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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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September 29 2009

The Biggest Loser… Is the Audience

By Mark Sisson
178 Comments

The Biggest Loser HoaxI watched The Biggest Loser last week – as well as the prior week’s opener, thanks to TiVo. I know what you’re thinking, but, hey, it’s my job and it has to be done. Truth is, I figure it’s about time someone shook America by the lapels and exposed the myths and fallacies in this show, which has become one of the most popular on TV. With all the glowing coverage, the average viewer is starting to think The Biggest Loser somehow represents the indomitability of the human spirit and the triumph of modern bariatric medicine. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. It’s a made-for-TV spectacle that has morphed into a cruel hoax perpetrated on the typical overweight person in America who is desperately looking for the weight-loss secret. It shows precisely how NOT to lose weight. Talk about two steps forward and three steps back. A few years ago, I suggested in this post that there were a few things right with the show (I still took them to task for their sponsor choices) but I’ve changed my mind. If this season’s opener, in which two morbidly obese, untrained contestants nearly died trying to race a mile in the heat, is any indication, nothing will do more to prolong the current obesity epidemic than a fixation on the Biggest Loser and its yelling, screaming, puking, crying, collapsing, extreme dieting, six-hour workout mentality. Hell, if I were an obese person watching all this, I’d be thinking, “dude, if this is what it takes to lose the weight, pass me another Twinkie and let’s see what’s on VH1.”

For those few of you unfamiliar with the show, every season NBC gathers 16 or so exceptionally obese people on a remote ranch in Malibu (just up the road from me) and then follows them on a 12-week odyssey of rapid, substantial weight loss as they are coached by two celebrity fitness trainers. Men usually start at 300-400 pounds and women at 200-300, but recently some have shown up weighing in at over 450. During the process, which is actually a competition for a $250,000 first prize, the ones that lose the least amount of weight each week are subject to being voted off campus by the rest. As the season unravels, remarkable bodyweight changes do take place and it’s not unusual for the top finalists to lose over 100 pounds during their stay at the ranch. But as we will soon see, the costs can be significant. After each season is over, we don’t hear of the ones that gain much or most of the weight back (and many do). We don’t hear about the viewers who adopt the Biggest Loser strategy only to virtually guarantee failure once again. We don’t hear about the eating disorders that surely emanate from the guilt and shame from failure at all levels.

The first thing I noticed about this season is that the trainers come off looking more like sadistic prison guards or whacked-out drill sergeants than the caring, loving guides I’d seen on previous seasons. I think I’d like Jillian and Bob if I met them on the street, and in their hearts they probably mean well, but this is reality TV and these guys use every means possible to hammer their poor contestants into whimpering puddles of blood, sweat and tears at every opportunity. Their charges are obese people who have historically had a hard time getting up from the couch, yet are now being berated into multi-hour workouts where F-bombs and other epithets are hurled at every missed step and each pause for breath.  “Don’t feel like a four-hour workout today? Loser! Pussy! You should be ashamed of yourself!” I assure you those words will be ringing in their ears long after the contestants have left the ranch, haunting them with guilt every time they sneak a pad of butter onto their steamed broccoli or opt for a 15-minute walk outside instead of an hour on the treadmill.

The assumptions that go into this formulaic weight loss program – and, hence, the lessons that are supposedly being taught to the tens of millions of viewers are, of course, based on faulty Conventional Wisdom. Count calories, watch the fat intake, and exercise as hard as you can for as long as you can, and eventually the theoretical math should work out to lost tonnage. And since virtually everyone on the show loses a significant amount of weight in the twelve weeks, the viewer probably thinks something must be working, right? Wrong. If you are a regular MDA reader, you know by now that losing 5-20 pounds a week of stored body fat week-in and week-out (without losing any muscle) is virtually impossible. Reprogramming genes that have been carb-dependent and insulin insensitive for decades so that they can rebuild efficient, reliable fat-burning systems can’t be done in a few days, nor without sending the proper signals. Stress hormones rise, diuretic hormones kick in, testosterone drops, inflammation increases and all manner of metabolic havoc is loosed. Ah, but it looks great for 12 weeks of compelling television.

If you do the real math and account for hormonal responses and the gene acclimation process, you understand that one to two (maybe three) pounds a week of burned body fat is a safe, effective and bullet-proof way to drop the pounds with some predictability and regularity over the weeks and months until you reach a comfortable, healthy body composition. Instead, in pulling out all the stops for quick results and TV ratings on the Biggest Loser, the producers have chosen the most dangerous methods with the highest long-term failure rates. Just about every workout on TBL looks like someone’s going to have a heart attack or a stroke. And every meal looks like an anemic Jenny Craig leftover.

Here are a few added observations on what’s wrong with TBL:

Water weight is always the first to go. The extreme (and generally very impressive) first week weight-loss numbers are coming from a few short-term adaptations that largely have to do with water weight. Water is lost directly through urine and sweat as many contestants reportedly drink copious amounts of water (eight pounds per gallon) prior to the initial weigh-in simply to pad the “starting” or “before” numbers. Furthermore, a week of intense exercise will deplete glycogen stores, and for every gram of glycogen, four grams of water is also lost. That’s a 5-for-1 deal in short term loss, but eventually the body wants to replenish that glycogen (which is why a week or two later contestants hit a temporary weight-loss plateau). Diuretic hormones start to kick in as a result of the increases exercise stress, and water is excreted from spaces between the cells and even from the bloodstream. All of these have little or nothing to do with healthy weight loss, but a 400-pound man can “easily” lose two or three gallons (25 pounds) in a week this way.

Too much emphasis on counting calories. The show obsesses over calories – especially the tired “calories in, calories out” mantra. Weighing every portion, counting every morsel, cutting fat wherever they can, they drill the math into the participants. “Burn 5000 calories a day doing our grueling workouts and account for the 2,000 per day calorie deficit from eating less and you’ll lose two pounds a day every day.”  I have heard reports that some weeks the contestants are limited to just 800 calories per day.  (Thank God for the low-cal gum sponsors or they’d be chewing their arms off!) That could theoretically be marginally safe (the 800 calories  – not the chewing your arm) if the diet were, say, zero carbs and amount of exercise they were doing were very limited. But in light of the fact that contestants are expected to burn thousands of calories each day, the simple math ceases to work for them. It becomes a multi-variate, non-linear algorithm.

Too much credit given to portion control. The show also obsesses on the “three meals and two snacks” concept, in a doomed attempt to ensure that contestants will never really go hungry. (Ziplock bags is their portion-control sponsor, as are some of the “100-calorie snack” purveyors). Unfortunately, those tiny low-fat meals not only don’t stave off hunger, they tend to promote insulin resistance. The only saving grace there is the fact that contestants are exercising so much, their muscles suck up every gram of carbohydrate.

Too dependent on exercising off the calories. Five, six hours a day in this case. Calories in calories out again…but what they don’t realize is that for a previously carb-dependant person to start exercising that hard and that much, especially on a low fat, low cal diet, is that a significant amount of lean mass will be allocated to fuel. You’ll actually burn precious muscle to keep stoking the carb-fueled exercise fire. Some weeks, after drastically reducing caloric intake and accumulating 15,000 or more total calories on the treadmill LCD, contestants still GAIN weight. How’s that for math? That’s because the body doesn’t know what it needs to do to achieve homeostasis, so it hoards fat, retains water and tears down muscle. We know from the PB that 80% of body composition is determined by diet, if you allow enough time (and the correct diet!). Exercise is a good thing, but too much can get in the way of successful long term weight loss. Notably, this season sees the return of Daniel, a very likable kid who started last season at 454 pounds and lost 142 (down to 312) between the start of the show and the season finale a few months later. Sadly, in the first episode this season, he weighed in at the same 312 despite his admission that he had been working out four hours a day in the months prior to the new season. Four hours of exercise a day got him NOWHERE. It’s all about the diet, folks. And NOT the diet espoused on The Biggest Loser.

Bottom line, if you like soap operas, train wrecks or movies about gladiators, TBL can be mildly entertaining. If you are looking for information on how to effectively lose weight, there’s probably better stuff on VH1.

So how about you? Weigh in today with your thoughts and let me know what you think about The Biggest Loser.

TAGS:  Hype, marketing

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178 thoughts on “The Biggest Loser… Is the Audience”

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  1. Mark: I stopped watching after last season’s finale. The $250,000 winner and the $100,000 both looked terribly unhealthy. And trainer Jillian has to go: is all that screaming and harrassment necessary??

    1. I totally agree. I thought that Helen looks ghastly during the finale, and that she actually looked prettier and rosier when she was overweight! I was also thinking the same thing as Mark after watching them scream, “Calories In, Calories Out” during last week’s episode…and yes, poor Dan, working out for four hours a day and still struggling to lose weight. It seems that they have to work out for a living to maintain all fo that…and not have a regular life!

    2. I agree about those awful trainers. She reminds me of a mean middle school bully. I watched for the first time last night, and I think the product placement in the programs is shameless. The trainer suggests to a player to healthfully enjoy a yoplait light yogurt, “full of calcium and vit d.” He failed to mention the 18 grams of sugar and how it will effect her.

  2. I have thought the same thing about the oversimplification of counting calories. I think one of Jillian Michaels’ book takes people through a complicated math exercise in tabulating calories needed to lose. Where’s the accounting for quality of calories? Health? Nutrition? Hormones, for God sake? I stopped watching after the first season.

  3. Mark I couldn’t agree more. I watch the show with my mother last season and couldn’t believe all the false and inaccurate information the show produces. I still continue to watch the show for entertainment purposes but I’m constantly correcting the false information to myself. I think I would probably die if I had to work out a grueling 6 hours and only get to eat 1,200 calories which consists of egg whites, green salad, fiber 1 cereal, and extra gum. Sigh.

