Since its inception, it has been is still is one of the most popular shows on television. Perhaps because, in the land of obesity epidemic, people can watch obese people lose weight fast, virtually before their very eyes. It offers hope. Plus, granted, it is good entertainment. But The Biggest Loser is not without controversy.
One expert referred to the show as “the personal trainer’s worst nightmare”. This is because it instills in viewers unrealistic expectations of what can be attained in the real world as far as fat loss goes.
People tend to forget that reality TV is still show business. Those grossly overweight people on the show may be real, but the environment is still man-made and strictly controlled. It is extremely difficult, if at all possible, to replicate the results in the real world.
It is therefore not surprising that most participants, not too long after the show is over, regain the lost weight. However, this phenomenon is not confined to The Biggest Loser.
Losing weight is rarely easy. Keeping the lost weight off is often even more difficult. Studies show that majority of people sooner or later regain the lost weight. 41 per cent of dieters gain back more weight than lost. Nay, losing the weight again after regaining is often even more difficult.
The experts offer given various reasons for weight loss challenges including hormones, individual response to diet and exercise, and even lack of sleep. However, what many health and fitness articles often fail to mention is the brain-body connection.
For one, dieting is stressful and may cause release of stress hormones that are linked to weight gain. Also, more importantly, the brain has “learnt” to be comfortable with weight gain, over perhaps many years. In other words, your brain could be fighting your weight loss efforts.
Your brain uses something referred to as metabolic suppression to keep your body “happily” within a certain weight range, or set point. The set point is determined by genes, life experience and other factors. When you drop a significant amount of weight, your brain raises a starvation red flag.
In turn, your body produces more hunger hormones such as ghrelin. If you wondered why food cravings appear to go on overdrive when dieting, this could be the answer. According to the study, metabolism also slows down as you lose weight. Moreover, dieting often also leads to binge eating.
What can one do about all this? Perhaps Bob Harper from, yes The Biggest Loser, can give us a tip or two in the video below.
See a more detailed article on this on The New York Times.
Watch: Bob Harper Discusses Difficulty In Keeping Weight Off
The Biggest Loser fitness trainer, Bob Harper, recently discussed weight regain as well as how to get back on track. Watch this video: