Biggest Loser winner gained some weight: ‘it was absolutely healthy weight loss’

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Biggest Loser winner Rachel Frederickson went from 260 to 150 pounds in four months on the show. In the following three and a half months before the final, Rachel lost an additional 45 pounds to win the contest. She was the lowest weight of any contestant in the show’s history, and sparked concern and hang-wringing over her underweight figure. Frederickson assured everyone that she was fine, but admitted that she went to extreme measures to lose the additional weight, exercising around six hours a day while taking in just 1,600 calories. She did what she had to do to win.

In a new interview with The Today Show this week, Frederickson addressed the media controversy over her weight, and again said that she felt healthy. She looked it, too, having gained back some weight and looking much less extreme than she did on the finale just three weeks ago. Here’s some of what she said, and she focused quite a bit on having a positive self image.

On the talk over her extreme weight loss
I felt amazing on the stage. I felt like I shined in my dress. I got off the stage and… there was just so much chatter about it.

On if she was surprised about the attention she got
I was. I felt so proud of everything I had accomplished. My journey was my own and I loved it, I lived it. I felt really proud of what I did.

On if it was healthy weight loss
It was absolutely healthy weight loss. I dieted, exercised and did it healthy the whole way. I appreciate all the concern and I can see where it comes from… I was very unhealthy at 260 pounds and now I am the healthiest, most alive I’ve ever felt.

On her weight now
I am in the maintenance mode, which is just as hard as losing weight… Adding in family, and socializing and work and getting it all accomplished. It’s a big balance.

On if she fears weight gain
Of course, but I think that what I’ve learned is that I have an inner strength. I have a voice and I can trust myself. I didn’t trust myself, I was critical and I judged myself… you’re with you the rest of your life, so you better accept you and love yourself.

[From Video of The Today Show]

I enjoyed that interview and how positive Frederickson was. I think she’s absolutely glossing over how hard she worked to win that show, but it was a competition and she played by the rules. I don’t have an issue with Frederickson’s message, she’s doing her media duties, but I do have an issue with the way shows like The Biggest Loser and Extreme Weight Loss portray such rapid weight loss as attainable. Those shows are entertainment, they’re not out to help viewers achieve the same. People can’t drop everything, work out all day and live in a controlled environment in order to lose weight. They can make healthier choices that’s for sure but I question whether Biggest Loser even inspires viewers to do that.





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35 Responses to “Biggest Loser winner gained some weight: ‘it was absolutely healthy weight loss’”

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  1. Patricia says:

    I was pretty sure she would put some weight back on. She looks better with it and probably feels healthier. She did what she had to to win, but I don’t think anyone really wants to be that thin, especially when they are an athlete like her.

  2. Erinn says:

    I’m sorry, but there’s nothing healthy about feeling compelled to exercise 6 hours a day. I think her weightloss while on the show was reasonable, but once she left she went overboard.

    • Suzy from Ontario says:

      Just what I was thinking. How is losing over 100 lbs in 4 months healthy? That’s outrageous!

      • K says:

        Rapid, extreme wight loss is very hard on the organs.

      • FLORC says:

        Was it really 100lbs in 4 months time? That seems wrong. I can’t believe no staff medical consultant or whatever they have didn’t speak up.

        Now she looks great. Her face and figure seem well proportioned. Hopefully she doesn’t slip back into that manic mode.

    • emmie_a says:

      Exactly. There’s nothing healthy about that — and it’s not sustainable. I thought the show was all about teaching healthy lifestyle habits but there’s no way you can sustain daily six hour workouts on 1600 calories. Good luck maintaining that.

  3. aims says:

    I think someone’s body is kinda a private matter. But she did look gaunt. I know she was on a show that was about weight loss.

  4. Neffie says:

    She looks much better, she is looking her age again.

  5. Belle Epoch says:

    Agree! Has Biggest Loser ever gotten anyone to lose weight? Nobody can recreate that environment in real life. Even the contestants have their coaches on speed dial. It is TV entertainment. Personally I think it taps into a circus mentality – look at the fatties! – and is abuse disguised as caring. “We’re only doing this because we care about you.” And want RATINGS.

  6. Bridget says:

    Everyone wrings their hands about her final weigh in, but no one had a problem with her losing 110 pounds in 4 months at the ranch? NOWHERE is that considered healthy.

    • Suzy from Ontario says:

      Exactly! Healthy weight loss is around 2 lbs a week, so 36 lbs in four months. Extreme might be 50 lbs. But 110? And then she went and lost another 45? That’s scary

      • Bridget says:

        At that point at least her heart and her body were used to the intense regime. I just have such a hard time with all the ”she must have an eating disorder” talk, the ”does she think that looks good? She must have body dismorphia!” the ”oh, she shouldn’t be working out that much!” when she was basically continuing the regiment that they did at the ranch itself. But somehow it being on a TV show gives it a veneer of healthiness?

