the show I can see someone dying who attempted to do the same thing at home who isn't under 24 hour a day medical supervision
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Old 10-06-2010, 07:16 PM   #30
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I watched it last not but I'm just not that interested in it anymore. All the screaming and yelling going on while exercising. Someone always falling off the treadmill. Everyone crying. It's predictable.

I might watch near the end when there are fewer players left but I don't think I'll watch it as much as before.
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