Over the weekend, the New York Post published an article interviewing Kai Hibbard, of The Biggest Loser fame. If you”ve never watched The Biggest Loser, it”s a reality TV show that features overweight Americans competing against each other to see who can lose more weight the fastest.
In 2006, Hibbard “won” the show dropping a whopping 121 pounds. However, the experience left her with an entirely different set of health problems that continue to haunt her to this day. In her conversation with the Post, she shined a light on some of the show”s insanely cruel practices.
1.) You don”t get to keep your own story.
When you sign up to be a contestant on The Biggest Loser you have to sign a waiver that gives NBC the rights to your own personal story. This is so they can use it for promotional purposes later on. According to Hibbard, the contract you sign when you join also forbids you from speaking badly about the show.
2.) Contestants are confined to their hotel rooms.
According to Hibbard, when she arrived in Los Angeles for the show the production assistant that met her at the hotel informed her that she was not permitted to leave the hotel room when they weren”t filming. “The hotel will report to them if you leave your room,” Hibbard said. “They assume youre going to talk to other contestants.”
Hibbard said that contestants were not permitted to call home at all during filming. Only after the first six weeks were people allowed to call their families, but the call had to be kept to just five minutes and was closely monitored by the production team.
“I know that one of the contestants children became very ill and was in the ICU,” Hibbard said. “He was allowed to talk to his family but he didnt want to leave, because the show would have been done with him.”
4.) The workouts are dangerous.
On the show, contestants” workouts are made to seem tough, but not impossible. That”s not the case, says Hibbard. The typical workouts that contestants have to endure for the show are at least four hours long, but can run as long as eight hours. For people who aren”t used to exercising, this can be disastrous.
“There was no easing into it,” said Hibbard. “That doesnt make for good TV. My feet were bleeding through my shoes for the first three weeks.”
5.) The trainers are sadists.
Hibbard detailed the frequent and severe verbal abuse that the show”s hired trainers put the contestants through. They seemed to take a perverse satisfaction in bringing people to the point of physical and mental collapse.
“They would say things to contestants like, “Youre going die before your children grow up.” “Youre going to die, just like your mother.” “Weve picked out your fat-person coffin” that was in a text message. One production assistant told a contestant to take up smoking because it would cut her appetite in half,” said Hibbard.
6.) Calories were dangerously restricted.
A healthy daily calorie intake is considered to be around 1,200 and 1,600 calories. However, contestants on The Biggest Loser are forced to eat far less than 1,000 calories a day. Contestants were also required to have trainers approve their shopping lists.
7.) Contestants” food lacked nutritional value.
As most contestants were eating a dangerously low amount of calories, you”d think that at least the food they were approved to eat would be packed full of healthy nutrients. Unfortunately, that”s just not the case.
“Your grocery list is approved by your trainer,” said Hibbard. My season had a lot of Franken-foods: I Cant Believe Its Not Butter spray, Kraft fat-free cheese, Rockstar Energy Drinks, Jell-O.”
8.) Physical injuries are common.
When contests on The Biggest Loser are injured, it”s not often shown. For example, in 2009, two contestants were so seriously injured that they needed to be hospitalized, one was even sent via airlift.
“One contestant had a torn calf muscle and bursitis in her knees,” said Hibbard. “The doctor told her, “You need to rest.” She said, “Production told me I cant rest.””
9.) Contestants also suffer physiological damage.
Despite the terrible show conditions and merciless trainers, the contestants stick with it. Why? Because they are brainwashed to keep going. One doctor even told a former contestant that she was showing signs of Stockholm syndrome.
“Youre brainwashed to believe that youre super-lucky to be there,” said Hibbard.
10.) After the show, health problems persist.
It”s no secret that many contestants on The Biggest Loser gain back some or all of the weight they lost on the show. Many, though, leave the show with more severe health problems than they had when they were overweight.
Hibbard tells the story of when she got back from filming the show. Her best friend and boyfriend took her right to the doctor. “She said I had such severe shin splints that she didnt know how I was still walking,” said Hibbard.
(source New York Post)
No one ever said that reality TV was a walk in the park, but this is just ridiculous. Weight loss takes time. It”s been proven time and time again that the most effective way to lose weight is gradually through healthy habit changes. Keep that in mind the next you”re watching The Biggest Loser.