So everyone preaches eat less, move more. The TV show the Biggest Loser epitomizes that. And it works short term! With highly restricted calories and excessive workouts you can loose a lot of size and weight. But as soon as you go off it, the weight rebounds back even more. So what is going on? An aricle from The New Blog explains the problem and what to do about it.
First, a bit of background on the actual diet and exercise regimen. Classic Eat Less, Move More. Surely something like this is a good thing, right? What could go wrong? All the ‘experts’ recommend this weight loss regimen. Well, Kai Hibbard, the winner of season three is quoted as saying, “It was the biggest mistake of my life”. Season two’s Suzanne Mendonca says that the reason there’s no reunion show is that “We’re all fat again”. Much of this ‘reality’ series is actually fairly scripted, but this is not the first or last reality series to have that fault.
Luckily, there has been some serious studiesdone on The Biggest Loser contestants. Dr. Ravussin and Kevin Hall published some fairly extensive metabolic testing on 16 of these contestants. There was a dietary intervention combined with an exercise component. The exercise consisted of 90 minutes per day of vigorous circuit training +/- aerobic training for 6 days a week. This part is often depicted on television, along with some rather questionable fat shaming/ yelling/ screaming by the personal trainers. The exercise portion sometimes far exceeded the allotted time. The fact that vomit buckets were regularly used is an indication that these contestants were pushed quite hard. During their stay on the ranch the minimum time doing physical activity was 2 hours per day.
The dietary component consisted of a calorie restricted diet which was calculated as being about 70% of their baseline energy requirements. Calorie counts often run to 1200 – 1500 per day but it depended upon baseline weight. At baseline, the average weight was 149.2 kg (329 pounds) with a BMI of 49.4. By week 30 (the end of the show’s season), the average weight had dropped to 91.6 kg (202 pounds) – 127 pounds on average! Body fat had dropped from 49% to 28%. Wow. That’s good. Really really good.
You would think that after 30 weeks they have good habits formed, they could keep up a reasonable lifestyle and continue to loose weight. Except that isn’t what happens. All the exercise causes your Resting Metabolic Rate to drop rapidly, and that spells rebound weight gain. [nextpagelink][/nextpagelink]