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What Happened Here?

February 10, 2014   55 Comments

The Biggest Loser has been on for 15 seasons and I have never seen a finale like this one.

The Biggest Loser: Rachel

I watch this show (along with other reality TV shows) because it is like driving by a car accident. You don’t want to look, but you HAVE to look.

This time, I caught an episode of the Biggest Loser while travelling and began to wonder who was going to be the winner.

The winner shocked most of America, including the shows stars – Jillian and Bob – when she walked out 12 pounds under weight for her height (according to Weight Watchers).

See here:

I am not going to judge Rachel for her extreme weight loss. She was doing what the show asked of her – lose the most weight so she could win $250K and become The Biggest Loser.

However, the producers of this show had a problem on their hands when she lost all that weight and started to look emaciated.

From People:

But one source who works closely with the show says people were shocked by Rachel's transformation before the live finale. "Executives honestly thought that maybe she'd look okay and that no one would notice," says the source, "but people gasped."

Including Bob, Jillian, and the contestant standing behind them (the photo above is from the show).

No one would notice that she didn’t look healthy? How could you put this woman on TV as an example of a positive body image? Do you want people to believe that they need to see their bones to be attractive?

Losing weight and becoming healthy can be two very different things. At a certain point, someone had to say, “No, she doesn’t look healthy – we need to rethink this.”

Whenever I get judgmental on Snack Girl there is a backlash because I am usually encouraging and funny.

But, I have received e-mails from readers who are trying to eat more because they are recovering from an eating disorder. They love the site because it emphasizes the relative health of the food and find that the snacks are the right size for their stomachs (which are getting used to eating again). I feel for these people and I want them on the road to a healthy relationship with food.

The Biggest Loser, by celebrating Rachel, reinforced the perspective that super skinny is to be admired. In my opinion, they did real harm - both to Rachel and the viewers who are susceptible to this warped view.

Did you see the show? What do you think?


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55 Comments:

This is a competition and she is a competitor. She was a swimmer before quitting for a boyfriend. She just has that super competitive nature. I hope she gains a few pounds after the end of the show but now she's running and competing in triathelons. People who compete in those grueling endurance sports are often underweight. The public just needs to back off and let this woman live her life. We're such a judgemental society.

on February 10, 2014

I don't think helping people become healthier (i.e. losing weight, eating healthier, etc.) ever needs to be a competition, especially for money. The Biggest Loser sends the wrong kind of message(s) and that is one reason why I don't watch it. Being underweight is just as unhealthy as being overweight. I hope for her sake, she will return to a weight that's healthy.

on February 10, 2014

How did The Biggest Looser do ANYTHING wrong? They had to give her the award since she did loose the most weight. If they hadn't then this article would have been different. It would have been about how The show is Rigged, etc. So if we blame anyone we must blame the contestant. We do not know what is in her past and like Jennifer YT just posted she is a competitor so she probably just took it way too far. But she can easily gain that weight back to a more healthier one. She probably cut sugar out of her diet because of the competition. She can re introduce in in small portions (if she wants) and still be at a great weight.

on February 10, 2014

Well done Snack Girl. This your blog and your own thoughts should be heard. It never ceases to amaze me that talent and wisdom do not get applauded in our society but being thin does. As if being thin is the best achievement ever.

on February 10, 2014

She'll gain back a few pounds and will be just fine. 10 to 20 pounds and she'll be healthy again. It was a contest for money and she loves to compete..She won it and hopefully she will eat wisely and get back on track. In the meantime she can invest that money and it will help her in the long run. It is no ones FAULT. Why do we have to always blame someone?

on February 10, 2014

Why is everyone judging her?? She played a game and did what she had to do to win it! Good for her! We don't know if she stayed that weight for just 1 day. No one thinks that the runner up was a bit thin?? A 6'3" man weighing 170 lbs?? Yuk!! At the end of the day it is a game.

on February 10, 2014

Don't hate the player, hate the game.

I'm pretty sure she will stabilize at a more healthy weight, and did this purely to win the money. As would I, given the opportunity.

on February 10, 2014

Are these contestants not monitored. I understand she did what she went on the show to do, but really. The way they work out very obese contestants is to the extreme for their weight. There is a doctor there to monitor, so why wasn't someone keeping this poor girl in check. A lot of young people watch this show, it is not sending a good message out to this group.

