Real or Not?

biggest-loser-season-1

Are you one of the people who gets inspired by the tremendous success of some of the contestants on The Biggest Loser?

For years we’ve been told that deprivation and rapid weight loss is dangerous and rarely successful in long-term weight control.  Has this television show somehow been able to defy conventional wisdom and come up with a better way to lose weight?

Unfortunately like many of the “reality” shows that have proliferated in recent years, there’s more “show” than “reality” here.  We don’t see some of the extremes the contestants go to to shed weight before their weigh-ins.

Earlier this year Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. wrote a very enlightening article on the psychcentral.com blog:  The Impact of Biggest Loser .

She gives quite a different picture than the one we see on television.  She outlines the myths the show perpetuates, the unhealthy approaches contestants adopt, and the failure of these short-term solutions to lead to permanent weight loss.

So just how “unreal” is what we see when we tune in?  Are the contestants really able to permanently shed all of that weight that quickly?  If the story of season 1 winner Ryan Benson is any indication, the answer seems to be an emphatic “NO”.  Five days after his victorious final weigh-in he was already 32 pounds heavier!

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Filed under Extreme Fitness, Weight Loss

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