  7. Suze says:

    Biggest Loser is bread and circuses at its very lowest.

  8. Nicole S says:

    This was the first season of the show that I watched, hoping that it would inspire me to work out more, try more interesting things in the gym (if they can do it, so can I!). I love working out, lifting weights, etc – but lack motivation. I’m a lazy SOB at my core. Anyway – I was hoping to pick up healthy living and exercise tips from the trainers – I didn’t. At most, they promote Jenny-O and that’s it. And, instead of getting inspired, I sat on my couch and sobbed.

    • Jag says:

      Perhaps schedule time each day to do something – walk, lift weights, jump rope, bounce on a trampoline. My favorite is Tae Bo, and then using my Total Gym, sometimes instead on my elliptical or mini-bouncer. (Yes, I used to be an “As seen on tv” addict. lol)

      The main thing is to realize your nature and to work with it – not beat yourself up about it. If you know that you will put off exercise if you don’t do it first thing in the morning before you shower, then get up a little earlier each day and exercise then. For me, I need to exercise at night because that’s when I’m most energetic. Of course, the experts will say not to do that since that keeps some people from sleeping, but for me, it works well.

      If you’re not allergic, add organic coconut oil to your diet, and also add cinnamon. (Never use the liquid coconut oil from the shelf because it’s not real. Coconut oil is a solid at room temperature. And use real cinnamon – not Cassia – because Cassia can be toxic in the body.)

      Also, if you haven’t had a FULL thyroid panel done, you might want to see your doctor and make sure you’re okay in that respect. Do a web search on stopping the thyroid madness and you’ll see which tests to get. Most doctors aren’t aware that the “normal” numbers aren’t what they were in medical school because some people do need thyroid assistance when they’re supposedly just “low.” Best wishes!

  9. TX says:

    She will continue to put weight back on. Theres not way to maintain that weight loss when, like Celebitchy says, that lifestyle is just not realistic.

  10. Sam says:

    She has no clue what healthy means. Working our for 6 hours a day, combined with a 1600 calorie diet, is NOT healthy. You are basically inducing your body to starve itself and burn whatever it has at that point. Can you work out 6 hours a day and be healthy? Yes – if you’re an athlete and you take in well over 2000-3000 calories a day. The recommended weight loss for MOST people is 1-2 pounds a week. The obese can get away with 3-5 a week at the most (and even that is disputed). This woman dropped almost 50 pounds in a matter of weeks. That kind of shock to the system will not be without effects – particularly on your heart. Whoever told her that kind of weight loss could be healthy deserves to be publicly shamed. Selling this kind of delusion isn’t just bad business – it’s dangerous.

    • Bridget says:

      She just continued on with the diet and exercise they did on the show – did you miss the first part where she lost 110 pounds in 4 months? The show has spent season upon season with contestants losing 8, 10, 12 + pounds a week with no one complaining about how unhealthy it is. Don’t blame the contestant who wanted to win, blame the show.

      • Sam says:

        Where do you see me blaming her directly? I specifically said she got terrible advice. However, I do think there is a substantial difference between at home and the Ranch. On the Ranch, extra food is simply not available. You can’t gorge on junk because no junk is permitted on the premises. It’s far easier to lose when you live in what basically amounts to isolation and have access on only foods that encourage weight loss. Frankly, any obese person would lose weight on the ranch – even if they didn’t do any of the exercises. The environment creates the deficit. At home, the deficiet creation lies solely on the contestant. Thus, once she went home, the major of the responsibility for the destructive decisions lies with Rachael. That’s not rocket science, that’s common sense. Once she got home, she had the option to moderate the weight loss, and chose not to.

        Oh, and let me add – Rachael comes from an athletic, competitive background. She may not be now, but she was. Thus, she more than likely has at least some knowledge of the principles of good nutrition and health (unless she’s wiped them from her mind). Hence, I find it really tough to believe that she can claim with a straight face that working out for 6 hours daily on a 1,600 calories diet can ever be “healthy.” It’s far more likely that she knows exactly how bad it was but is trying to spin it to save face.

      • Bridget says:

        For someone that says they’re not blaming the contestant, you’re certainly doing a lot of the blaming.

        By the way, I would imagine that by ”healthy” it means that she’s still eating 3 meals a day, and getting her recommended vitamins and minerals, vs. straight up starving herself. For what it’s worth, McConaghey says the same thing about DBC – he lost the weight in a ”healthy” way.

