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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Biggest Loser and Being Healthy

They say the camera adds 10lbs.

If that's true, then I'm really concerned for the Biggest Loser winner, Rachel Frederickson.

The look on Bob and Jillian's faces said all that needed to be said.

It pretty much mirrored the look on my face.

It was the first time I've watched The Biggest Loser and didn't feel inspired. I felt downright concerned.

Rachel's final weight was 105lbs, twelve pounds below the minimum weight recommendation for a woman of Rachel's height - 5'4". According to my Weight Watchers Healthy weight ranges guide, a healthy weight for a 5'4" woman is between 117lbs - 146lbs.

In a recent interview, Rachel admitted to struggling with binging/gaining/losing,
“I’m not going to lie, I’ve gained weight coming home,” she said. “I’ve lost weight. I’ve binged. I had a hard time over Thanksgiving. Those are all natural adversities I faced, but to overcome those is what’s made me strong and what I’ve learned so much from.”
I imagine the pressure she's been feeling to look her very best and be her very best for the finale has been intense. Then there are the feelings of being excited for the weight loss, the change in one's self, feeling stronger and more confident. There's the excitement of being thinner than you've ever been before. But then there's the drive to maintain it to make sure it doesn't come back because if you do put 5lbs back on, people will comment. People think they're helping you - they recognize all the hard work you've put in and they don't want you to be the person you were - but they don't realize that it's harming you and the game that's already happening in your head.

I totally get it - I've been there.

When I was 16, I lost close to 70lbs and was two pounds under the recommended weight for my height. I was thin. I'd never been that thin. It was GLORIOUS. I felt pretty; I felt good about me. Trying to maintain that was difficult. Some days I'd just grab an apple for lunch, or I'd eat a baked potato with steamed broccoli and fat free sour cream. I did not feel like I was becoming anorexic, but my mother started to notice that I wasn't eating enough. I remember grabbing an apple, saying that would be my lunch, and her saying, "No, it's not. You're going to eat a sandwich." And I ate the sandwich, not happily. I was driven to maintain my weight loss, but I didn't realize that I was taking a dangerous path to maintain it. I didn't know then what I know now: eat whole, healthy foods in moderation is the best way to lose weight and maintain it.

The point is, Rachel may not see or feel what we're seeing and feeling because she's stuck in the drive to lose weight and maintain the incredible loss. I'm hoping there are respected people in her life who can sit her down and tell her to "eat a sandwich" the way my mom made me. Rachel was an incredible athlete and competitor throughout the season and I have no doubt she can do what's healthy when guided to it.

I also hope that NBC will respond to the outcry to soothe fears for Rachel. It's clear they didn't have a plan on how to handle this, and their lack of response is disappointing. Since it is a health competition, maybe the rules need to state that in order to win you have to have the lowest percentage of weight loss / body fat WITHOUT going below the recommended height/weight ranges. Either way, for a show that is encouraging health, it would have meant more for them to take a stand for health, and that doesn't always mean losing weight. Sometimes it means gaining it.

1 comment:

  1. have never watched the biggest loser, but she does look a bit too thin. Kudos to her for losing weight, but maybe a tiny bit too much x



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