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Day 796- My Thoughts on the Biggest Loser Season Finale

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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

First off, spoiler alert. If you haven't watched this yet, I'm talking about who won so stop reading.

Okay, so like many of you I'm sure, I've loved watching The Biggest Loser for the past 15 seasons because of the amazing stories of life-changing weight loss. Seeing so many people go from obesity to healthy lives has been truly amazing. I also really loved how there seemed to be a "Biggest Loser Family" consisting of the old contestants and their constant support for the new contestants.

Until last night. Last night, Rachel Fredrickson, my favorite from the beginning, walked out on to the stage at 5'5" 105 pounds and won the competition with shocked stares and whispers from the crowd and even the coaches. And NBC and The Biggest Loser lost a lot of fans as well as credibility.

They always have a disclaimer at the end of the show talking about how the contestants meet with doctors and dietitians to make sure they are having healthy weight loss, but this year, when Rachel went home, she must have really had her eye on the prize.

I try to see all sides of a story when I speak on something, so the first thing I thought was that Rachel must have really needed the $250,000 prize. She was going against two men, who still had much more to lose when they left the ranch then she did to be in a healthy weight. And what that led to was her getting to an unhealthy underweight in order to win the money. I don't know anything about any of their home or financial situations, but I do know that Bobby and David looked healthy and happy, while Rachel did not. She may have gained $250,000 but I believe she lost a sense of reality and what the show is all about, getting healthy.

But I think what made me even more sad, were the reactions on social media. Not only were people calling for a Biggest Loser boycott, and saying hurtful mean things to Rachel's twitter, but the Biggest Loser family seemed to fall apart. Until a few weeks ago, I'd been huge fans of Jeff and Francelina from last season. But after Rachel won the triathalon last week to get into the finals, Jeff retweeted some tweet that said something to the affect of "Congrats on a third place finish in the finale Rachel." That doesn't seem like something a loving supportive family member would say. Rachel probably had tons of disbelievers going into the finale, because she'd already almost reached a healthy weight and wasn't going to be able to beat out the other two men. But she proved the disbelievers wrong, but at the price of her health.

And then her Biggest Loser family sort of turned on her. Francelina sent a tweet that said something like "girls should be curvy, but that's just my opinion," I think girls should be happy and healthy. If someone can do that at 105, good for them. If that person needs to be 120, then maybe thats a better weight, but people forget this is a competition. And competition and money can drive people to do things that aren't the best for them. I think what needs to really be done is make sure that Rachel is okay, and hasn't developed an eating disorder. Because if she has, NBC and The Biggest Loser should really look into getting her some help. As well as decide if they really need to keep having the at home challenge.

When people are left to their own devices and methods of weight loss there can be some pretty shocking and scary results as we all learned last night.

In closing, I hope that Rachel gets the help she needs if she needs it, I hope the Biggest Loser and NBC rethink the way they run the show, I hope that the Biggest Loser Family starts acting like a real family, and I hope that all of us bystanders and fans think long and hard before we say mean and hurtful words about anyone else.

We're all on different journeys of weight loss and healthy living, but we should truly focus on the correct ways to reach our goals, and helping others on our way.

This was not a blog to spark controversy or arguments about curvy or skinny women. This was just a blog to express my sadness and hope for future seasons of The Biggest Loser.

Thanks for reading Sparkfriends.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    849 days ago
    You're so right. emoticon
    1391 days ago
    Great blog! I did watch the BL this last season and I think I was just as shocked as everyone else at her weight loss - she looked so unhealthy. I know she's tried to defend herself but as my mother would have said "a picture is worth a 1000 words" I can't imagine that if she had the show's support on the home challenge that they would have allowed her to get so thin - or she may have ignored them completely. I can only wonder what the next season on the BL will bring in terms of changes (or not)
    1448 days ago
    1456 days ago
    emoticon I saw the finale and was shocked at her appearance but hope she is working her way back to a healthier weight.
    B.L. may need to step back and rethink some of their policies. I belong to a weight loss group called TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) and our goals are set by our Dr. when we make goal we become KOPS (Keep Off Pounds Sensibly) and to maintain that status we must stay in range we can't go more than 7 lbs below our goal weight or 3 lbs over. Maybe BL might need to do something similar to where if contestant goes over a certain number of pounds below healthy goal set by Dr. they become ineligible to win prize.
    1457 days ago
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    1461 days ago
  • TERRI289
    You are a kind, generous, and thoughtful person. This is a beautiful blog.


    Hope your have a wonderful healthy day! emoticon
    1462 days ago
    Great blog! I didn't see the show, but was aware of the controversy.
    Most of all, I love your reminders about how this is a competition... and that words can quickly become so hurtful, if people aren't mindful.

