Almost everyone knows that the true challenge of ABC’s Biggest Loser isn’t the frequently astonishing weight they lose during the show; it’s what comes next. The show follows a team of contestants who struggle with obesity as they work with exercise coaches and dietitians to transform their bodies and lose a lot of weight—sometimes hundreds of pounds. The gains they make are impressive, but the true challenge is what comes after the show. When the cameras are off and the exercise coaches stay in Los Angeles while the teams head back to their hometowns, will they be able to keep that weight off?
The answer, according to a new study in Obesity, is often “no”—and not because the contestants are lazy or uncommitted. On the contrary, many of them make significant life changes and continue to push themselves in the gym and at the dinner table. No, the reason they and many of those who struggle with obesity are often frustrated in their attempts to lose weight is that their own bodies are working against them.
Dr. Kevin Hall and his team of researchers from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases followed contestants from season 8 of The Biggest Loser, and found that their bodies continued to fight to regain their former weight even six years after their sudden and dramatic weight loss.
Danny Cahill, who won season 8 with a record drop from 430 pounds to 191 pounds now weighs 295 pounds. But he burns around 800 fewer calories a day than is normal for a man of his size. Dina Mercado started the show at 248 pounds and dropped to 173 pounds. Today, she weighs about 206 pounds and burns around 438 calories fewer than most people her size do. Perhaps most frustrating is Sean Algaier, who started out at 444 pounds, ended at 289 pounds, and today weighs 450 pounds — burning 458 fewer calories than he should.
“It’s frightening and amazing,” Hall told The New York Times. “I am just blown away.”
The culprit is metabolism. When contestants start their intensive weight loss training on The Biggest Loser, they are overweight, but their resting metabolism is normal. But following the drastic changes to their diet that The Biggest Loser recommends, their metabolisms drop in an effort to maintain the weight they’ve grown accustomed to. And the fact that the weight decrease is so drastic means it’s nearly impossible for contestants to eat so little that their metabolism will burn it all. To put it simply: their bodies want to regain their former size.
The New York Times reached out to Dr. David Ludwig, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, who put the study’s findings (drawn from a very small sample size) into perspective. “This is a subset of the most successful [dieters,]” he said. “If they don’t show a return to normal in metabolism, what hope is there for the rest of us? That shouldn’t be interpreted to mean we are doomed to battle our biology… It means we need to explore other approaches.”
Jason is the cofounder of the iconic non-profit Invisible Children which was founded to increase awareness of the horrendous activities of the LRA in Central Africa. Jason was also the director of the iconic Kony 2012 film that took the world by storm. In this two-part interview Jason and Branden talk about what it means to create a movement, what Jason experienced during his breakdown and subsequent recovery, and Jason’s experience in the world of theater.
Aharon Rabinowitz is the head of marketing for Red Giant based in New York City. During our conversation, we discussed the importance of work life balance, his start as a production intern at Sesame Street and why artist’s feel personally offended when you reject their work.
United gets their cheap on, fake news, and Trump hired who?
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.
Branden sits down with writer and speaker Tyler Huckabee days after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States to talk about empathy, justice, listening, and where we go from here.
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.
Luca and Ilenia are the founders of Illo, a studio based in Turin, Italy. During our conversation, we discussed their self-driving video bot named Algo, how Illo was formed and how they’ve crafted a unique office culture.
This week we discuss Beyonce’s night at the CMAs, last minute election plans and how SNL might save us all.
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.