  4. “Bottom line, if you like soap operas, train wrecks or movies about gladiators, TBL can be mildly entertaining.”

    Love it!

  5. Hmmm.. just down the street from you? How about you contact them, and tell them that you will be a “guest trainer”. The stipulations should be that the show last 3 years. Do some pre loss labs (insulin levels, blood pressure, glucose tolerance and fasting).
    Bet your charge wins!

  6. I’ve never seen the show but I like Jillian Michaels’ workout videos. They’re nice when you want something more structured and her personality makes them fun. They’re the only workout videos I can stand to watch and they generally coincide with my own fitness goals (not pure cardio- lots of dumbells, hiit, and body weight exercises).
    I don’t know anything about her nutrition beliefs but I assume I wouldn’t really agree with them if they fall into the CW category.

  7. Thank you for posting this! I hate that show- it is wrong on so many levels.

    I like the above idea that you should appear as a guest trainer! I would watch that episode.

  8. I would love to see a primal low carb version of the show.

    I am waiting for one of the contestants to drop dead from 5 hours a day exercising on 800 calories, it is astoundingly unhealthy.

    I only like the entertainment and I know its wrong, but it is funny.

    Last week the 476 pound girl with all of the emotional problems was mad at another 400 pound guy because she didn’t think he exercised enough according to Jillian’s pronouncement. (She was probably mad because those fat cells were screaming for some sugar or even food, but she couldn’t admit that so she found something else to fixate on.)

    It’s too bad there are people out there who take this show seriously.

    1. Sorry to be negative, but getting entertainment from other peoples’ fights, agony and failure, not to mention the bad habits and info they are taking on, which will really mess with their heads, is like rubbernecking at a car crash hoping to see blood and guts. If it was YOUR mom or brother on that show or in that wrecked car, would you like the people slowing down to get a better look?

      The more people who watch, the longer this crappy show will continue. This is LIKE a soap opera, with all the drama, except that the people on this show are real and their lives are real.

      I think people should ask themselves, at what cost to others is the ‘entertainment’ they are enjoying.

      And then act accordingly. It should be easier than choosing between a high quality calorie or a low one.

      1. I couldnt agree with you more. I use to weigh 305 pounds. I opted to have Gastric Bypass and lost 160 pounds. This is their lives and for people to actually laugh at their misery is pathetic!

  9. TBL embodies everything that’s wrong with the mainstream health and fitness industry. It tells the general population that, in order to become fit and healthy and achieve normal body composition, you must pulverize yourself to death with exercise. And the show perpetuates the idea that you must simply eat less of the food that still drives metabolic derangement and thus hunger.

    TBL sets the mass up for failure. It ought to be a Hollywood crime scene.

  10. There’s one here in Toronto that made me just as upset as TBL made you.Rice cakes and baked potatoes, hold the olive oil. All for $1800/year.

    http://www.thestar.com/article/701670

    Sample quote from one of the dieters:
    “I went to The Keg the other day. I told the waiter I can’t eat oil. I told him that if I eat anything with oil he was going to have to take me out of the place in an ambulance.” A small lie, perhaps. But they did manage to find him a baked potato that hadn’t been brushed with olive oil.

  11. My main problem with TBL is that it simply promotes laughing at the fat kids. It’s grade school behavior all over again. I won’t watch it, and I won’t patronize the sponsors, either. It is wrong on so many levels – not just the CW they are promoting, but the outright cruelty of making people who are already laboring under intense social stigma for being fat into the butt of abuse and jokes at their expense, on national television at that. Forget it. I won’t play that game.

  12. I only watch this show when I have raging PMS (it’s the only time of the month I actually enjoy watching people being tortured). j/k

    Seriously, has anyone ever tracked down some of the people who have been on this show? It would be interesting to hear what the the aftermath was, from suffering such abuse.

    1. you can look up Biggest Looser previous contestants, or Biggest looser where are they now and find out how they’re doing.

      SOme have gained back nearly all the weight, but most have kept a good portion off. It’s interesting.

      I like the show cause I’m a sedentary person. I prefer to sit, all my favorite things to do are done sitting, Reading, sewing, crafts, and surfing the net. I have to push myself every day to do something and the Biggest looser inspires me to move.

      They’re bigger than me and they do more than I do, so I should get up and do something. I often walk in place or do some other form of exercise while I watch. I USE it to help me do more.

      I don’t look to them for information, but for inspiration. I love every one of those guys for what they’re doing.

      FWIW, Kitty

      1. i agree with kitty it is inspirational and i wonder about all the negative comments and i wonder if any of u could do what they r it takes guts to go on that show at least there making a attempt at working on this country’s weight problem

        1. The negative comments have to do with the unhealthy manner in which they are going about it. They say one thing on the show, but if you do a little research you see that what makes the show and what gets edited out are vastly different. Many contestants dehydrate themselves before weigh-ins. Did you watch the catch-up show. So many of them had gained the weight back. I wouldn’t go on that show for ten bucks, much less a quarter of a million. And it’s not about courage. It’s about what is safe and healthy for me long term.

          The thing about the show, is that it is just that…a show. They have thirteen weeks (on average) of show time. Realistically, these people shouldn’t be losing more than two pounds a week. It’s just not safe, but that doesn’t make for good tv.

          I’m going at it the slow, safe way, by getting rid of grains and refined sugar. And I know I promised y’all a youtube channel two and half months ago. I’m working on it. My life has been rather crazy for a while. It’s coming and when it does, I’ll post a link!

    2. If anyone watching BL actually thinks they are going to have the same weight loss as the contestants in the same amount of time, they are ignorant and need a smack to the back of the head. of course they lose weight–all they are required to do is eat, drink water, sleep and exercise. they don’t have to do their day to day regular activities. I know that when I watch it. Like another person said, I look to it for inspiration. If a person who weighs 200-300 pounds more than me can run on a treadmill, I sure as heck need to get off my butt and do something. I also like to see the different types of exercises that they do to get new ideas for my workouts. as for the yelling? obviously nobody ever got in their faces to tell them what they need to do to get healthy before. most of them probably need to be yelled at. If I could yell at my mom, she might not be morbidly obese. talking to her doesn’t help. bottom line, if you people don’t like the show, then don’t watch it. btw, you do know that they only show you the fired up, emotional stuff and not the common everyday stuff, right? it is still a tv show. it isn’t as though they get screamed at all day long.

  13. While I understand Mark’s criticism of ‘calorie in, calorie out’ (CICO) weight-loss methodology, it nevertheless yields predictable, sustainable results as long as reasonable expectations are set. Long-term losses above 3 lb/week are simply not a legitimate expectation.

    While yes, calories have context (research on rats back this up–rats eating softer foods gain weight faster than rats eating the same mass of harder foods), in the end you’re modifying the *rate* of gain or loss, not the overall trend. For example, a person with a adjusted basal metabolic rate of 2500 kcal/day who eats 5000 kcal/day of nothing but meat isn’t going to lose weight no matter what his nutritional ideology is.

    Counting caloric intake is essential because it gives a person a complete picture of their nutritional day. In addition, used properly counting can actually can lead one naturally to a lower-carb diet. Consider; after fats, the largest proportion of an average person’s caloric intake is in the form of simple carbohydrates. If you’re truly counting calories properly, this is immediately obvious. As body mass comes down (and as daily caloric needs come down with it–remember, big bodies need more calories to function) someone honestly evaluating their intake can easily see that replacing simple carbs with complex ones (e.g., vegetables replacing grains) is the next biggest ‘win’ in terms of reducing overall intake.

    I’m not just talking out my ass here. Over the last 5.5 months I’ve lost 52 pounds at a rock-steady 2.5 lbs/week with no plateau in sight. The tools I use are: counting calories with a minimum of 1200 kcal/day intake, daily weigh-ins used as raw data for a smoothing function (an exponentially weighted moving average) to more accurately measure true weight despite variance due to water retention, and a gradual migration to a low carb, high fiber diet. However, the diet composition modification I’ve done came only in the last 2 months, and really didn’t have a significant impact on weight loss (and I have the graphs to back that up).

    But it did resolve long-standing bowel and digestive issues. 🙂

    1. Cerebus, congrats on your success so far.

      There is far more to the CICO than simple math, as I alluded here. In other words, it’s not just about gross numbers of calories. Yes, in order to burn off stored fat you have to create a deficit rather than keep feeding the fuel from outside. But as I also said, you can lose weight that is NOT fat by creating a deficit beyond the capacity of your body to extract most of its energy from stored fat. Or by focusing on the wrong macronutrients. That’s why these people lose 5-25 pounds some weeks. Losing muscle may be losing weight, but it’s not what anyone wants in the long term. It’s also why some people actually GAIN weight after creating huge deficits during other weeks. CICO is an overly simplistic approach to what is really a complex hormonal (and genetic expression) response to food and exercise. The quality of each becomes more significant than the quantity.

    2. I watch the show on a regular basis and I am always amazed at what I see. Amazed in a horified way. I work as a personal trainer and I would never do that to my clients. Not only would the clients not come back after getting yelled at, but they would kill over if I worked them that long. And I am not after some publicity, I want my people to succeed. We training professionals need to get this show off of the air and get these 2 nutjobs away from the public. They are doing nothing for those of us trying to HELP with this growing obesity problem.

      Keep the good insights coming Mark. My clients and I are loving the work you do.

    3. Cerebus wrote: For example, a person with a adjusted basal metabolic rate of 2500 kcal/day who eats 5000 kcal/day of nothing but meat isn’t going to lose weight no matter what his nutritional ideology is.