    1463 days ago
    Thanks for sharing. I didn't watch but saw comments about it. One thing to remember is that this is a contest, which also means that just because you're at your goal weight doesn't mean you stop playing. I'm sure the idea is that you win, then work w/the trainers and dietician to then safely gain the weight back to your normal range. I'm sure we all know how easy it is for someone who has struggled with weight issues to gain weight back. This is a reality show too, so even though we don't always think of it that way, they may be considered actors, and we know people in Hollywood gain and lose weight for their roles. Sometimes the producers will encourage a story line to go a certain way. And while they do teach healthy eating, I'm not so sure that exercising several hours a day is considered the best way to lose weight, so we have to remember that ultimately, it is a TV show.
    1463 days ago
  • SHIRE33
    I agree with you. I was shocked, too. And I also hope that she did it for the money and will get back to a healthier weight.

    Maybe the show should spread the cash among the top 3, and then perhaps they would be less likely to get a freakin' eating disorder trying to win.

    1465 days ago
  • HEATHER3477
    1467 days ago
  • NEWMOM20121
    Well said

    1467 days ago
    1467 days ago
    Totally agree!
    1467 days ago
    The week before the season finale I, too, thought, how is she going to lose enough weight to win? She was practically at goal already. I felt the same way about the guy that got voted off a few episodes back, I forget his name but it's the one with the cowboy hat. He was pretty much at goal too. So I had a feeling he wasn't going to win because he didn't have anything else to lose. When Rachael came in looking like a skeleton, the first words out of my mouth were that she really needed to win. I truly believe that she has no intention of staying 105 lbs. Her plan was probably to get as thin as she could to win and then she would probably gain some back. I think it was all strategic. I do not think she has a problem or an eating disorder. The thing that surprised me the most was how old she looked. I don't have wrinkles on my face or neck like that, and I'm 48 years old! I totally think she is the type of person that will keep the weight off. She seems like a very determined person. But, I betcha she will gain 15 or 20 lbs. in the near future, and then maintain.
    1467 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/11/2014 4:11:47 PM
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    1468 days ago
    1468 days ago
  • AJB121299
    1469 days ago
  • STACYR31
    I never watch the show but I saw the final picture of her and it was very concerning to me. I hope that she can maintain a healthy weight.
    1469 days ago
  • SOFT_VAL67
    We only know what we are told by the show. and the fact that the scale they are standing on in the shows is a fake scale and their weight has been recorded ahead of time bothers me, it should be as real to them as it is to us at that moment.
    The show does this, ahead of time weigh in, to be able to edit it for effect.
    This is why, the one person who needs to lose a certain amount or go home, is always the final one to weigh in.
    In my eyes, TBL lost credibility a long time ago and I do not care for the show as I once did.
    If the show was truly the biggest loser, they would not vote or have someone eliminated by chance, but it would be whoever loses the least amt of weight and fat goes home.
    I just commented on a thread about the show and how I feel it is so fake.
    At home viewers really need to see the truth. You arent going to lose 199 lbs or more and NOT have skin hanging visibily, etc.
    What explanation do they have for this?
    Could be, that so much time passes in between the last weigh in, and our viewing the finale, that some of them have time for a few nips and tucks.
    1470 days ago
    I totally agree with everything you said. Hope Rachel gets help if she needs it. emoticon
    1470 days ago
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    1470 days ago
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    1471 days ago
    emoticon I agree with KMVBBAM - I enjoy the show, but think there should be a "below healthy BMI" disqualifier. I was rooting for Rachel to win, but when I saw her, it really made me sad.
    1471 days ago
  • MBELL6312
    Just shows you can't make everybody happy, and you can't win or lose. I hope she is healthy - if this low weight isn't right, it'll even off. As Patriciaann noted, this contestant was an athlete her entire life. I also hope she doesn't lose faith in what she can accomplish.
    1471 days ago
    emoticon In reading some of the feedback on the net, someone said they should have a BMI disqualification clause. If a contestant falls below a healthy BMI, they would be disqualified. This seems like a good way to avoid the problem that happened this year.
    1471 days ago
    1471 days ago
    That is so sad that her family cannot be supportive and that she may be hurting herself.
    1471 days ago
    I use to be a big Fan of the biggest Loser because it Use to be very inspirational and all about developing a healthy lifestyle. I stopped watching it a few seasons ago actually when it seemed to be more drama than achieving goals to becoming healthy and I really just lost a lot interest in the whole thing.
    By what you are saying it sounds like it has gotten much worse which saddens me as well. I do hope things change for the biggest loser and they get back on track again
    1471 days ago
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    1471 days ago
    1471 days ago
  • CICELY360
    I just hope she's healthy. Many of the contestants in the past have lost much weight to win the money but gain 10 to 20 pounds and maintain healthy weights. Likely, she will gain a few pounds and maintain a healthy weight.
    1471 days ago
    Well said!
    1471 days ago
  • GEORGE815
    1471 days ago
    I love the show and have watched it forever it seems. I also felt that Rachael looked awesome while on the ranch and didn't look healthy at all at the finale. I know it is a show and I know a huge competition and she is competitive but man hope as you said she is okay and they check into this. I also remember one year there was a lady in 50s I think or perhaps 40s that I think won either home or finale and she was way too thin. I thought she didn't look healthy but not sick.

