That TBL article

I imagine everybody by now has read or heard about the Biggest Loser followup article.  Who is surprised that many of them gained some weight back? Anyone?

It’s hard enough to keep weight off when you do it slowly, let alone at a rocket pace with an unsustainable lifestyle. It’s no suprise that the majority bounced back up after the show and publicity tour ended.  Especially if it mucked up their metabolism as much as seems to have.

It’s scary to read that their metabolism slowed so much and after 6 years had not come back to what it once was, which would explain why it has been hard for them to keep it off. If you want to read the actual study, click here.  One curious note in the study is that people who have had gastric bypass surgery did *not* experience the same lowering of metabolism after a year despite large weight loss. At least as how I was reading that paragraph, anyway.

However, on the flip side, some of them haven’t gained it all back. There is something to be said that some of them have kept off a good portion of what they lost. I’m a little curious as to where their weight is today versus last year. Are they maintaining at the current weights or gaining each year? The little graph in the article only showed beginning and 6 years later, but it would be nice to see each year plotted on that graph. It might tell a more interesting story.

Slow and steady won’t prevent your metabolism from lowering if you lose a lot of weight, but it seems that it might make the effect less than if you do it Biggest Loser style.  On an interesting side story, Ali Vincent is a former TBL winner and has gained back most of her weight. (She was not part of the study). She went public with it and kind of trashed the show and then, ironically, starts a diet bet that anyone can join to lose 4% of your weight in I think it’s a month? Then if you do, you win money. More competition anyone? You’re supposed to learn from your mistakes, not repeat them.

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21 thoughts on “That TBL article

  1. Leah

    I saw this on FaceBook and find the articles very interesting. I have a friend who went through a metabolism reset because she realized she was starving herself and any little thing was making her gain weight…and here I had thought she had amazing discipline, but that wasn’t the case. Since my friend’s issue we have discussed this topic a lot.

    Eat More 2 Weigh Less has a lot to say about “dieting” and becoming cardio bunnies to lose weight. It gave me pause when I joined Weight Watchers, because I don’t want to fall into a diet trap. However, I’m finding that I eat plenty and haven’t resorted to hours in the gym — on purpose (I have a blog post brewing on that subject) and it’s working good so far.

    Anyway…yes, this has definitely caught my eye. And I’m with you… a DietBet really? I was glad she was trying a balanced approach, but that makes me roll my eyes.

    1. Lori Post author

      Yes, it does make me wonder about my own metabolism. I know that I have to keep my calories lower just to maintain, let alone lose. I found going low carb did not help me with being able to eat more, either.

  2. Amelia

    Very interesting. I noticed that nowhere in the article do they address what these people are eating. I’m reading “Always hungry” at the moment and it seems clear that the macronutrient content of what we eat has an impact on our metabolism as our body responds differently to fats and carbs and protein (and different types of these). I’m not contesting that their metabolism went down at all, just that there might be solutions related to whole foods and proportions of macronutrients that would allow them to maintain a healthier weight than what they currently are. I hope so at least, otherwise I’m “doomed” too!

    1. Lori Post author

      I don’t know what their diets were. That would be interesting to know. What did the show teach them to eat and did they eat that way after? I can’t imagine all 16 ate the same.

  3. Shelley B

    I suspect a lot of “big losers” – not just from the show, but anyone who’s lost a lot of weight, have screwed up metabolisms. I mean, when I was 100 pounds overweight, I should have dropped weight like crazy when I went down to eating 800-1000 calories/day, and yet, I was lucky to lose 5-6 pounds a month. Sighhhhhh…
    Shelley B´s last blog post ..Texadega Nights Relay Race Recap!

    1. Lori Post author

      I’ve never dropped weight like crazy, only if I went away for a weekend and retained water LOL!

  4. Lisa

    I loved the show at first but then as I started my own weight loss and realized it took hard work to lose it and keep it off, the show didn’t appeal to me. It felt like a lie…most people can’t take time off work to go to a camp, essentially, to rapidly lose massive amounts of weight. Most people can’t workout 6+ hours a day (and shouldn’t). So I stopped watching the show. This article is very interesting indeed.
    Lisa´s last blog post ..Balance in Life

    1. Lori Post author

      I’ve always hated the premise of that show, so I didn’t watch it. It’s just too extreme for me. Now they are paying the price.

