Why The Biggest Losers Can’t Keep The Weight Off

Mega burgerA recent article in an American Newspaper blamed a broken metabolism for the stars of The Biggest Loser not being able to hold on to their slender physiques.

Can you mess about with your diet so much that you actually damage your metabolism? Well I’m afraid that this is one of those yes and no cop out answers.

I’ll get to it in just a moment but first lets have a look at weight loss in general as theoretically it should all be so simple. Losing weight should go something like this.

Energy in – Energy out = Eat less and move about a bit more and lose weight.

If only eh?

Getting back to the answer though, no you cannot damage your metabolism. Not in the way that’s being reported in the press in relation to the Biggest Loser Contestants.

But yes extreme or frequent yo – yo dieting can affect your body’s sensitivity to lowering your calories. Running a calorie deficit is obviously what you need to do to instigate weight loss in the first place.

Your body however has other ideas and it will try and prevent what it perceives as starvation by attempting to hold on to fat stores.

Ok so let’s give an example of how things should work.

Jim is a 40-year-old male, who weighs 215 pounds at 5ft 8. He works in an office and doesn’t do much exercise he’s in his forties now and believes that he doesn’t really have the time, what with work, kid’s pick ups and drop offs and other commitments – such as quality couch time with Game of Thrones on Mondays.

So Jim has figured out that he needs 2500 calories to maintain his current weight and he’s reasonably happy with this but thinks he could do with trimming some of the flab.

Jim’s heard that 1 pound of fat equals 3500 calories and so he has a cunning plan to cut his daily calories by
500 which conveniently adds up to 3500 by the end of the week.

And so if his maths are correct he should lose approximately 1 pound per week if everything else remains the
same in terms of energy expenditure and the amount of calories he consumes.

At the end of a year he reckons that he should weigh 163lbs, right?

Well so far so good.

But according to this maths in just over 3 years he won’t weigh anything at all.

I mean ZERO pounds.

Whoa there, back up did you say Zero as in 0? Yes exactly, it’s unlikely to pan out this way is it?

So the alarm bells should be ringing already. Weight loss is not so simple after all. In fact as I said it is much more complex than you realise as there are just so many variables that can have a significant impact on how your body adapts – and this ADAPTATION is key.

Poor Jim is forced to reassess his dietary requirements along the way to his goal of 163lbs. 

Someone who has lost significant amount of weight may in fact, need up to 15% less calories to maintain their new
smaller frame than someone who has always been lean at that weight.

And this is due to our bodies adaptive response to what it perceives as starvation. It’s clear that at some point the simple energy in energy out equation stops working or at least more variable are involved  the more weight we lose. Thousands of years worth of evolution conspire against us in our vain attempts to shed our life sustaining fat stores.

On the surface it appears to be a very pessimistic message regarding weight loss.

Especially in light of the Biggest Loser’s struggles which have been recently highlighted in the press.

A study has revealed that the body fights to regain the lost weight and the basis for this conclusion has RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) at it’s heart.

Dietary calorie requirements were based on this figure for the contestants during the course of the competition.


There is some controversy surrounding how they arrived at this figure and so the study may not present the full picture. And it’s also pertinent to keep in mind the key statement above. The Biggest Loser is a contest on TV and as such is driven by the commercial needs of exposure and publicity. Although the contestants were medically supervised they were all competing against each other for top spot. Who could make the most dramatic jaw dropping transformation. This in itself does not scream sustainability.

Ok enough with the bad news. What can you do? Well that’s why you need a coach folks but here are some bullet point tips.

Eat lots of protein – probably more than you do currently. There are a number of reasons for this. It will help you to maintain your muscle as you shed the pounds. This is a good thing as this will ensure that you lose a greater proportion of fat in the weight that you lose.

Eating protein will help with satiety meaning that you will feel fuller and less deprived whilst in a calorie deficit.

Your body actually expends between 20% – 30% of it’s calories in it’s effort to digest protein. Carbs – between 5% and 6%. and fats 3%. This is referred to as the Thermogenic effect of food ie the amount of energy expenditure above the resting metabolic rate used in processing the food you’ve consumed for use or storage.

Aim for a 30% – 40% – 30% Ratio of Protein – Carbs – Fats.

Eat wholesome fibrous fruit and veg and avoid them in juice form or processed alternatives as it’s easy to
overeat on these more calorie dense versions.

Lose weight slowly – approx 0.5% to 1% of bodyweight per week.

Weight loss can and should be sustainable but it has a lot to do with your mindset and what you set out to achieve. Is it to step onstage at a Biggest Loser Convention and soak up all the applause for your dramatic transformation? Or is it to earn your new physique by transforming your lifestyle forever.

This is just one way of doing things folks and I’ve been around long enough to be open minded enough to accept that there are other ways.  Whatever way you choose just try and ensure that it is sustainable. It’s difficult enough doing something like this once but to have to repeat the process over and over for a lifetime would be my definition of hell.

If you’re still not convinced and you want your 15 mins of fame, then here’s the Biggest Loser Resort ph number – CALL TOLL FREE(877) 825-8878

Bonus: Get your healthy Fast Food Cheat Sheet here

This sheet is a guide to high street stores that offer healthy alternative and where to find them.


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