        Ultimately, it doesnt matter if she was at home or on the ranch, she’s still a part of a show that expects its contestants to lose an unhealthy amont of weight in a short period of time, but somehow the person we’re criticising is the one who simply did what it took to win.

      • Sam says:

        Bridget, I’ve asked this before of you: you keep saying she just did what it took to win. But here’s the thing: somebody actually went back and crunched the numbers. Do you know that Rachael is the only contestant ever – in every season of every version of TBL ever (including the foreign ones) – to finish the season underweight? Ever. If what you are saying is true – and she did the logical thing to win – why isn’t every contestant doing this? Wouldn’t they all simply say “I need to exercise to the brink of starvation, win the money and put weight back on!” I think if what you are saying is true, this would certainly NOT be the first time this has happened. That’s because I think that while TBL certainly enabled unhealthy habits and thinking, it doesn’t really work unless the person hearing it is already pre-disposed to unhealthy thinking. Which I think it’s becoming sort of apparent that Rachael probably is.

  11. Jen34 says:

    The hardest part of maintaining a weight loss is getting your mind off of food. After you have built your day around what to eat, it is so hard to get back to looking at food as simply nourishment instead of the center of your life. I wish her luck.

    • Green Girl says:

      Yes, thank you and agreed. I need to lose some weight myself, and the hardest part is rethinking my approach to food and why I eat and how much I eat. I do wish her the best.

  12. Zigggy says:

    Much better. I doubt maintenance mode is just as hard as losing though…

  13. ycandles says:

    I know this is not what I should be focusing on in this story, but her headbands are the most useless of headbands. I thought they were supposed to keep hair away from your face? *continues to be old and crotchety*

  14. Size Does Matter says:

    I’m curious – how fast do people who have weight loss surgery lose weight? Is that unhealthy? Which is more unhealthy, rapid weight loss or prolonged heaviness?

    My husband has horrible, horrible sleep apnea and needs to lose 60ish pounds. I’ve tried to get him to make healthier choices, but sometimes I think drastic measures are necessary because it isn’t really working.

  15. kibbles says:

    I hate these shows because there are desperate people out there who will look at this and tell themselves it is okay to go to extreme measures to lose weight which could include developing an eating disorder and overdoing exercise.

    As someone who lost weight the healthy way, i recommend to first get to the gym. I did not diet and hate the word dieting. Just the act of going to the gym will make a usually sedentary person lose weight almost immediately. I started by exercising thirty minutes three times each day then increased it to an hour then to 90 minutes or longer. If one day I feel tired, I will exercise for 45 minutes to an hour. Do what your body tells you feels right for the day. Don’t become a fitness and diet nazi,

    Sure, make healthy food choices, but I hate the thought of depriving oneself of food. I love food. I’m an unapologetic foodie, but I like good food – unprocessed, fresh food. I still like to indulge and won’t make myself feel guilty if I decide to have dessert. Trust me, working out at the gym regularly will do wonders for most people and you’ll feel less guilty about eating the foods your like in moderation. There is no reason to go to extreme measures to lose weight for most people. It is possible to lose 50 or more pounds in a year through mostly regular exercise and slight changes in diet. Just be patient. Don’t expect results overnight like in these shows that promote unhealthy weight loss.

    • Janey says:

      Thanks for this comment – I’m getting back into running after a prolonged absence and you’ve just confirmed everything I’ve been telling myself.

    • Anners says:

      Can I just confirm was that 30 minutes 3 times a day, or three times a week? Cuz that would make a huge difference. I’m trying to get healthier (and tbh, thinner) and 3x a week is doable, but I really don’t have 90 minutes a day…it feels overwhelming :)

      • kibbles says:

        Sorry. I meant three times each week. However I try to go more often now. Once you gain endurance you might find yourself wanting to go everyday or every other day. Good luck.

  16. Happy21 says:

    She looks SO much better!

    And, no, the way she lost weight was NOT healthy. Maybe her maintaining her weight loss will be a little bit healthier. However, I have to wonder (even though she says to the contrary) if she’s perhaps now obsessed with diet and exercise because she’s terrified to gain weight back. It’s been known to happen…

  17. roxy750 says:

    I don’t get it. People won’t complain that she is way overweight but as soon as she gets skinny people bitch. I don’t get it i swear. It’s called jealousy. Wow women are catty.

  18. Other Renee says:

    It was a COMPETITION with a lot of money at stake. I’d have done the same thing.

  19. Jane Doe says:

    This woman was probably bullied and insulted for being overweight. Once she lost a lot of the weight, she is bullied and insulted for being underweight.

    People – women especially – develop issues with their own body image because they’re constantly judged and ridiculed; too fat or too thin, what exactly is ‘perfect’? Her apparently obsessive behaviour when it came to weight loss seems symptomatic of this.