The Biggest Loser
The Biggest Loser revealed their winner, Rachel Frederickson to the world on February 4. She lost a whopping total of 155 pounds, losing 110 pounds on the Biggest Loser ranch and then another 45 pounds on her own between the ranch and the show’s finale reveal. Rachel has caused a lot of controversy with people saying she lost too much weight and that she may also be suffering from anorexia or bulimia due to her daunting transformation. Rachel insisted she’s fine, saying her dramatic weight loss was due to a 1,600-calorie-a-day diet and working out over eight hours a day. She also went on to say that she walked for hours every day at a treadmill desk, squeezed in daily gym workouts, and attended up to four exercise classes a day, including Zumba and spinning. According to the body mass index chart, Rachel is technically underweight. And her skeletal appearance drew alarmed gasps from trainers Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper during the show’s finale. A situation like this needs to be approached carefully. The Biggest Loser is a show based on who ever loses the most weight wins a $250, 000 prize. That amount of money can put a lot of pressure on a person to lose that weight in that specific amount of time. So this is a complicated situation, as we know that eating disorders are a result of many factors. Many say it’s too early to say if Rachel actually has a problem and that her trainers and producers from the show will work to keep an eye on her. Shows like The Biggest Loser can be very dangerous because there are many factors that contribute to an eating disorder. The importance of weight loss on a show like this can be detrimental without careful assessment and support from trainers and producers. It’s unclear and unknown if the trainers and show even monitor for psychological health as well biological health. While the show does aim to make people’s bodies healthier overall, the emphasis and support of the cultural norm that only thin is beautiful is a problem. A show like The Biggest Loser should keep biological, psychological, and social health in mind at all times. The producers are considering providing more support and check-ins for the contestants after they leave the Biggest Loser ranch from now on. In past seasons, most contestants gained weight after leaving the ranch and being left on their own. It’s easy for people to just jump to conclusions when they see such a dramatic change in someone, like the one everyone saw with Rachel Frederickson. But accusing someone of anorexia or bulimia is not something that should ever be done lightly. Eating disorders are conditions defined by abnormal eating habits that may involve either insufficient or excessive food intake to the detriment of an individual’s physical and mental health. Bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa are the most common types of eating disorders and are unfortunately conditions many people have to deal with everyday. And while proper treatment can be highly effective for many suffering from specific types of eating disorders, the consequences of eating disorders can be severe. This Biggest Loser controversy is a very complicated one when the whole show is based on a format where the goal is for contestants to lose the most weight at a rapid pace for money. We all have to keep this in mind and also keep in mind that when losing weight one must do it in a healthy way; a healthy body and a healthy mind. It will be interesting to see if Rachel is indeed healthy, in both mind and body. Dedicating one’s life to a calorically restrictive diet and a third of her day spent exercising does make us wonder if she is truly engaging in a healthy body and mind.