      The error in that thinking is that metabolic rate not a fixed number: it IS affected by nutritional ideology and the resulting food and lifestyle choices. To get to a healthy weight AND increase our fitness, we need to start by giving our bodies what they need to crank up the metabolic rate: relatively more muscle and less fat. How do you get there? Not by eating insulin-inducing carbs, that’s for sure.

      Mark’s approach of gene reprogramming — reminding the body what it is capable of by periodically asking it to do something that presents a challenge — is the best way to get your lean body mass to kick it up a notch. In turn, that creates a caloric demand on the adipose tissue — which, thanks to minimal insulin levels, is able to respond by mobilizing stored fat. The caloric deficit happens naturally, as lean body mass increases, satiety is maintained with low-carb, high-protein, high-fat choices, and the body starts to adapt to more and varied activities.

      Achieving all of this without a research technician’s devotion to data collection and recording of caloric inputs and outputs is a much more sustainable approach for a lifetime of good health.

  14. quote from above:
    “Consider; after fats, the largest proportion of an average person’s caloric intake is in the form of simple carbohydrates.”

    I think you’re on the wrong website. 😉

  15. Awesome post Mark! It couldn’t be more timely. We eliminated grains and, for the most part, sugar from our household 3 months back. It took my 3 daughters some time to adjust but a bit of financial incentive seemed to do the trick. I’ve become an enemy to conventional wisdom and ‘sell’ The Primal Blueprint to everyone I meet. Recently, my wife’s friend was over visiting, purveyor extraordinaire of conventional wisdom. She mentioned that she’d recently watched ‘The Biggest Loser’ and thought it was a great show that taught people how to lose weight. Needless to say, my extreme exasperation made them a bit uncomfortable and they left the room. I can’t wait to forward your post! Thank you for putting my thoughts into a presentable, intelligible format. I feel it always helps to have a 3rd party to support my views and your approach is more tolerant.
    Garth

  16. @JamieBelle: I hardly think the sampling of humanity represented by Mark’s readers qualifies as ‘average.’ Mark’s own railing about the CW in this very post should be indicative of that. 🙂

  17. I always wondered what the real explanation was for the phenomenon of dramatic weight loss in week 1 followed by hardly any or even negative progress on the second week.

    That makes a lot of sense, but I have to wonder how they ‘defeated’ the dreaded plateau effect for week 2 on this season. But I’m sure we can all predict how they’re going to perform on week 3.

    (Maybe my wife and I should just stop watching!)

  18. Last year’s winner looked absolutely horrible in the end — that starved, aged look typical of a low-fat diet. I think Jillian’s personal diet is telling: The only carbs she eats are during breakfast; her lunch and dinner have virtually zero carbs.

    My main issue with the show is that they focus very little on emotional/psychological health, which is so very important in coming to grips with morbid obesity. Many of those people have Binge Eating Disorder, and they receive no help for this. Is it any wonder that a significant portion of them regain all the weight?

    1. I didn’t know that about Jillian’s personal diet, but I had been wondering if she was low-carb. She talks a lot about how she hates to work out (especially cardio), too.

      Funny thing – Jillian’s book “Making the Cut” has a quiz in it with random questions (do you sleep on your back? side? stomach? Do you typically feel too hot or too cold? Are your fingernails brittle or bendy?) and then it tells you what foods you should be eating (magic?).
      The quiz told me I should be low-carb. Just sayin’. She ain’t all bad.

  19. Well said Mark!!! Happened to have a day home yesterday nursing a bad ankle injury (no five fingers for a couple weeks…sh$%t!!!) and watched as the “Dr’s” on the daytime show “Dr’s” had Jillian on as their guest to glorify their efforts in spreading more bunk CW. Maybe we could all rally to get you on the show and debate them.

  20. Mark, maybe this is an opportunity to start your own show! “Worlds’ biggest winner”. The show could focus on the Primal Diet and long term results. I’m sure people would love to watch contestants hurl rocks, and climb trees for workouts. Instead of 12 weeks it could last 36 weeks, and the winner will be the one with the most positive life changes.

  21. Great post Mark – I too watched in horror for the past two weeks. It is like a train wreck – I can’t look…but at the same time I can’t stop looking.

    Two things jump out at me: The first is that the show reinforces the theme that fat people are fat because they are lazy. I think Gary Taubes put that one to rest, but TBL hasn’t caught on yet.

    The other is the calorie differential. If my ears and mind serve me well, the contestents were told to eat “1200” calories and told to expend “8000”, which is even greater than the already alarming (800 vs 5000)example from your post.

  22. Just for some background from TBL book.

    Diet is layed out like this:

    7 calories per pound of Bodyweight

    At least 4 servings fruit/veggies, always eat more veggies than fruit.

    3 servings Protein foods spread throughout day. (Protein at every meal)

    Less than 2 servings of Grains

    200 calories of “Extras” such as oil, butter, dressing, etc.

    Exercise plan is:

    Start at 4-5 days/wk of 30-60min cardio at 80% max HR.
    Increase over 4 weeks to 6 days/wk of 60min steady cardio and strength training every other day.

    Eventually “interval” training is introduced finishing at week 12 with 1 days/wk steady state and 5 days of intervals.

    The show is obviously a grossly exaggerated version of the book.

    I’d much rather be Primal, thank you.

    brian

  23. Always hated this show….time had a good write up on the extremes that they go to (not eating for days, diuretics, etc): http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1626795_1627112_1626456,00.html

    Motivation is one thing….false hopes, questionable nutritional advice and untold full stories for ratings is another.

    People know how to lose weight…the equation is not hard. Most out there are confused and not thinking for themselves anymore. Just need to shut off all the TV shows and throw out all the fitness magazines that are too distracting with the “latest” craze and master the basics….move more, eat less crap, eat real foods.

  24. This was a great post and I can’t agree with you more. I have never watched The Biggest Loser as the premise for it is truly frightening — and this is not ‘reality’ tv. It is abusive, oppressive, mean-spirited, misleading, downright dangerous, and it preys on misery in a culture in which the ‘confessional’ has become a sad stand-in for compassion and personal accountability. Oh, I could go on, but I shan’t. Thanks again for taking the time to put this post together.

  25. Very well said, Mark. I think it would be just as interesting for viewers if the contestants traded their long gym workouts for briefer but more varied and intense CrossFit-style workouts. I bet viewers would be more motivated themselves if the working out didn’t seem so time-consuming or complicated (I’m an athlete and have never monitored my own heart rate!).

    The extra time contestants would gain each day could be spent sleeping (okay, not so exciting for viewers but maybe educational) and getting counseling for their emotional issues (lots of potential for great TV drama here). I concur with the suggestion that you would make a great guest trainer — but I bet the network and the sponsors would never go for it, common sense is, as you know, not very common and often controversial (and not in a “great for TV” kind of way!).

    Jessica from Goodbye, Small Heart

    1. jessica, i think that is a really great alternative plan. it would be like diet/fitness rehab.

  26. I can’t stop watching it. I don’t agree with anything about the show in terms of their weight loss/health tactics, but I must admit that the producers know what draws people to watch. I get a weird sensation when i watch it to go do some sit ups… but my wife gets urges to go eat.. go figure.

  27. Like other commenters, I cannot stand the advice given on the show, but cannot also stop watching, which admittedly will just encourage them to keep producing the show.

    I think last season’s contestant, Ron, presents TBL producers with a contradiction and conundrum that they have simply swept under the rug, rather than to try and explain it.

    Namely, with Ron’s physical limitations, he wasn’t able to work out at the strenuous level of the other contestants, yet, somehow, he managed to keep his weight loss on par with the other contestants.

    Seems to me that sends a huge contradictory message to TBL viewers.

    Afterall, if a contestant can keep up with the weight loss without the beat-me-to-a-pulp workouts, then why are they putting the rest of the contestants through that sort of hell??

    Would love to hear the producers and trainers try to explain that one.

    Love following your blog, Mark!

    Dan

  28. I’ve been watching it for the past few seasons (don’t hurt me, I’ve only been enlightened for a couple months now) and I own all their books, etc. Never worked and I lost little to nothing and gave up pretty quickly. Since I’ve switched over to Low-Carb (July 30, 2009) I have lost 26 lbs and feel amazing, unlike the sluggish, starved feeling I felt while following TBL formats (diet only, I haven’t been exercising other than walking on either WOE). For me, that’s enough.

  29. No matter what you say about the methods used on the show, the bottom line is that they work. Maybe there are other ways that would work better, but these people get their lives back. They have been obese for decades, if not their entire lives, and have tried everything. Whether their previous efforts were for lack of information, lack of motivation, or extrenal issues, the bottom line is they are placed in an environment where they can lose weight. Sure some gain it back, but most don’t. It is not as if these people do not know what they are getting themselves into. In fact, they are the lucky few that are selected out of tens of thousands that apply to be on the show. They have simply decided that the abuse, the workouts, and the eating regimen (however unorthadox or unhealthy it may be) is worth it for them. They are willing to show their obese bodies, to show their personal struggle, to show their lack of health knowledge to the world, all to take part in this chance to get their lives back. The contestants are not doing this for tv, or for the viewers. They are doing it for themselves, and in my opinion it is wrong for us to sit here and talk about the problems with the show. It is their lives, they knew what they were getting themselves into, and bottom line it works. You have to be kidding yourself to say that the transformations these people make are not amazing. I really dont think they are at a point in their lives to care that they lose some muscle along with their fat. I think it is wrong to point out the short term and specific problems with the show, while ignoring the long term and overall positive effects on the contestants’ health, body, and mind. If it wasn’t for this show, most if not all of these people would continue to struggle with their weight for the rest of their lives. Their kids and families would suffer from the same problems, if they havent already. These contestants in a sense have nothing to lose. The bottom line is this: the show may not be showing the “best” way to lose weight. All it is showing is how these people lose weight, and as viewers, it is amazing to see these people overcome their internal struggles to become healthier and more confident people.

