When The Biggest Loser winner Rachel Frederickson first debuted her worryingly thin frame on the finale, we only had the looks on Jillian Michaels' and Bob Harper's faces to tell us exactly how they felt. In the time since, though, both trainers -- and Rachel's trainer, Dolvett, as well -- have made their opinions known. And Rachel herself went on The Today Show a few weeks later, looking like she had gotten her weight up a bit, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
But with controversy still hanging over the franchise, and changes to the show rumored to be on the horizon, host Alison Sweeney is breaking her silence about the situation ...
Of Rachel's initial 155-pound weight loss, Ali said:
I think that The Biggest Loser, what we focus on on the show, helping people with the rest of their lives and helping them make changes, but at the end of the day, it's every individual's responsibility to do what they think is best for them. ... So I think Rachel said it best when she was on the Today show about, whatever it was, two weeks after the finale, she came back and shared sort of her feelings about really focusing on winning the competition and as an athlete. She really kept her eye on that prize. And two weeks later, sort of had found maybe a happier body weight that she felt more comfortable with, which is how she looks now, and she looks fantastic.
While it just sounds at first glance that she's supporting the 24-year-old, and that's fair, it's still troubling to think that Ali -- and perhaps even those behind-the-scenes at the Biggest Loser -- sees "really focusing on winning the competition" is a perfectly fine excuse for getting too thin too fast.
I get it. Losing weight is difficult and something many of us want to do -- quickly. So even if we aren't contestants on a reality show, we try to rev ourselves up by making it a competition. We use fitness apps to try to beat our own pedometer or activity or calorie tracking or weigh-in records. Or we compare our results to friends or celebrities. For many of us, if weight loss a game, a goal to beat, conquer, or WIN, we're more motivated to stick to the plan.
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But that mentality can clearly backfire. It seems as though her athletic drive and "keeping her eye on the prize" meant Rachel went too far for the sake of winning. Another consequence of this: Feeling like it's "game over" once you've reached your goal -- be it a wedding, a bathing suit, a pair of jeans, a number on the scale, etc. As a result, you end up backtracking ... big time.
The thing is ... Weight loss is not a game, a competition, a contest. Sure, steps along the way can be competitive (like friendly competitions with friends to see who drinks more water or signing up for a 5K), but ultimately, long-term, healthy weight loss has more to do with sustainable, realistic lifestyle changes. I know. It's not as EXCITING, but the concrete, lasting results of striving for overall wellness over short-term weight loss pay off much better than any quickie victory ever could.
What do you think about Ali's explanation for Rachel? How do you think The Biggest Loser should change the "game" to promote wellness over rapid weight loss?
Image via NBC