By Evan Needell Larry King Now
NBC’s The Biggest Loser has gained a lot of interest in the past week. Not for the incredible weight the reality program’s contestants have lost while on the show, but instead for the weight that they've put back on in the years following.
The surge in interest began last week, when Season 5 winner Ali Vincent – the program’s first female victor – stepped back into the spotlight to reveal that she has gained back most of the 112 pounds she lost while on the show.
Vincent’s news coincided with an article published by the New York Times, detailing the findings of a study to be published on Obesity, a weight and fitness focused journal.
According to the New York Times, the study followed 14 of the 16 contestants of The Biggest Loser’s eighth season for six years after the season’s finale. The aim was to track how the contestants managed their weight after leaving the secluded and focused environment of “the Ranch,” and having to fit their rigorous health routines into the business of their every day lives.
The results are sobering.
The NY Times report details that almost all of the Season 8 contestants have put back on a considerable amount of the weight they lost.
The research reveals some surprising insight into how the body responds to sudden and drastic weight loss. While struggling to maintain the rigorous fitness regimen with their personal lives is a factor, another significant challenge was overcoming their bodies’ own biology.
Contestants found that their bodies seemingly wanted to return to their previous state. Across the board, resting metabolism decreased significantly, making it exceedingly difficult for the former contestants to sustain their post-ranch physiques.
Most of the study’s participants found that their bodies were burning roughly 500 less calories per day than should be expected for a person of their gender and weight.
This finding has significant implications for what we know about extreme weight loss. And while the results may be discouraging, it's important to keep in mind that this isn't the end of the road.
As Dr. David Ludwig, the director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, points out, “[this study] shouldn’t be interpreted to mean we are doomed to battle our biology or remain fat. It means we need to explore other approaches.”
For more information about weight gain in America, check out the above video, where Larry King interviews The Biggest Loser trainers Dolvett Quince & Jennifer Widerstrom about the key reasons why Americans struggle with obesity and what Americans need to do to fix this growing epidemic.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.