  30. The sad reality for many of these contestents is that they gain much of the weight back after they’re off the show….not very many people can keep up a regime like that for an extended period. I have lost 14 lbs since mid-July with the primal lifestyle and have never been hungry or felt deprived. The exercise has been tolerable with NO INJURIES and I’ve been able to stick with it.

  31. Sal, they’re being given bad advice that ultimately harms their health and the show panders this information to their viewers. My sister is seriously overweight and has paid to see a licensed nutritionist for this same type of conventional wisdom garbage. You don’t have to be hungry and kill yourself in the gym to lose weight. Eat meat and vegetables to your hearts content and you will lose weight and feel a whole lot better in the long run! It’s proven – you can find numerous examples in the people that follow this blog. I’ve seen the results with my own eyes in friends and family (except for my own sister who choses instead to bow down to the conventional wisdom gods). If you don’t believe it, try it!

  32. The show legitimizes and glorifies the lie that you can spike insulin levels in metabolically challenged people with six feedings a day, and not suffer the autophagy of precious tissues. With circulating insulin, the muscle and even organ aminos become fare game for the extreme over training (self abuse).

    It strengthens the already entrenched notion in insulin resistance people that they are fat because they are simply lazy and self indulgent.

    Oh, and don’t get me started on the poor, fat starved people that ache all day long on the six meal a day, low fat dieting. I paid a diet “expert” hundreds of dollars for this program of breakfast/snack/lunch/snack/dinner/snack. I was hungry and exhausted all the time. I lost weight. I was mierable. after I went off program my self esteem hit rock bottom. The experience “proved” how hopeless my situation was, since I knew the program worked, but I also knew it made me feel horrible and sick. Go primal eating! Its the only plan that works AND is keeping me fed and happy and healthy!

    we need a primal oriented weight loss show,,”grok saves america!” lol

  33. Sal, you missed the point here on several levels. This is NOT the best way for ANYONE to lose weight. The fact that they undergo impressive short-term transformations doesn’t mean “it works.” In fact, from what I have seen nearly every single contestant gains weight back at various amounts from their finale weight.

    Check out these http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28239000/

    It may be a few pounds and it is often 100. If TBL worked, I would imagine they would ALL keep trending towards a healthy body composition until they arrived and stayed there. That’s how weight loss should work. Instead, most work way too hard to keep from gaining any or all of it back because they don’t have people yelling in their faces anymore and they don’t have the discipline (actually, NO ONE does) to stick with 1200 calories a day for the rest of their lives.

    And I suspect it’s not “amazing” to most overweight people who watch the show looking for answers. As I said here, I suspect it’s a total turn-off for most of them.

    1. Actually, I very often have difficulty eating 1200 kcal/day. I usually end up eating an ounce or more of nuts an hour or so before bed because I’m falling short 100-200 kcal (or more!). I’m just not hungry enough on a primal diet to take in more than that without having to think about it.

      Then again, I’m very sedentary. Most of my exercise is involved in making one photograph a day, which usually involves leaving the house–if only for a short while. 🙂

      If I was more active I’d expect my appetite to increase accordingly.

      1. Cerebus, good point. Once you cover your bases with protein and fats AND you still have plenty of stored energy (body fat)to make up the difference AND you don’t exercise that hard, you find you don’t need to eat that much or that you aren’t hungry all the time, as you were on a carb-centric diet. Your 2.5/week linear fat loss is classic. I would rather you did a bit more exercise to build lean mass, but for now. It seems you have it dialed in. And, yes, if you did more work, your appetite would increase to account for that.

    2. Mark, I think you are looking too much into the final weigh in weight. Clearly, when $100,000+ is on the line, people will starve themselves, and reduce their waterweight as much as possible for a short term minumum. Wrestlers, boxers, mma fighters, etc. do this all the time for weigh ins. It does not mean that this weight is their ideal weight.

      The only person who gained back the weight they lost was the very first person on the very first slide, which leads me to believe you didn’t go through all the people. Every single other person settled in at a reasonable weight that was not much higher than their final weigh in weight. Considering that for the earlier seasons, several years have passed since the final weigh in, I think these numbers actually go against what you are saying. Not to mention, if you read the stories, they have all been proactive in sharing their story with their community and family to encourage others to take on a healthy lifestyle.

      I never said that anyone should be eating 1200 calories a day for the rest of their lives. Obviously you must be below maintenance to lose weight, and for almost anyone 1200 is well below maintenance. But once people reach their goal weight, they can eat at maintenance to keep their weight. For most people, this will be twice what they were eating on the show.

      Also, although it may be a turn off to some people, I think thats a pretty general assumption to make. I have been on different biggest loser forums for years now and the number of obese people who have used the show as an insipiration for their succesful weight loss efforts is tremendous

      1. @Sal: you still don’t seem to get it.

        The reasons why TBL is misleading to the public are:

        – Their diet is not aimed at improving body composition, but in generating simple caloric deficit.
        – On top of the caloric deficit, they force the contestant into an completely unsustainable painful training, coupled with emotional abuse as an extra “source of motivation”
        – Weight loss at the expense of body composition causes a lower basal energy consumption. ie, the same person will get fatter with the same amount of food because it’s body uses less calories to function.
        – Fat storage is not a function of extra calories, but of hormonal unbalances and inflammation, both consequences of a poor diet.

        So what’s the result of TBL?

        Lighter people with lower lean body mass, chronic inflammation and distorted appetite condemned to find a way to keep their bodies in starvation by eating even less than what they where eating to begin with and by carrying out completely unsustainable workouts.

        The reason why people become morbidly obese in America is not because they are lazy and eat too much. It’s because they eat trash, and trash changes their metabolism and drags them down into being obese.

        1. I hate to double dip (unless it spinach dip with real butter 🙂 but the cases I’ve researched with moderate to very low carb diet weight loss shows, that most women who loss lots of inches eating real food and exercising, end up back at their goal size much heavier than when they were at that size before their fat gain.

          Some up to 20lbs heavier. Now thats healthy weight loss!

          Your statement brought this home to me, thanks.

    3. Ah, that’s what I was looking for! Thanks for the link, Mark.

      Poor folks! The majority of them were 20 lbs or heavier (or even more!) and only a couple or so actually maintained their weight. If CW was so effective, you’d think they’d all loose even more after going home and applying everything they learned (which nearly all of them testified to doing).

      I guess torture is not as effective a weight loss regimen as the media would have us believe. lol

  34. I’m sure someone else had to have seen Jillian’s horrific kettlebell demonstration last week. There are blogs and videos all about how poor her form was and how she missed a great opportunity to provide proper training instruction to a national audience. Epic fail!

  35. Mark, I stopped watching this show after the very first episode of the first season. That’s when the male coach (who I assume was Bob, but I’m not sure if it was someone else back then) told a guy who had a “really big gut” that the only way to get rid of it (and they said this in unison) was “lots and lots of crunches.” After I picked my jaw off the floor, I turned the television off. I just couldn’t watch.

  36. I watched the first episode because of another blog entry about it and lasted about only until the poor woman collapsed….and that was with lots of fast forwarding! I was appalled!

    Personally, I’d like to see someone haul off and punch one of the “trainers”!!

  37. I really can’t add anything. Most of my opinions have been covered.

    I feel so sorry for the contestants, stuck in the CW, along with the countless others who are overweight and obese. I do think it would be amazing to have a Primal show geared toward re-teaching people.

    Great post, Mark. 🙂

  38. Because of this post I went over and tried to watch the first episode on Hulu…fortunately it was too horrible to go on past the beginning montage.

    The trainers’ opening tirade at the audience annoyed me but also made me a bit smug: I’ve been losing weight and getting stronger year over year for the last several years…guess I’m not the target audience.

  39. Hi Mark,

    I’m not sure if you’re already planning to do this, but thanks to Youtube, you could produce a show that would be watched by thousands / millions.

    On the show, you could select a couple people and explain the principles of the Primal lifestyle. Weekly episodes would demonstrate slow but steady weight loss and increases in vitality, emotional stability.

    It might not be as delightfully schadenfreude as TBL, but it would show true results and true health benefits.

    It would be great promotion for your lifestyle and book and being a video would be much more palatable to lots of people who don’t read.

    Looking forward to the first episode of “The Healthiest Loser”!

  40. As someone who has about 100 lbs to lose, I’ve been compelled to watch TBL ever since the second season. I used to watch it in hopes that I would somehow be motivated to get my butt off the couch. So far it hasn’t worked. I still watch the show, but now more out of pity for those poor people. I know how they feel. I’m also amazed at the product placement for such garbage, processed nastiness. I’d be mortified if I had to hauk that crap.

    I’m a new convert to the primal lifestyle. I like it because it’s manageable. I actually like veggies. And after just two days, processed food started tasting horrible. I also lost two and half pounds in three days. Now that’s a lot for a short time frame, but I attribute most of that to water weight as well. I can run sprints and for a fat girl, I’m pretty fast. I can climb trees and play in the yard and move cinder blocks around. I can walk and ride a bike around for an hour a day. That’s cake. (Pardon the pun) Luckily, I continued to do martial arts and spring softball even in my fatness. I think it’s helped me to be able to handle the primal workouts better. It took me 18 years to get this fat. It’s gonna take at least one (if not two) to get down to where I ought to be. Evolution doesn’t lie. This works. See me in a year and I’ll be living proof.

  41. I would LOVE to see ‘Grok Saves America’.

    Have BBQs on beach, gourmet guest chefs, all sorts of (optional) training and games (primal and otherwise), spa treatments, invite motivational speakers and have professional photographers for before and after pictures; get professional stylists to help with wardrobe makeovers; celebrity hairdressers; sponsorship from spas, and from grass fed beef/bison outlets, etc.

