Rachel Frederickson… Did The Biggest Loser go to far?

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After seeing Facebook and the media being blown up about Rachel Frederickson’s transformation on The Biggest Loser, saying she looked “too thin” and “frail” alarmed me. I hadn’t gotten to actually watch the show at this point (I had recorded it… ) but just one look at the photos of the finale was enough to see that something was up. I got onto Facebook, wrote a little about how I have a love/hate relationship of the show and for those of my friends and family that had seen it, what their thoughts were. Needless to say most said she looked unhealthy and were shocked by her appearance, and some people just stated that if she was happy, then they were happy for her.

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Watching this season was enjoyable, it always is.. plus I got my boyfriend into watching it with me too =) I always love hearing the stories of how they got to where they were and how they’re ready to change their life and look forward to living  a healthier life. The show itself can be an empowering one with the drive, dedication and efforts put in by every contestant week by week. I can relate to some weight loss myself (not as much as them by any means ) but even when I was over 200lbs I know some of the emotional baggage they carry with them everywhere, I know what its like to not want to do something because you feel fat or stupid, but in retrospect, I also understand the “healing process” they go through as the weight comes off. That right there is why I mainly watch the show, I love seeing people believe in themselves, have the courage to change and also in that journey usually find themselves too because before they felt lost and hopeless. I love the fact that they inspire their own families or even people at home to make better choices when it comes to health. The show is supposed to take people who are unhealthy and make them “healthy” correct???

biggest2This was them 3 1/2 months before they left the ranch to be on their own and to come back for the finale.

Well after watching it finally and seeing what everyone was talking about over social media, I can kind of understand why because it was SO dramatic. When we last saw the final 3 contestants they looked fit, healthy and ready to take the last 3 1/2 months at home as a chance and challenge to win the title of The Biggest Loser and the winner of 250,000. When all 15 contestants came back for the finale, the transformations were unbelievable, they all had a glow and a new sense of self acceptance and inner peace with themselves. And Tumi won the at home prize of 100,000 which made me happy for her because he looked AMAZING! As it approaches time to reveal the top 3 (Rachel, Bobby and David) everyone is surprised and happy for the two men, who obviously lost a great amount of weight but when Rachel entered the stage jaws dropped, there were looks of pride mixed with more looks of just utter shock. Since the finale was live, they did get a capture of Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper with a look of concern spread accost both of their faces as Jillian repeatedly said “oh my god” over and over to herself as she was in shock. As they all stepped on the scale, Rachel was the winner with a 155lb weight loss weighing in at 105 with a height of 5’4” and losing almost 60% of her body weight. They also stated that she was 5% body fat total which may sound amazing to someone who may not know much about body composition, but its actually really unhealthy for a woman to be that low. The lowest they recommend for athletes is at least 10-15%, and there is certain consequences if you maintain this % of body fat for too long of a time, this is why all athletes have an “on and off season weight”.

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Now here is where the controversy comes in, not only her body fat being 5%, her BMI is at a 18 which is considered underweight. I personally hate BMI because it doesn’t account for muscle mass, therefore if someone was a bodybuilder, they most likely would be considered morbidly obese… From being 260 to start out and dropping to 105 within 7ish months is crazy and amazing all in one. I definitely commend her passion toward finding the athlete she once was and using it to her advantage during this competition. She was extremely competitive and ..in all reality that’s what The Biggest Loser is about. Its a game show, a competition and its “reality tv” to see who can drop the most weight in the shortest amount of time, and she did just that. When it comes down to the number on the scale why wouldn’t someone (not only her, anyone for that matter) not go to the extreme. Say you know your 15 lbs. away from that winning weight and with 250,000 on the line,… I can see how that would pressure anyone to do whatever it took.  There as been previous reports of other contestants over exercising, using diuretics or even doing cleanses and not eating any solid food just to prepare for that final weigh in. I don’t know exactly what she did those last 3 months when she was at home but she did state she stuck to the 1600 calorie diet the trainers gave her and she exercised a lot, sometimes taking 3 or 4 different group classes at her gym a day. She stated that she feels better than she ever has before so that makes me think she’s happy with her results (obviously.. she won) and I wish nothing but the best for her in the future. I did think she looked a lot healthier during makeover week when she had a bit more muscle mass on her, but that’s just my personal opinion. But I’m sure since its all over and done with, she will put a little bit more on as time goes on.