  5. Sandy

    Thanks for sharing Lori, I found this article to be very interesting. I too questioned what each of the individuals are eating now and if any of the habits or food adictions they had previously had returned and were contributing to difficulties maintaining. I also wondered about their maintenance exercise and if it included strength training in order to maintain a lean muscle mass or if their exercise consisted of more cardio. Lots of questions…. A bit disheartening as in addition to this I have Hashimotos (underactive thyroid) and am on prednisone for another auto-immune disorder. Oh well. That’s my hand of cards to play.
    Sandy´s last blog post ..The Gift of Fog

    1. Lori Post author

      Yes, while having been dealt a hand that doesn’t seem as fair, there isn’t much you can do about it.

  6. Helen

    I was sad for the participants but glad to see the science behind the results. I was a bit shocked to read that the show’s doctor – who is in fact a reputable doctor – said that he expected “some” slow down of their metabolisms but was surprised at how much they slowed.

    In many ways that article made me feel better about myself. I’ve always felt that I have hurt my ability to lose weight and then to be diagnosed hypothyroid and a few years later be menopausal, I just KNEW I wasn’t imagining the issues I have had with either no or quite slow weight loss. I guess I felt vindicated.

    Now, I just wish they’d take what they’ve learned scientifically and figure out how to help folks who are in this category!

    Also, I am SO GLAD you said that about Ali Vincent. I was pretty annoyed when she posted about the DietBet. I realize she’s feeling desperate but now I feel like she hasn’t learned anything at all.
    Helen´s last blog post ..R and R and R

    1. Lori Post author

      Yes, I feel like mine is messed up, too. My thyroid levels are normal, though, but what should cause weight loss does not. It’s annoying. When I lost my big amount of weight, it took me 4 years, which is not fast by any stretch of the imagination LOL! I wouldn’t mind having to deal with this if I didn’t love food so much.

  7. Biz

    I have always watched TBL, but really, if you don’t have a job to go to, chores to do, responsibilities other than to eat well and exercise – you are bound to lose weight. But life doesn’t work that way for most people.

    Slow and steady will always win in my book. And you of all people know that it’s just as hard to maintain a weight loss as it is to lose it in the first place!
    Biz´s last blog post ..Best Buffalo Chicken and Waffles

  8. Jeannie/Qlts2Slo

    I don’t really see why this article is such big news, like you say, who is really surprised? Most obese people know hard it is to maintain, and how easy it is to regain plus plus. When I started trying to get healthier (which necessitates losing weight) a couple of years ago I was very heartened to run across your blog Lori. You are one of my maintenance heroes, look, it can be done! Of course after following your blog I came to understand your hard work and vigilance. Which only makes you more heroic for long-term efforts. 🙂
    Re: gastric bypass, I don’t believe it is the definitive answer though. I know people that have managed to gain back their weight + after surgery as well. And some that maintained some loss are living what I consider an extremely unhealthy lifestyle of supplements and junk food, because surgery didn’t banish the addictions. However, I also believe what works for one person, may not work for another – one has to find their own way. Studies have shown maintaining even a 10% weight loss has significant positive effects on overall health, so it’s worth our efforts despite disheartening “news”.

    1. Lori Post author

      Well, I regained some weight like most people, but maintaining a lot of it has been a struggle some days.

      I don’t think surgery is the answer, either, because it doesn’t work on the head stuff, but I found the metabolic difference intriguing between the calorie reduction and rerouting your insides. Same thing with how GBS will basicially cure diabetes, even in a non overweight person. If they could figure out what triggers that to avoid the surgery, that would be something.

  9. Paula

    I did not see the article, but find it sad that these people who tried so hard to get to goal did not maintain them. Maybe this show should have provided these folks the rest of the help when it came to maintenance of their losses. Losing weight is only part of it, maintenance is forever.

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