    Someone said it might be boring? I doubt it, there is a lot of room for drama, all with a positive spin.

  42. Mark,

    As other people have mentioned, TBL is not only flawed, but not sustainable. It would be interesting if there was a third trainer (Let’s call him Mark S.) who advocated a primal / paleo slant.

  43. TBL is definitely “laugh at the fat kids” hour. This is evidenced by the number of people I know who watch the show–while eating ice cream, cookies and other junk food. It’s almost a badge of honor–what’s the biggest pile of crap you can shovel in while watching the fatties sweat and puke from overexercise?

  44. I don’t like TBL. It’s abusive and demeaning to the participants. I don’t watch it.

    My husband lost over 50 lbs this year since January. We have been eating paleo, and he has taken a job which is a lot more physically active than his old job. That’s it.

    I have not had the stellar weight loss he has, but I have a few other health issues on my plate, and I don’t do heavy lifting at work five days a week.

    A few years ago, I tried the CICO/OverExercisingTM “TBL” style of “conventional weight loss wisdom” and I happen to be one of those lucky people who puts on muscle at the drop of a hat — instead of losing weight, I gained it! I was hitting the gym before work every day, sometimes after work, too – and eating nothing but salads.

    Not only did I end up gaining weight, but my allergies and asthma got worse, too. And I was exhausted all the time, with deep dark circles under my eyes.

    I can’t do that to myself any more. I’d like to do more physically active things, but that is hard to fit in around the crazy schedule of my new job.

    But until I can, I will keep eating paleo. And keep striving for primal.

  45. Instead of killing myself for countless hours at the gym, I walk the dogs for an hour each morning. I go to the gym for two short, intense strength training sessions a week. About the only “conventional” thing about my diet is I do track calories in a food diary, although I’m a lot more concerned about the quality of nutrition, rather than quantity (as we paleos would define it….)

    Like the contestants on TBL, I started out huge – 374 lbs on 5/13/09 (6’3″ male). I weighed in this morning (day 140…20 weeks) at 293, for a loss to date of 81 lbs. I don’t think I’d care to trade places with the TBL contestants. I enjoy my food, I’m not in pain and I don’t have a trainer screaming at me & humiliating me.

    Thanks for all the great information Mark. I finally feel I can look forward to the future as being better than the past, healthwise.

  46. We haven´t had a TV for the last 7 years (our children are growing up without a TV), so I have no idea what you talking about. In any case, I wouldn´t waste anytime analyzing what is on TV, just spend your time convincing people to throw their tv sets away.

  47. Hi Mark:

    Why don’t you start a EF version of the biggest looser? The only problem is that it would have to be a mini series…the contestants on the EF version would take much less time to achieve their goals than those poor sods on “the biggest looser.” Ha ha!

  48. i saw this show one time. I don’t have a t.v. and shows like this are one of the reasons for that. I was horrified at the way these people are treated. It truly is a recipe for eating disorders, guilt, and failure. Thanks so much for this post!

  49. So Mark, it seems that many agree you should develop a show with the PB as the basis! I think it would be a great success and help to shake up the CW world! Your site and book have completely changed my life forever, and it would be an excellent way to spread the good word about the simple logic behind it.

    You’re not too far from Hollywood, don’t you have some connections? 🙂

  50. After reading your column I decided to watch it last night. What a horrible show. Two hours of close ups of surprised faces that would have put the Our Gang kids to shame. What a joke. Even Bill Shatner would have been embarrassed by the emoting going on in that show.

    And what’s up with Jillian? Two hours of being pissed off does not make her “the best in the business” of losing weight as she so modestly claimed.

    Thanks for ripping them a new one Mark. I’m annoying everyone who’s ever told me they love that show by sending them the link to this column. 🙂

    1. When you ask whats up with Jillian, I must say, 2 hours of her screaming doesnt make her the best in the buisness, BUT.. what does, is the THOUSANDS of people who literly worship her, her products and her advice. She IS the top trainer in the COUNTRY, or world because she is top dog in australia too. Jillian claims to be the best in the business because simply she IS the BEST in the business. Im assuming, u really know NOTHING about Jillian Michaels, and just went off that one episode? There is more to her then The Biggest Loser. Shes all over. Shes so much more then a tv show. She is EVERY over weight girls hero! Whether they admit it or not!

      1. I beg to differ and would appreciate it if you wouldn’t lump me in with “every over weight girl”. She’s not my hero. Vast generalizations are vastly inaccurate.

        1. if u met jillian u would think different. she is amazing. she may not be a hero, but she is someone who you wouldnt just walk passed if u were to see her in public. no, u would want to ask her a question or two. now the real question is.. would u take her advice OR simply just tell her shes NOT the best in the buisness and she knows nothing?? — thats y i said what i said. sorry.. didnt mean to offend u lol.. but then again, i am a jillian fan, maybe that is offensive? sorry.

  51. Because I don’t watch TV, I’ve not seen the show, but have heard of it. I read about Jerry Lisenby in Bicycle magazine, a former contest on the show & at the time, the oldest at age 62. He was voted off, but he did indeed make positive changes in his life, since losing over 100# and biking across America for charity. See his blog: http://www.jerrylisenby.com/browse.asp?page=51&bid=88

  52. Lots of good viewpoints here…not much I can add. But I will humbly admit I’ve watched the show and felt inspired by contestents’ new bodies and attitudes. But I realized it’s a hollow celebration.

    Sal, the best way to put this is that, simply ON THE SURFACE it appears they have succeeded.

    And the thing is, they ARE lighter, thinner and happier. Sure. And sometimes richer (because people, this is a GAME and a t.v. show above all else, right?)

    But the question remains…if you look deeper…at WHAT COST did this come?

    Finally, after all this time..with the help of the Eadeses and Mark, I am looking deeper within to what my body is doing, rather than simply what it looks like from the outside.

    Sadly, this show epitomizes the concept of being “shallow”. We need to remember that just because something looks like it’s working doesn’t mean it truly is in the most important ways. Thanks for calling attention to this, Mark!

  53. This show fails on many levels as Mark mentioned. I keep saying to my wife, it should be based on Bodyfat levels/percentage not weight loss. This would promote how to increase lean muscle, lose stored fat, obtain dominance on all levels of life (work, home, etc.). Show how you have time to enjoy smelling the roses each day.

    Work smarter not harder.

    Each week…

    60% bodyfat tested… 56% BF… 20%BF and the winner 4%BF or something like that… but it would have to be a gender based contest both male and female winners.

    Mark is the nutrition expert and commentator. Some one else the trainer on HIT sprinting and heavy lifting.

    Contest is 1 year long, no one gets kicked off each week/month.

    Side note: I would rather be 210lbs at 6% BF than 160lbs at 6% BF.

  54. Mark,

    I’ve been a big fan of your site for a while now and I am thoroughly enjoying your new book. I found you through a web search I did a while back for “man’s original diet”. I’ve been eating and exercising the paleo/primal way for three years now and life is good. My brother and his fiancee, after peppering me for several months about the paleo/primal way, have taken the plunge and are well on their way to healthier bodies and minds. I am happy to be a witness to their transformation.

    I felt compelled to comment on this particular post in order to add my voice to the chorus of readers urging you to do a paleo/primal version of TBL. I firmly believe that this type of visual program is the next thing needed to more effectively challenge the CW paradigm that is so entrenched today. To be sure, sites like yours and Richard Nikoley’s freetheanimal.com are effectively chipping away at CW, but a TELEVISED VISUAL PROGRAM would have even greater impact when viewers see the easy, steady results that are attainable with a switch to the paleo/primal way of life. Think “sledgehammer” vs. “chip away”.

    Here’s how I picture it:

    THE VOLUNTEERS
    Eight or so Volunteers (not contestants) sign on to reinvent themselves over the course of 3-6 months through a shift away from CW and an embrace of the paleo/primal way of living. They are people of various shapes and sizes. Some are overweight. Some have a few stubborn pounds to lose. Some are “skinny-fat”. All have much to gain by being involved. Everyone goes home at the end of each day to their family and friends instead of being isolated in a swanky spa.

    EXERCISE
    The Volunteers learn sane, brief exercise sessions based on intermittent lifting of heavy things, plus once or twice weekly sprints without any trainers yelling, belittling or otherwise demoralizing them. The concept of brief, restorative napping is introduced as well as the joy of unstructured play like frisbee and catch.

    EATING PLANS
    No shame or blame for the current conditions the Volunteers find themselves in, but rather, educational lectures on how CW conflicts with the proper way our primal bodies were designed to be fueled and fed. After each lecture, group meals of delicious meats and veggies, all drizzled with sauces and/or melted butter. Looks of amazement from the Volunteers rediscovering the joy of bacon and the realization that FAT IS GOOD. Extra bonus: introduce the Volunteers to the important concept of intermittent fasting.

    SUPPORT
    Therapists of various disciplines help any Volunteers through setbacks and roadblocks.

    WEIGH-INS
    Lots of support for each and every Volunteer on their journey to optimal weight. Weigh-ins include test results that show fat lost, muscles gained, improved lipid profiles, shrinking bodyfat percentages, etc. to show improvements from the inside out. Plenty of clapping and praise from one and all. Nobody gets voted off the program. Nobody looks undernourished and spaced out at the finale. Everybody wins.

    THE MEDIUM
    I believe the best medium for transmission of this type of program is YouTube. This will take care of any sponsorship issues: no sponsors, no conflicts. Brief 9-10 minute episodes.

