Losing it over the biggest loser

So the theme of the most recent blogs was going to be managing food allergies. And for anyone who is worried..don’t be- it still is!
But there is one topic that has been in the news and media A LOT lately that needs to be tackled, and that my friends is the Biggest Loser.

The show has taken quite a bit of heat in recent years, with articles coming out regarding the over the top intense workouts, food deprivation and embarrassment employed as “motivation” for contestants.
But some of the most shocking news has come recently. From the New York Times article (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/02/health/biggest-loser-weight-loss.html?_r=0) to interviews with former contestants, the evidence that many biggest loser finalists, and even winners have not kept their weight off since leaving the show is causing a stir in the media.

Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight can attest to the fact that it is hard, and for anyone who has tried to maintain their weight loss, this article, proving why it is SO hard to keep weight off, likely comes as no surprise.
Our bodies are, to put it briefly, programmed to resist weight loss and promote weight gain after we’ve lost weight. Which means that for people who are serious about keeping the weight off there really is no going “on and off” a diet.

The fact of the matter is that THE THINGS YOU DO TO LOSE WEIGHT, ARE THE THINGS YOU NEED TO DO TO KEEP THE WEIGHT OFF. Yes, it can be possible to maintain weight loss with a few more treats a week, but going back to your old habits after will cause the weight to come right back on….and possibly bring on a few extra pounds.

The most unfortunate part of this whole “Biggest Loser” fiasco, isn’t the shame its bringing to the show, but the shame the contestants have felt over being unable to keep the weight off, and how utterly discouraging this sounds to anyone who is thinking of making a change or trying to lose weight.

The most important thing I can take from all of this to help my clients is:

1. DO NOT GET DISCOURAGED! Achieving and maintaining a weight loss of even 5-10% of your body weight can have significant affects on overall health. AND even in the absence of weight loss- these changes can STILL affect your overall health. If you’re looking to make a change, drop the focus on numbers and focus on how changing doing something like choosing lean protein over red meat more often can positively affect your overall health.

2. We say it time and again, “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change”. Clearly more than ever that is true. The things you do to lose weight are the things you need to do to keep it off. Which means before trying out a weight loss program ask yourself “How sustainable is this in the long term”. Make changes that are enjoyable to you and you feel like you can stick with, like finding friends to walk in the park. Do you think the Biggest Loser contestants enjoyed sprinting up and down hills while crying and being bullied and yelled at? And if that is the idea of exercise those contestants are shown- what are the chances that exercise will be sustainable for them? The more you enjoy the changes you make, the more likely you will stick with them in the LONG TERM and keep the weight off.

Most importantly remember that you are not on the Biggest Loser. This is not a competition and no one will kick you off every week. Take it slow and work on improving your overall health- one small change at a time.

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