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After the show, the trainers wouldn’t comment about her weight, and even Bob and Jillian stated that they “weren’t her trainer, so they weren’t given that opportunity to work personally with her” and throwing Dolvette under the bus. Yes, she was on his team at the beginning, but when it got down to the final contestants, they all worked with her and all the other contestants as well, so I personally think that was wrong. Dolvette later on stated, “Please try not to look at once slice of Rachel’s journey and come to broad conclusions, Rachel’s heath is and has always been my main concern, and her journey to good health has not yet ended!!” and I amend him for that.

So all in all, am I happy for her? Yes, of course, she has an amazing story and I’m sure she will have plenty more as her life continues. Do I think she’s too thin? During that finale, I personally do, I understand wanting something so bad that your willing to do anything to get it, now do I think she will stay at that 5%, I surly hope not, and I hope it was just so she would have reinsurance to win the title and cash prize. But like Dolvette said, its a journey, this is only a small chapter. Lets give her a chance to prove to us that she is still that athlete she says she. =) I also don’t blame the biggest loser for the difference between when she left the ranch for that 3 month period either, she was in control of her own weight and diet at home, but then there is also the question of how she learned to diet and whatnot.

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As far as my love/hate relationship with the show as a whole, I almost feel sad for her in a way because us as a society are always so quick to judge and we cant ever just be happy for someone and not point the finger. Were either too fat, too skinny, too muscular .. the list goes on. Along with that, these contestants have had enough of the finger pointing, they have lived (usually most of thier life) overweight, feeling alone, depressed, and judged everyday. So a part of me is torn because I am actually really happy for her but I do think she may have taken it a bit far. The biggest loser is supposed to help people learn how to be healthy and make better choices around food and exercise. With Rachel’s appearance, looking very thin (keep in mind also, the camera also adds about 10 lbs to us viewers on tv.. can you imagine what she looked like up close and personal?) I think that is the main reason people are so “oh my god” with it, she looks like she almost took it from one extreme to another (with overeating- which people don’t realize its an eating disorder as well) to looking like she had lost all her muscle mass (making people wonder if she was under eating).

Don’t get me wrong, I fricken love Jillian Michaels and her say it like it is attitude, always have. Dolvette is hot and Bob is just .. well he’s just a sweetheart with a serious side haha. But I don’t really like how they yell all the time, I get the fact of its a “break them down and build them back up” strategy, but there is better ways to motivate people than yelling in their faces lol…just saying. I also (this kind of pertains to Rachel in a way too) don’t like the fact that they only eat 1600 calories a day, that’s find but when your working out 4-6 hours a day.. sorry but you need more fuel for your body to function. The tv show is relatively “ok” if your actually there and are being watched by the doctors and nutritionists there .. but for those of us at home…not everyone can workout for 4 hours a day, we don’t have a controlled kitchen to monitor our food intake and not everyone can lose that much weight (35lbs) in one week when, its just not realistic. I don’t like the fact of them being discourages when they lose a normal amount either, they get so used to losing so much that when they get on the scale and it says 3 they are let down. (3lbs in a week is good!). This is why I think America tends to lean towards anything and everything pertaining to weight loss but then only wants the quick fixes. We aren’t going to fix this obesity epidemic with pills, drinks, surgery, and bypass, we got here with food, we need to learn to fix the problem with food because otherwise its just going to go in a cycle.

biggest8This is last years winner Dani, see how she looks healthy and has muscle tone.

Here is some food for thought (no pun intended) .. if you knew someone who ate 1600 cal and worked out for 4+ hours as day.. would you think they had a problem, obsession or even a disorder? That is the question to ask, and makes you think is The Biggest Loser really that great of a weight loss show as a whole?

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