    THE IMPACT
    Such a show would turn heads. The visual impact of seeing the Volunteers easily, steadily and consistently losing fat and building muscle while eating plenty of meat, fish, eggs, roast chicken with the crispy skin, delicious veggies with melted butter and sauces and actually having fun while exercising more effectively and without being tortured will do wonders. IF YOU SHOW THEM, THEY WILL COME. And it could well be the tipping point of a tremendous shift in this country. I urge you to make it happen. How can I help?

    Sincerely,

    Paul

    1. Paul, great ideas. I am very well connected in LA and Hollywood and have pitched this sort of concept for a decade. As my friend Mark Burnett (producer of Survivor, Apprentice, 5th Grader, etc) says, if it’s not “salacious” it simply won’t sell – the program directors won’t buy it. That’s the sad part about TV today, but it’s the truth. The PB experience is better suited to a movie documentary that follows the participants on a 90-day journey. That’s still a viable option for me, but one that has significant hurdles and costs in order for it to be worthwhile. In fact, it was my failed attempt at my own health-talk TV show “Responsible Health”, which aired daily on Travel Channel for several weeks, that led to me starting up MDA, where producing content is inexpensive and distribution is free.

      1. This is unfortunate because there is a population base that is craving for intellectual programing, whether is it a health and food tv show, or one based on scientific knowledge (not diluted down for the generic public) but went into specifics. We could then all learn as we watch TV, instead of being easily mind dead.

        I think what Mark is doing is more than diet/health advice, it is providing a spiritual awakening inside us. To lead the future generations down the correct path, focus on spiritual/intellectual growth to make life easier. Time for everyone to wake up!!!!

      2. It sounds like an episode of Made on MTV. They only do one 17-20 year old at a time, but it’s generally supportive, and they could totally take a kid to primal lifestyle.

      3. Mark,

        Thanks for your reply. I admire your dedication. I’m impressed that you’ve been pitching a primal/paleo version of TBL for a decade, but it doesn’t surprise me in the least that not a single television producer or network will touch it because it’s not salacious enough. That’s one of the reasons why I suggested a YouTube version of a paleo/primal TBL. In order to change the paradigm of CW to primal/paleo, it may require bypassing entirely the TV networks and sponsors who are resisting the common sense approach to diet and nutrition. For this reason, I believe that change will have to come initially from the outside in. YouTube is the perfect medium to start that fire. It will accomplish two things: (1) showing viewers that the paleo/primal lifestyle changes are doable and sustainable and (2) showing the television producers and networks that there is an instant audience for such a series once they put their eyeballs back into their heads after seeing the number of hits each segment is generating. IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME.

        All the best. Grok On!

        Paul

        PS – I want to encourage fellow Grokkers and Grokkettes to post their success stories on YouTube. Show where your started from, how you changed your diet, record your Grokkin’ workouts, post pictures of your consistently toning physiques, etc. More fuel for the fire. Be the change you want to see in the world.

  55. I agree with all you wrote and would like to add something else. I’m a certified Russian kettlebell instructor (RKC) and what Jillian Michaels is teaching with the kettlebell is unsafe and a travesty. Her technique and form aren’t even close to what would be considered good practice and yet with her devotees in the millions she is considered an expert, as you so clearly spell out. The show is a joke in all ways but it isn’t funny.

  56. When going through UDT/SEAL training the instructors do nothing but yell at you. This is to weed out people who should not be there. And to keep you from getting killed. You learn little though. If you make it through, the instructors start to talk to you. And that is when you learn. Screaming at people just scares the shit of them, but does not increase their information base, which is what these folks need.

    1. That is because simply… YOU cant! Your a personal trainer maybe but your not on TV for entertainment. Jillian isnt really like that, shes all heart! Ive met her! You personal trainers who work for a BOSS, can not yell at your clients, or they will not come back. DUH! dont compare yourself to the #1 TOP TRAINER IN THE WORLD! Literly, you may not admit it, but you KNOW shes more experienced then you, and you KNOW she has more knowlage then you, so until you do, and until you have millions of dollars and fans, stop comparing yourself to Jillian Michaels!

  57. Mark’s reply to the request that he do a primal tbl is why I don’t have a tv, haven’t had one for years and won’t have one anytime soon. I don’t want to sound like a self satisfied puke… (blah!) but I can’t watch shows like that. Too depressing.

    I was primal before I found this wonderful site – but only because I’m a freak for research and it’s all out their for anyone who digs deeply enough. But, Survivor for obese people?

    Instead of TBL, (or TV period) read Girard’s Mimtiic Theory: http://ionparadox.homestead.com/girardiantheory.html and you’ll understand why none of us should watch the worst in human behaviour as a form of entertainment. His work “The Scapegoat” on human violence is awesome too.
    His theory (one of them) Focus on what you want to become…you will mimic it.

    Or watch TBL and tell yourself you’re different than those sorry folks…

  58. I really take umbrage at the way contestants are treated. If telling fat people how lazy and disgusting they are were really effective, we’d have way fewer fat people in this country.

    It also bothers me how much they reinforce stereotypes about fat people–stereotypes that are often not true.

    SOME people are fat because they binge eat, but MOST are not–it’s WHAT they eat, not HOW MUCH that is usual the cause of the fat, and also other factors (genetics, etc.).

    Also, while I agree that inactivity is widespread, and a contributing factor to fat, there are plenty of fat people who get exercise. I know this, because the trail that I bike/run/walk on 5 days a week is used by fat people that I’ve seen on a regular basis, over time. Some are exercising pretty strenuously (ie, running, biking quickly) and some merely strolling, but it seems that many of them are exercising more than the “average American”. And consistently. But they are still fat.

    So “The Biggest Loser” reinforces that tired myth that fat people can’t lose weight because they haven’t/aren’t trying or not trying hard enough. Which is not true and not helpful.

    Thanks for posting this, Mark.

  59. OK..I agree with all of you, and have done every diet known to man (though never as extreme as TBL)…then my friend who has MS went on the Paelo eating plan and in 3 months was off her meds and became pregnant which she thought was impossible..soooooo
    I went on it 2 months ago, no wheat, no sugar, no dairy..and my IBS is gone, I lost 15 pounds effortlessly, cook every day (I never did before) and want to shout it in the streets when I see large people eating fast foods.
    I have more energy, walk 2 miles a day and am starting to lift weights..oh and I am 69 years old, 5’3, 128 lbs now.

  60. While I cannot disagree that the way they do things on the show do NOT work for people off of the show and they should NOT try to do it. However, it is a TV show for severely obese people. Anyone who has half a brain cell knows that. You also need to remember that many people around the country do their own “Biggest Loser” competitions where they follow REAL guidelines like you lay out. I lost 26 pounds in 8 weeks doing that very thing. The problem is, as with any kind of diet, that you must keep that lifestyle – eating healthy and working out. Not that easy when you have a full life as it is. Appreciate your daily apple!

  61. I don’t watch tv, so I had no idea about this show, though I’m not really surprised about what passes for “entertainment” these days. How about next season, I bring on my 200lb self, hire Mark as my personal trainer. We’ll show clips of me hiking in the woods and climbing trees, going to the local playground where they have a rock wall and climb that, doing bike sprints, walking on the beach and making spears out of sticks for fake kills, stalking through bushes, chasing things, swimming and playing tennis.

    Then we’ll have clips of me catching a nap in a hammock in the sunshine interspersed with other contestants slaving away in the gym. Then some meagre portions of broccoli and rice while I have baked salmon for breakfast, butter on a bison steak with salad for lunch, eggs scrambled with pepper, onions and chives for dinner and a chunk of dark chocolate for dessert.

    I’ll lose weight slowly and steadily like I’m doing now, but in five years you won’t have me on an expose that the biggest loser didn’t gain it all back.

  62. I couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately we have our own version of TBL here in Australia and I’m sure it’s a clone of yours. I know a couple of overweight people who take great pleasure in watching it all the time thinking to themselves “at least I’m not THAT fat” and thereby giving themselves permission to continue to overeat etc. I’ve never been much interested in “train wrecks” either.

  63. No amount of ridicule,or humiliation, will help these contestants lose weight any faster. I think compassion and an understanding of what it is like to be obese goes a longer way in helping them, than cursing,swearing,and dragging them through the mud so to speak.

    The amounts of weight loss that is lost from week to week is not good for the heart. How can you tell me 25 lbs in one week is possibly healthy?

    They do not concentrate on food intake and a healthier lifestyle after they leave the ranch. They keep pushing snacks that are usually loaded with sugar. In my opinion they are setting themselves up for weight gain.

    One more thing that I find exceptionally interesting, is when a contestant is hurt during a workout and has to sit out training, why is it that they tend to lose more weight than anybody else who is killing themselves in they gym? Go figure.

  64. I think the biggest problem with the show is that the calorie counting and obscene amounts of cardio WORKS! The winner DOES drop 100+ pounds each season. Thus continuing the belief in Conventional Wisdom. It’s sad. Because it’s COMPLETELY not sustainable. The only way any of them can do it is to put their lives completely on hold and go to fat-camp where their day job now becomes working out. NO WAY you could live that lifestyle and hold down a day job. Never mind how difficult – nay impossible – it is to stick to a low fat/low calorie diet.

    If ONLY THEY KNEW how EASY it is when you go primal. I’ve been primal since March and I’m down 38 POUNDS! A respectable, sustainable, 1-2 pounds a week. And I’m doing virtually NO cardio. I surf on occassion, I lift weights, but ZERO regimented X-amount of hours on a treadmill nonsense.

    My roommate on the other hand is killing himself in the gym, eating low fat/ low calorie, until his willpower cracks and he carb binges, and he has virtually NOTHING to show for it in the same 6 month period. He’s within 5 pounds of his starting weight. Meanwhile I’m down 38 pounds. Like the sham-wow guy says, “I don’t know, it kinda’ sells itself!”

