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turns out reality TV isn't so real afterall

Posted Jun 23 2010 4:25pm

biggest loser contestant

this is so 4 days ago, but still - i just had to mention it.


y'all know NBC's The Biggest Loser, right? a show famous for its contestants losing massive amounts of weight in an all-too unnatural period of time? (just checking. i know it's been on for years but seriously, i hadn't seen an episode till last week.) well season 3 contestant Kai Hibbard is claiming the show's producers manipulated results and encouraged drastic measures in order for contestants to lose weight at unhealthy rates.


Kai, who lost 118lbs herself, says there's a lot behind the scenes that, um, wouldn't digest so well with viewers. ( article ) allegedly, contestants were pressured to exercise even while severely injured; were told to ignore the advice of nutritionists and listen to their trainers instead. and maybe the most disturbing (to me, at least) was the fact that contestants dehydrated themselves before weigh-ins, something they learned through the show. oh yeah - and when they say "a week", they don't literally mean a week. it varied, some being longer than others.

 “I have people that come up to me and talk to me and ask me why they can’t lose 12 pounds [5.5kg] in a week when I did. When I didn’t. It didn’t happen. It’s TV. I helped perpetuate a myth that’s dangerous.”


Kai also says she left the show with an eating disorder, and often considered coffee as a meal. her hair fell out. eventually, her family staged an intervention. the former contestant ended up regaining more than 70lbs.


between you and me, i'm not entirely surprised.


like i said, i'm new to the show (and as always, Australia is 5 seasons behind) so you wouldn't call me an expert or anything. but i find with extreme results, there's usually an extreme reason for it. what really made my heart sink though, was seeing those contestants get up on the scale and receive such disappointed looks  FROM EVERYONE  if they only lost 4lbs that week. i mean - isn't that sheer craziness? in the real world, 4lbs is amazing! it's the 10 pound mark that brings concern.


according toThe Diet Channel, "the more quickly weight is lost, the more likely the loss is coming from water and muscle, not fat. Since muscle tissue is critical in keeping ourmetabolismelevated, losing it actually leads to a decrease in the amount of calories we can each day without gaining weight. Fat loss is best achieved when weight is lost slowly. Strive for a weight loss of no more than 1-2 pounds per week."


i understand the show has inspired thousands to make their own life changes. i just hope most can read the fine-print that says -  results not typical.


what do you think - do you think Kai's allegations could be true? do you think the show's message is more help, or hindrance?

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