The NBC show “the Biggest Loser” has been in the news a lot lately; due to the fact that nearly all the contestants have regained all their weight plus some. The news reports are basically saying that it isn’t these peoples fault, but that they are physiological destined to fail. So this has me thinking is losing weight rapidly setting us to fail? Are we genetically predestined to be heavier than most of the population? Can we really win against our bodies? How can we successfully lose weight and keep it off for the long-term?
What is the “Biggest Loser Effect”?
Weight loss is easy; however maintaining the weight loss is a challenge. It is recommended that a person loses one to two pounds per week in order to prevent your metabolism from shutting down. However per the reports and what you saw on the show these contestants were dropping ridiculous amount of weight. Due to rapid weight loss, the effect known as “metabolic adaptation” where the body burns fewer calories at rest was happening to them. While this was expected the contestant metabolic adaptation rate was much slower than average.
So what does this means to sustainable weight loss?
When the body perceives starvation it conserves its energy which simple means your metabolism slows down. With a slower consumption of energy the pounds are packed on; which is the body’s way of conserving energy for the lean time. Rapid weight loss is not the answer to long-term sustainable weight loss, but slow and steady wins the race. While I’m not a medical professional and certainly not a dietitian I too have in the past lost a great amount of weight just to have it pack right back on. I thought it was because I went back living and eating like I did before the weight loss, moreover the starvation diets didn’t help.
When you have a significant amount of weight to lose one to two pounds a week sounds like it will take a lifetime, but isn’t that reason for losing the weight. Losing weight should be a lifestyle change not a completion, moreover who wants to compete every day. Therefore losing 52 to 104 pounds per year is very reasonable and sustainable. You will become habituated to eating right, exercising and taking very good care of yourself.
Don’t get me wrong I love seeing people change their lives is very dramatic ways, however surviving on a few calories a day and exercising six to eight hours a day is plain crazy. I have been on my weight loss and healthy lifestyle journey for four years and have kept the weight off and changed my outlook on my health and fitness.
What are your thoughts on this phenomenon?