  65. Many of these posts still show the one big issue…The scale….IT DOESN’T TELL THE WHOLE STORY.

    Go back to May 2009…I weighed 181 pounds. Now I weigh 192.

    The rest of the story is that I was 16% fatty tissue in May and am 11% now. So I’ve gained 19 pounds of lean tissue and lost 8 pounds of fat. I’m 48, male, lift heavy stuff, play tennis and golf, do lots of heavy lifting as well as kettlebells and bodyweight. I follow the Paleo Diet for Athletes. And the scale, as I show you, means nada

  66. I watched a couple of episodes last season but those two “trainers” wore me out. If anyone got in my face like that they would eat a knuckle sandwich.

  67. I have nothing good to say about this show. I have a dear friend that became so obsessed with this show, she actually did try out to be on this show, and didn’t get picked. She would of been away for many months from her job and her husband, and would of went thru abuse. I told her to count her blessings she did NOT go, that she would of been getting herself into misery and pure Kaos! NOW she is working out WITH her husband…together not apart, still has her job, and she’s NOT under “pressure” @ TBL Ranch to be forced to lose weight in a dangerous way. It’s just NOT reality to lose weight this way. These contestants are pushed past their limitations, it’s just not worth it!!

  68. I used to watch this (not on my own free will) at the gym, as it was usually on in the afternoon. If anything, it certainly made me more angry and made my training session more intense 🙂

  69. The fact that Jillian aka the toughest coach, wasn’t fired and off the air on the spot after her rediculous treatment of the client on the step machine tells me that the show is not to help people at all. Shame and redicule come all to often with obesity. Being talked to worse than most people would talk to a dog was a loud and clear indication that Jillian has reached a point where she needs to stop and get control. She may have been a good therapist but she is either burned out or experiencing some sort of problem that needs it’s own show to focus on and help. She needs it! I just wonder who would care enough to try to help her.

    1. Um, anyone in america would care enough to help Jillian Michaels! And Jillian helps a lot of people. She screams because she cares. She doesnt like it when the contestants give up, or THINK they cant do something, and guess what? Contestents dont hate her for screaming, they love that Jillian cares enough for them that she would waste her energy on them. It gets them to do something they NEVER thought they could do. You are talking about Shay on the step machine. Look at how confident Shay is already, because of that day! Its only week 3 and you can tell a BIG difference in her, episode #3.. she was on that SAME stair machine, only pulling through longer, harder and without even THINKING of quitting. EVERYONE LEAVE JILLIAN ALONE! She does her job, she cares and she is DAMN good at what she does. Plus she has MILLIONS of people who love her, so like it matters if 5-6 people dont like her.

  70. hm, well.. Jillian and Bob are the TOP trainers in america.. so I think they know what their talking about and doing. If it was that unsafe, it wouldnt be airing for 9+ seasons! It would of stopped a long time ago, or never started at all.. so far, so good! Jillian and Bob rock! They’re helping people, and not just biggest loser contestants, but america! They MUST be doing SOMETHING right! right? ha! this artical was lame! honestly…

    1. And look! A clueless troll.

      They are certainly popping up out of the woodwork in the last week or two, aren’t they?

      1. There appears to have been a hive infestation. They come in swarms. One of their worker bees finds honey, sends a message back to the hive, and the rest of them come to feed.

        Human herd tendencies are funny that way.

  71. SEASON 7’S WINNER, LOOKED SO UN HEALTHY, SHE LOOKED SO OLD AND DISGUSTING!!! I THINK THAT IS WHY SHE DOESNT GET ATTENTION, NOT COMMERCIALS, MAGAZINES OR ANYTHING! SHE WAS A HORRIBLE PERSON TO WIN. SICK. SAGGY SKIN, WHITE HAIR. THATS JUST GROSS. WHAT A BI*CH TOO. THE SEASON 6 WINNER WASNT TOO BAD, SHE LOOKED GOOD. BUT HELEN WAS GROSS.

    JILLIAN, YOUR PINK GIRL LOOKED SICK! AND THE OTHER PINK GIRL, HER DAUGHTER SHANNON, STILL LOOKED FAT. WHATS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE??????????????????!

  72. I think last season’s contestant, Ron, presents TBL producers with a contradiction and conundrum that they have simply swept under the rug, rather than to try and explain it.

    Namely, with Ron’s physical limitations, he wasn’t able to work out at the strenuous level of the other contestants, yet, somehow, he managed to keep his weight loss on par with the other contestants.

    Seems to me that sends a huge contradictory message to TBL viewers.

    Afterall, if a contestant can keep up with the weight loss without the beat-me-to-a-pulp workouts, then why are they putting the rest of the contestants through that sort of hell??

    Would love to hear the producers and trainers try to explain that one.

  73. I think I’m going to do it. It’ll take a while to get set up as I only have a flip video camera right now and I’ll have to recruit some “camera men” for primal workout days…LOL. But I honestly think I’ll try to make a You Tube series that follows my primal journey. Y’all have got me thinking (and that’s usually dangerous)…

    1. PJ,

      Go for it! The flip videocameras are great and easy to work with. Let us know when your first video us up on YouTube.

      I liked your earlier comment: “It took me 18 years to get this fat. It’s gonna take at least one (if not two) to get down to where I ought to be.” You are smart to be very kind to yourself during your transformation. Best of luck to you!

    1. But, come on now! She has to proclaim she and Bob are like OMG! THE BEST TRAINERS IN THE WORLD every show!!!

      Nah. I can definitely think of a list of trainers who are much better.

  74. At my work, if anyone talks to anyone like those trainers talk, it’s harassment according to HR. Maybe people watch it because they don’t get to scream at people at their own jobs.

    For those commenters who think this screaming abuse means love, caring, and results, why don’t you try it at your work and see how it goes? Or ask your boss to, better yet.

  75. Proper exercise, HIT strength training is something one needs to think their way through. Not only are their modalities in vain but as I said before, from personal expirence yelling at people teaches them nothing. Scares the sh-t out you, yes. Now that could keep you from doing something stupid, but teach you something smart, no.

  76. You can measure how effective the show is by the effect on the rates of obesity. Are they helping millions of people get well and strong, or are they only entertaining people, and making money from ratings? Sensationalism.

  77. Desperate people need desperate measures. It’s not like they’re 20 pounds overweight like most of you are, they are 200 pounds over weight… that’s a whole other person, people!

    They can exercise this much without risk of burning up muscle because they are this fat: there is so much much more fat that the body starts to utilize that instead of burning off lean mass (if a regular person exercised like this they would definitely burn muscle)

    Portion control IS necessary, and knowing what you eat and recording it is vital to track your success and keeps you accountable for your actions. These people do have a problem, and they’re there to fix it, and to do a job this big you really need to stick to it

    oh… and take it from someone who’s been overweight for most of his life, burning 50lbs of fat IS hard, and if you can’t take it, keep eating that Twinkie and be fat by yourself…

  78. The thinner you are the less willing your body is to give up its fat and the less fat you’re going to lose and the more muscles you’re going to lose when dieting.

    The fatter you are and the more willing your body is to lose its fat and maintain muscles.

    Following this simple rule I have always known that very obese people can lose 20 times what an overweight person would.

    The rule of losing at most 1 or 2 pounds of pure fat at week doesn’t apply to obese people that can lose dozen of pounds a week safely and easily.

  79. BL is deffinately a huge hoax, it is really sad to see all those people put their heart and soul into it, only to realize at the end of the day that they were climbing the wrong ladder.

    I would also love to see Primal Blueprint on TV, but not as a competition, more like a reality documentary type. Where you started from including weight problems and all the illnesses and ailments, and where you are today.

    1. How can you say BL is “deffinately (sic) a huge hoax” when the results are plain to see? Also, winners from previous seasons have KEPT the weight off — where’s the hoax?

  80. Rick check also Anthony Colpo free booklet “They’re all MAD”. He analyzes dozen of studies that prove without doubt that Taubes is wrong on this one (just like he is on exercise)

  81. There’s definitive proof that calories in/calories out doesn’t hold water in the numerous blogs out there where people have adopted primal/paleo/high fat/low carb/low sugar diets and lose weight while eating to their heart’s content. Look at Mark Sisson’s pictures! There are many others I can show you that have adopted this life style with similar success and equally impressive physiques. For the naysayers out there, what do you eat? How do you look? Where are your pics? I’m telling you from experience and observation that calories in/calories out DOES NOT WORK for long term weight loss. If you want to lose weight and maintain a lean physique, Primal is the only way to go. If you’re going to say otherwise, then create a blog, share your diet with us and post your pics to prove your point.

    1. Anthony Colpo is a Paleo ow-carber, I’m a primal diet follower. You don’t have to be supporter of another diet to question the thin theory that only carbs get converted to body fat. In fact the Primal diet would work in both cases: wether a calorie is a calorie of whether a calorie is not a calorie.

      Less carbs and more proteins means a better body composition regardless of total weight. It also means less hunger and cravings and hence less calories.
      High-carb intake tends to store the extra fat in the abdomen whereas low-carb intake tends to burn fat primarly in the abdomen. Less carbs means less crash and more energy hence more NEAT and more incidental caloric expenditure. A prima diet means also an healthier body and organs and hence smoother processes of transformation and metabolization.

  82. if you follow the food guide and actually eat the required servings and add some exercise watch your carb intake 15grams per serving fat intake 3% per serving drink lots of fluids you will loose weight. Don’t deprive yourself eat smaller portions on a smaller plate it is a trick of the eye if you fill smaller plate you think you ate more but you actually ate less I lost 20 lbs doing this and am still doing it

  83. I think that it is a shame to watch the mesomorphs make fun of the endomorphs. I’ve watched portions of the show and moved on from time to time.

