Let’s get straight to it: 90% of the participants of “The Biggest Loser” show gain their weight back. And some even put on more weight than before they started!
The problem is, shows like these keep us stuck. Stuck thinking we’re just not trying hard enough, that if we just moved more or ate less, we’d shift those pounds. We feel like a failure that we didn’t lose 34 pounds in a week after hitting the gym hard (what?!).
These shows are simply dangerous. They ignore the reality and seriousness of the situation of morbid obesity.
- These shows are not about making lasting transformations for people.
- They are not about saving lives.
- They are about making ratings, product sales, and generating advertising revenue. Period.
And while viewers get distracted by the drama, the weigh-ins, and the record-setting, producers behind the scenes are carefully orchestrating their outcomes.
Firstly, when contestants join the show, they test their metabolism and put them on low calories and extreme exercise.
The moment this begins, their metabolism decreases; however they counteract that with dieting exercising. Then when they leave the show and continue with “healthy habits” they go from consuming 800 calories to 1500 calories per day, and 8 hours of exercise to 2 hours a day.
The result? They gain the weight back.
SO this thinking that once you lose the weight, you’re good is completely false.
Why? Because your metabolism doesn’t actually increase; it stays the same and even worse, it fails to respond to your new size.
Researcher Kevin Hall followed 14 Biggest Loser contestants for six years after the season finale, as reported by the New York Times. It was the first project to monitor what happened to people over several years after losing large amounts of weight with rigorous dieting and exercise. The results: 13 out of 14 contestants studied regained weight in the six years following the show. Four weigh even more than they did before participating in the Biggest Loser.
The phenomena behind the post-show weight gain are all about metabolism.
According to the study, the contestants' resting metabolism (how many calories they burned while at rest) was normal before starting the show but had slowed radically by the end.
What does this mean?
Their bodies weren't burning enough calories to maintain their smaller size. And while a slower metabolism is common after dieting, the surprising thing was that as the years went by and the contestants gained more and more weight, their metabolisms didn't recover.
In fact, nearly all of the contestants had slower metabolisms than they did six years before and had a slower resting metabolism than expected for their size.
What this shows is that weight loss is just the first step in the journey to maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle. There are much deeper metabolic issues behind the inability to keep the weight off that must be addressed.
How Bariatric Surgery Changes Your Metabolism
Weight loss surgery changes your body's metabolism in a way that dieting alone cannot.
But the surgery has an even deeper, more far-reaching effect: it produces genetic changes in fat metabolism and paves the way for more weight loss. It can even put type 2 diabetes into remission.
Over time, the lowered caloric intake from bariatric surgery produces genetic alterations that dramatically change your metabolism by:
- rearranging the flow of food through the gastrointestinal tract
- hormonal changes in the body that are beneficial for weight loss to occur, and
- resets your metabolic set point.
And while weight loss surgery is a decision that should be made with great care and thoughtfulness, it can be the difference between life and death.
So don’t let the cloaks and mirrors of “reality” television skew your perspective of the serious medical condition that you are dealing with. There is a hugely different approach required for someone 20-30 pounds overweight versus someone who is 120-150 pounds overweight.
You don”t have to manage this illness alone. Let us partner with you with facts and figures and a support plan that actually works for you long-term.
We are ready and waiting to support you.
- Dr. Custer