    I just copied an article and put on my blog on the biggest loser as a show and competition. It is not my opinion or my observation but is interesting. It is written by a personal trainer and she is not impressed.

    Me I will watch it again, I know they must be using drastic measures to lose this fast... but I know it and they say we work out hrs a day etc. But I do hope that if anyone needs help at the end of these shows that they get it.

    1471 days ago
  • XENA1956
    I dvr'd TBL so didn't watch until yesterday. I was a bit in shock that Rachel lost 202 lbs. as I had seen some things on the net but didn't read any of them. She was a swimmer in high school and possible college (I can't remember at this time). With all the weight lost I think she lost her swimmers shoulders, which most of the time are broad and strong to help with swimming the butterfly. I thought she was way too skinny for her built and height. (And they say being on tv adds 5 pounds to a person).
    That said, she did do a great job of losing weight but may have gone a bit overboard. Maybe she really needed the money or wanted to prove to herself (lets hope it was that and not an outside factor like a family member or close friend) that she could win out over the men. I wish her luck and hope she gets up to a healthy weight.
    1471 days ago
    Very well said.
    1471 days ago
    I was soooo disappointed... This season, the girls were close to my vision of what my journey will look like. I am 261 and hope to be around 170. So, I was routing for rachel when she won the triathlon... When I saw her walk on the stage, a frown immediately came to my face... i told myself that she had went too far and i wondered if they sent doctors home with the contestants to make sure they weren't doing supplements or trying to starve themselves. She did not look good at all. She looked really good on the triathlon day, however.

    I cannot say what her ideal weight is, but i can say that she looked as though there were a hump on her back and that her chest was kinda caved in. that was scary to me. i was worried.

    it is my wish that she gain a few pounds - that is inevitable anyway, because real life for her has began now that the contest is over.

    my bottom line - $250k is not worth your physical or mental health...

    I think nbc and the biggest loser should make sure that this situation is and stays under control...
    1472 days ago
  • JIBBIE49
    emoticon great to see your blog featured in the Spark Mail.

    1472 days ago
    I hope she did it temporarily for the win and will moderate up to a more healthy weight. Her comments during interviews in the days following are troublesome.
    1472 days ago
    Well said. I also agree the biggest loser family did not appear to support her very well. She is young and had a good muscle base before starting the show since she had been a swimmer, so while she looked too thin at the end, she was definitely defined in muscle tone. I feel she will find a happy weight now that the show is over and it would be interesting to see if she gets back into competitive swimming. I still look forward to future shows because I like seeing the personal aspect of the show. I wish they would do more follow up shows to see where others are at now in their lives with the weight and how they are finding the motivation to maintain since this is life long. Keep up the wonderful journey you are on. TC
    1472 days ago
    1472 days ago
    1472 days ago
    I thought she looked thin but I don't know the real deal so have not formed an opinion. I just hope that in truth she is healthy and okay.
    1472 days ago
  • ILOVEJIM851991
    I want to voice my support for Rachel. I'm sure this was just the icing on the cake. Alot of professional body builders do the same thing for competitions then resume to more normal lifestyles. Good for you Rachel and good luck on your journey
    1472 days ago
    I have to agree with you there. She DID look too thin but, honestly... her lowest healthy BMI would put her at 111 pounds and I don't think that another 6 pounds would make her look THAT different. Maybe it is just the way she is built? We can't know the entire story and, though she looks super bony, she can't be as unhealthy as she was at her original weight, right?

    So I agree with ya! emoticon
    1472 days ago
    emoticon I didn't watch the whole season this time, but I was really shocked when I saw the winner, and I thought she must have only been 5 feet tall for that low weight! When I learned she is 5`5` tall I thought the same thing - that`s not healthy!
    To lose weight slowly and steadily I think is the best way to go, like we are doing on Sparkpeople emoticon for the right reasons! emoticon

    1472 days ago
    1472 days ago
    I am glad you brought this up. The show could go for healthiest loser somehow.. not go into the underweight BMI and be strong and better health as determined by the doctors.
    1472 days ago
    I couldn't agree with you more about the terrible effects of mean and hurtful words. It's a shame to put down other people to (presumably) make oneself feel better.
    1472 days ago
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