Biggest Loser Damage Documented in Regained Weight

Thanks for all your emails and FB messages, but nothing in the new article in The New York Times, “After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight” is news to me.

The article details research showing how the Biggest Loser participants (and anyone rapidly losing weight) regains at an astonishing rate, destroys their metabolism, experiences great shame, and crushes their esteem. CountingLbs

Not only did I discover those truths in my own diet-and-regain merry-go-round of a life, I turned that vital information to my advantage in losing 92 lbs and sustaining the weight loss long-term. (74 lbs sustained since 2000 + another 18 lbs sustained since 2011).

Before that, shame was my middle name as I spent over 20 years losing and regaining.

What burns my butt is the disingenuous nature of the doctors and researchers in this article. You can’t tell me they didn’t understand these concepts, which I was able to learn as a layman in the medical school library. If it is news to them, we need to take a serious look at medical school training today.

Of course, I admit I had to explain it to my brother-in-law, a doctor, who claimed to have heard nothing of it in medical school.

Fat people, he claimed, were weak willed. Oh, brother(in-law)!

Why should I, simply a fairly intelligent woman who conquered a food addiction, be telling the supposed professionals about permanent weight loss?

  • Because they are only out to change the number on the scale and don’t have the patient’s long-term welfare in mind?
  • Because they take home their paycheck, regardless of success?
  • Because they are not (trained to be) invested in the health of their patients?
  • Or perhaps, like many people, they loathe and “feel sorry” for their overweight patients?


Scary True Story

I once stood in front of 200 people in a bariatric surgery support group and explained how weight returns after rapid weight loss. Yes, people were horrified, especially the ones who had already experienced the surgery.

I still hear from some of them from time to time, thanking me, because they decided not to have the surgery upon hearing my remarks. Good for them. Even if they never lost another pound, or gained one, they are healthier today, than if they had a body-disrupting surgery which rarely works long-term.

Weight regain after surgery is another dirty little secret of the medical community. As patients regain weight, they slink away in shame, their numbers simply being omitted from studies. I’ve coached many former surgery patients, all of whom have regained ALL their weight and more.

But, the scary part of my presentation that night was the doctors’ faces.

I’ll never forget it. It has helped fuel my truth-telling mission throughout the past 13 years.

In the back row. Mouths agape, eyes bugging out of their heads, shocked.


They had no idea how weight regain happens naturally. After all, when they looked around, after a year, it must have looked like they were doing good work.

They were full of themselves, patting themselves on the back.

But, they didn’t understand permanent weight loss and they were coming face-to-face with someone who did that night. I’m not about to hide the truth to protect their big egos or wallets.

After that night, I know one thing. They had to avoid looking at themselves in the mirror.


The Body Rules

The Times article points out the superiority of the body. It has its own intelligence and life-preserving capability. It wins. Every time.

In my enLIGHTen Your Life! mastermind weight loss program, I teach what I call the Catalyst Principles of Permanent Weight Loss.

Here are three of the most powerful ones:

1. Don’t do anything to lose weight you can’t do forever. (The weight will just come back.)

2. The body adjusts to what you give it. Give it less calories for a while (called a “diet”), it’ll learn to operate on that amount. What happens next will break your heart.

3. Stop judging yourself by the number on the scale. Not helpful. Too many variables you can’t see or control. End of story.

I’ve coached clients who did Slimfast 3x a day for a year GAINING weight on just 1000 calories a day. I’ve helped clients rebuild metabolism, a slow and arduous task, but it can be done, if the damage done via dieting is not too drastic.


Getting Wiser?

I can’t believe it’s news! As a society, we have to get smarter about the diet industry and their lies.

We’ve got to end the shame-based approach to weight.

And – very important – we have to accept a wider variety of sizes and shapes than the advertising, movie and tv industries offer. If I had any support in high school, telling me my weight was ok, I could have saved myself twenty years of pain, because I naturally wound up back at that weight I had thought was so unacceptable. In fact, most of my clients would love to get back to high school weight.

It’s time to find a healthier approach, one that actively teaches sustainable eating and activity habits, as well as intervenes when we veer into using food as a drug.

Our shame-based attitude focuses on failure and is guaranteed to simply produce more of what we don’t really need:  fat.


Get back to the body’s wisdom in this bodycentric virtual class, Own Every Bite!

If you don’t understand the elements of the body and how rapid weight loss affects them, read this post: Avoiding “Dieting Fatter” Syndrome – How to Get Permanent Weight Loss.

This one is an oldie, but a goodie:

Why I Hate ‘The Biggest Loser”


Additional good reading on the blog:

Avoiding “Dieting Fatter” Syndrome – How to Get Permanent Weight Loss

Secrets and Lies – and Knowing the Truth

Finding Your Unique “Optimal” Weight

Stop Renting Weight Loss!    

The New York Times Article: After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight

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