‘Biggest Loser’ Contestants Claim An Ugly Reality Exists Behind The Camera. | Gradient
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‘Biggest Loser’ contestants claim an ugly reality exists behind the camera.

Check out photos of Season 17 trainers Dolvett Quince and Jen Widerstrom and new host Bob Harper.
Season 17 trainers Dolvett Quince and Jen Widerstrom and new host Bob Harper.

Two weeks ago, a six-year study on contestants of The Biggest Loser was released, showing that the majority of them gained all of the weight back just months or years after being on the show. The study suggests that it is, understandably, just a result of a messed up metabolism. However, since the New York Post released the study, former contestants came forward saying that this report hasn’t considered the untold, behind the scene factors that were a part of their Biggest Loser experience.

Just like any other reality television show, there’s a lot more that goes on behind the camera than in front of it. It’s easy to forget that these are real people, with real stories, on an honest, difficult journey. But these stories make these people feel very, very, gut-wrenchingly real. They take us deep behind the edited version of the show and shed light on heavy emotional, mental and physical wounds. They show that gaining all of the weight back is only a small, tiny, part of the hurt and struggle most contestants face after the show ends. Their stories are full of extreme situations including being drugged, being encouraged to throw-up, forced to live in small rooms, and asked to eat under 800 calories a day… and then lie about it.

Most notably frustrated, Lezlye Donahue said her experience on the show was worse than being in Hurricane Katrina.

“I read that [NIH] study, and there’s so much more that people don’t know. There are nurses sitting there [filling people] with IV packs. I took away an eating disorder. I have nightmares about it.”

Among Donahue’s claims were that she and other contestants ate only seven asparagus sticks and three ounces of turkey a day, lived in a non-air-conditioned former psychiatric hospital room with 12 other contestants, were forced to shower with other contestants, and only had access to Port-a-Potties for a bathroom.

Not only that, but she is also struggling with depression as she lost her job while spending countless hours in hospitals repairing the damage that her body went through.

Another contestant, Mark Yesitis claimed that after losing 17 pounds of water weight before the season two finale, he “was probably near death.” He also shared about some health complications that occurred once he got home: “I had my gall bladder removed. I’d never had issues with my gall bladder before the rapid weight loss.” But the more horrifying part of his surgery is that he ran five miles the day after his operation. He said, “My doctor was very angry. But that’s how brainwashed I was.”

Season two contestant Jen Watts shared: “You don’t know how messed up you are until it becomes incredibly obvious. I thought, ‘I can’t work eight hours a day because I have to train eight hours a day.’ I started taking Zoloft and Xanax for the anxiety and depression. My marriage — that only took a couple of years to disintegrate.”

Furthermore, another contestant from season two said that they were asked to take pills and encouraged to throw-up. Mendonca said,

“People would take amphetamines, water pills, diuretics, and throw up in the bathroom. They would take their spin bikes into the steam room to work up a sweat. I vomited every single day. Bob Harper tells people to throw up: ‘Good,’ he says. ‘You’ll lose more calories.’”

To read the rest of their stories head over to the New York Post. 

As you’ve probably guessed, the hosts of the show have denied all the accusations, and many other contestants have come out supporting the doctors and trainers. Although there are many success stories from the show, these other stories cannot be ignored.

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Welcome to Episode IV. This week, Dan spends some time with his favorite singer/songwriter, Matthew Perryman Jones. Matthew and Dan talk about panic attacks, growing up in Atlanta, the way music is informed by pain and suffering and the way music gives freedom.

If you have spent any time watching television in the last decade you have most likely heard one of Mattew’s songs on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, One Tree Hill and many others. His insightful writing and voice have drawn comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley, and he is on the short list of songwriters who skillfully weave the deeply philosophical and the vivid utterly human without ever losing sight of either.

To get his new album Cold Answer, (which features the three songs from him you heard on this episode), visit MPJmusic.com.

Subscribe on iTunes.

New Pod Flow: Sounds Good With Branden Harvey “Next Steps After the Presidential Election”

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Special Election Edition, President Trump to legalized weed and everything in between.

This week we reflect on the election and discuss our strategies for staying sane.

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Subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher.

New Pod Flow: It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a Podcast: Doctor Strange

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We appreciate everyone sticking with us through this long hiatus but are planning our return even as we speak, with a bunch of new goodies and an updated format. In the meantime, here’s a brief primer on Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange — just so you can go into the movie knowing what you’re getting yourself into.

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