    The emphasis on cardio and long gut wrenching workouts make me feel sorry for the contestants. I understand that drama sells.

    It seems so sad to watch torture on TV.

    1. Well, hopefully the endomorphs with mesomorphic tendencies will learn that they can start sprinting, sack the trainer, pick her up, keep running with her, then toss her as she squawks with fear and surprise.

      …People like that tend to learn their place when they realize that the muscular fat folk can pound them into mush. Especially since it’s hard to tell which fat people are strong and which ones aren’t.

      It’s too bad about the people on the show, but as it’s been running for a while, they DID choose it. What’s sad is that they don’t know any other way to go about it.

  84. Thank you for this article. I had been watching the show and using it to inspire me to continue with my own program, but have started to become disappointed with my own results, and thinking that perhaps some of the contestants were barfing or something, because there’s just no way to maintain that level of weight loss. Granted, I only work out for an hour, and I’m only 200 lbs (was 210 when I started), and I eat higher quality food, although I do eat more carbs than I ought and I don’t believe in low-fat or “sugar free” – I eat primarily organic, non-packaged foods, make my own whole wheat bread, drink raw milk, etc.

    Perhaps you are familiar with this article: .http://www.mmdnewswire.com/attorney-a-fitness-professional-with-the-nwsf-investigates-the-biggest-lo…ser-2203.html

    I also read contestant Kai Hibbard’s myspace blog and she has a lot of interesting things to say about her experience.

  85. Mark, great story as always.

    To be honest I started to weep while I read it.

    Here is why.

    I have never been obese or had to deal with weight problems other then being lazy and choice.

    I am currently in my last phase of my second round of P90x and through the whole process along with you MDA and team boards, I have learned proper ways to eat.

    Reading I come to see that others pain has become a tool of enjoyment as well as a means to quantify in some a justification that they aren’t fat.

    Watching obesity when one “Isn’t as Fat” can on it’s own make us somehow feel good about ourselves as we watch others suffer with the “Wrong methodologies.

    I have learned that “right” way to care for my body. And discovered that there is a lot of “Crap” out there to eat that we are spoon fed daily…

  86. Jillian has (had?) an AM radio show on the weekend mornings in Los Angeles. She spouted wayyyy too much junk-science for my taste.

  87. I generally don’t watch very much TV and I think reality shows in general are the most insipid form of “entertainment” on TV (or anywhere else), yet I like TBL and I think it is performing a valuable service, while as you point out, there are significant flaws in how they go about it that diminish the benefit they might otherwise achieve.

    As someone who has lost 50 pounds (admittedly, over a period of 9 months) and kept the weight off for 5 years, I realize that there’s one key to successful weight loss: changing your attitude about yourself. Feeling good about yourself. Most people who are obese are depressed and they will never lose weight until they address the underlying cause of their obesity, which is not diet or exercise, but self-image.

    Intermixed with the yelling and screaming that Bob and Jillian do, there are some golden moments where they discuss with the contestants what their personal goals are and the reasons for their previous failures. Admittedly, these are too few and far between, but based on the way these discussions are highlighted during the episodes, someone there realizes that this is perhaps the whole point of the show.

    Maybe it would better serve the people struggling with their weight to just have a bunch of people who’ve successfully lost weight talk about their transformational personal moments, but I doubt that the ratings would be high enough to keep the show on the air.

    So for all its flaws, having this show on the air is, to me at least, better than having no successful show that tens of millions of people will watch that shows the types of transformation that are possible.

  88. HMMM So i went to a casting call for the biggest loser the other day in boston. It sounds like i should’nt be sad if i don’t make it?

  89. I have to admit that I really have no idea who you are Mark, but I thank you so much for this. In the past 10 years due to a number of reasons I have managed to gain a considerable amount of weight. Seeing that some of those reasons are money related, it is very tempting to give becoming a contestant on the biggest looser a shot. But I wondered what I really did have to lose. It seems as I suspected… a lot.

    I have known a few people who have had gastric bypass surgery or the lab band and that is a resounding no and not an option for me. I was very athletic up to my late 20’s and I am well aware of the dedication it takes to get in or keep healthy and in shape. And in my mind I didn’t see the biggest looser to be much different then gastric bybass or the lap band.

    It drives me crazy that all I hear is that loosing weight rapidly is not healthy, but yet here we are celebrating all these means of doing just that.

    While It would be a dream for me and my family to acquire a large some of money from winning a contest of any kind…

    I think a bigger blessing is a healthy me. And so I will continue to plug away eating right and exercising and just accept the reward of a longer, healthier life happily.

  90. The season I liked the best was the one with Tara. She was a superwoman! And as far as getting entertainment with other people’s “struggle” I say it’s their choice to be in the show and expose themselves like that. So yes, I will get guilt-free entertainment from the show. But, I will not follow their guidelines, it is not sustainable. And many people who lost weight in the show, ended up gaining it all back again. So what’s the point of working out so hard, looking thin and then once you are out of there, your weight is back on? That goes to show that the contestants were not happy and at their first opportunity they will start eating the foods they like and enjoy some well deserved rest. As Mark said, they probably think that if it takes that much effort to be healthy, then screw it!

  91. “Loser” means “someone who loses”.
    “Looser” means “more loose”.

    Seriously, folks, LERN 2 SPEL, ferchristsake!

  92. I was wounded in Iraq in 2004 and went from 175 to 210, and where I live there are trainers with some intials behind there names but that is about it. Then when you look up a fitness camp, well they cost more for a week than I make in a month. So I will keep trying on my own. I quess it is only a rich person’s problem.

    Captain Kelly S. Parrson, M.S. , 65D

  93. Unhealthy manner? That is just dumb. Being 450 pounds forever is far more unhealthy than losing weight “the bad way”. And as far as the show being like a schoolyard bully picking on fat kids, I am an overweight man, I am not particularly sensitive about comments about my weight but I really don’t see how making people do what they could not or would not do for themselves is a problem. I know some people gain weight back. But what is the percentage of people on this show that have gained back most or all of the weight they have lost as compared to those that do other diets and or surgery. I see the show as a jumping off point. The people in the first workout are puking and fainting, but that seems to dissipate over the course of the however many weeks they were there. They are left with a motivation and physical ability to actually DO what is healthy when they leave. Of course there are some extreme personalities that will end up practicing unsafe diet and exercise, but for the majority I think it’s just a springboard. Being morbidly obese is more dangerous than the practices on the show. Period.

    Now I would suggest to anyone that is hugely overweight to use what God gave you (GOOGLE) and figure out a safe diet and vigorous exercise routine to springboard yourself off the couch. And definitely do whatever it takes to get yourself to a point where you can exercise and not feel like you are going to die. Just do it

  94. I’m really enjoying the theme/design of your blog. Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility problems? A couple of my blog audience have complained about my blog not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Opera. Do you have any suggestions to help fix this problem?

  95. It\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s good to see blogposts exactly like it! I love when people are very inventive. I shall be back for sure!

  96. I actually know Daniel and he really is a wonderful person. I know this wasn’t the healthiest way to lose weight, and he still works out like a beast, but I have to say that for him it was a wonderful experience. The process may have sucked, but he is incredibly healthy compared to where he was and he found a wonderful loving girl in his second attempt.
    I really wish he would try PB now to eliminate the last of the flab and to give him a more relaxing lifestyle, but he’s definitely a disciple of the Biggest Loser fitness and eating. Maybe someday.

  97. well first of all, thank you very much for your time used in this post and even more thanks for your content, actually I really like, I begin to follow your blog more. regards

  98. I have never watched this show, but my guess is that they are feeding the contestants junk. If they were feeding them good healthy raw vegetables instead of sugar, additives, processed foods, white flour, etc., they would be getting healthier. They also would benefit from fresh raw (green) juices. The goal should be HEALTH not losing weight.

  99. Everything you say is absolutely correct. However, I think the contestants are largely at fault for the effect that the show has on the masses. If the contestants didn’t spend the whole season pretending that walking 3 miles and not eating cupcakes is an amazing feat of human fortitude, then the masses would see the show for what it is: a competition.

  100. The biggest loser show is a big health hazard to any person at any size. It is not normal for any person to exercise four or more hours a day and eat so little and not the proper diets for each indivaul person for each person is different with what he or she can eat. Some people can not eat certailn foods for the food makes them sick or they take certain meds. Fat yes it is bad to have to much however male or female we all need some and women more than men. People are different shapes and sizes still and always will be. To really be fair and true let’s have a show that has all real skinny people on it that is trying to build their bodies up so they can be more strong. Plus my baked cabbage is just as healthy as yours. What is the first thing that your enemy is going to do to you or should do to you is to make you more weak than he or she is.

  101. What is the first thing that your enemy is going to do to you? Make you and your body weak to fat weak or to skinny weak. The Biggest Loser is a show that is totaly stupid and dangerous for people of any size for every person’s diet is a little different because of alergies, meds ect. Plus people come in diferent shapes and sizes and always will. Most people lose to much weight when they get sick oh I could go on and on. I will add this real fact that is that women are to have more fat on their bodies than men.

  102. Good article, definitely nice to see someone calling the Biggest Loser on its BS. However, I thought the characterization of an obese person as someone who eats twinkies (implying laziness and a lack of healthy eating habits) to be stereotypical. Most obese people aren’t like that. Most people who read this won’t believe me, but it’s true.

  103. why does everyone assume that everyone falls for everything?

    sorry, no one needed to be pulled by nothing.. no one needed a slapping.

    most of the real world has some common sense left in them… honey.

    biggest loser? come on already it’s a show. diets are a scam and it’s called eating right.

    nothing more. stop making a mountain out of a molehill so to speak.

    no one is enlightening anybody. it’s already understood that things such as this are bunk and for entertainment purposes only.