I have not watched the show in a couple of years. I find that yelling in their faces was a turn off to me. I would eat more, not try harder. Very poor approach to weightloss.

on February 10, 2014

I watch the Biggest Loser occasionally. I started watching this season then stopped half way through. I have major problems with this show, but it is entertaining. It teaches people that when they get on the scale they should expect double digit losses. I have never had a double digit lost and I lose 80 lbs. This isn't sustainable. When they get home, they have family, jobs, and friends. Working out all day is unrealistic. Most of the girls on the show don't have as much to lose as the guys. So many women (I'm guessing) feel forced to go below a healthy weight in order to win the competition.

If she's healthy, then so be it, but I don't understand how she can be healthy being below her healthy weight. I think the Biggest Loser needs to rethink how they pick a winner.

It seems in Hollywood that it's okay to judge overweight people, but as soon as they are too skinny, judging is wrong. If a person is healthy and happy, then all the power to them.

on February 10, 2014

I watch the show and was rooting for Rachel. I was shocked when she came out. She lost all the great muscles she built. Biggest Loser needs to rethink this. It's interesting that it has never happened before. The contestants do the show to be healthy. Make the winner the spokesman and no money paid. Most contestants feel like they won by being selected to get help.

on February 10, 2014

Regardless of this particular contestant's weight loss, this show is not healthy PERIOD. They basically starve these people and exercise them to the point of exhaustion. It is not a realistic example of how people can lose weight in real life.

Let's shame people for being too fat and now too thin? Yuck I hate this show.

on February 10, 2014

I blogged about this same thing. I feel bad for Rachel because of the people that attacked her when they should be attacking the show. She was doing what she needed to do to win the show. I hope this doesn't negatively affect her in the long term

on February 10, 2014

She looked fine when I saw the makeover,,,but what happened after that? How much time passed after the makeover. I don't usually watch the show but I happened to see the makeover show. Did they all go home????and come back for the finaly?She obviously lost a lot more and the trainers didn't know??? Gee her cute dimples are verticle lines on the side of her face now. It looks like her upper body lost first because her bottom is still filled out...her legs aren't skinny. women with the pear shape tend to lose too much on the top in order to get the weight off the hips and legs. Too bad, hope she levels off. She's skinnier than when she was a swimmer. She lost all the upper shoulder muscles that swimmers have. I was shocked as I know others were.

on February 10, 2014

The proper challenge should never be about just losing weight. The proper challenge is to lose weight and to maintain or improve your nutrition. I like the Calorie Count website because it tracks 14 categories of nutrition along with weight. Only you will know if you are getting the proper nutrition that you need. Unfortunately, many people don't realize that shorting themselves of proper nutrition is as harmful as anything else.

on February 10, 2014

Yes, I watch the show, but have problems with the messages it sends to young people. I have lost 90 pounds the healthy way... it does, and should, take time to do this. It has taken me a year and a half! This show should dolike Weight Watchers, and have a goal range. The contestants should not be allowed to go under the goal range... that is

on February 10, 2014

I do not fault biggest loser they send the contestants home and do not see them everyday to know how they losing weight. I do think someone should of spoke up during the show or a disclaimer should of flashed on the screen. I am just hoping that Rachel went to the extreme just to win and is planning on putting weight on now that she has. In the end this is a competiton and she wanted to win.

on February 10, 2014

This is very sad to me. No one is judging Rachel or blaming anyone. Snack Girl is concerned that Rachel is under weight when the Biggest Loser is a show centered on helping people lose weight, eat healthy, exercise and live a healthy lifestyle. None of us can know whether Rachel will return to a healthy weight or spiral downwards. Think about it...a lot of Biggest Loser participants have an underlying issue which lead them to being extremely obese. Let's hope and pray that whatever Rachel's issue was that led to her being obese has not/is not pushing her in the other direction.

on February 10, 2014

Amen Niosha!

on February 10, 2014

I think Rachel is like me. When you get your body to be the right weight, your face looks too thin. And she has the type of body where the excess weight is concentrated from the waist down (pear shaped like the above comment mentioned), so I'm sure she was trying to get that off when all of a sudden her upper body and face began to look a bit underweight. Quick weight loss is usually not thought to be a healthy thing, but the show continues on......

on February 10, 2014

I don't watch the Biggest Loser. I follow Snack- Girl' s advice instead. You go Snack-Girl !

on February 10, 2014

I can't believe the show doesn't monitor the contestants while they are losing the weight.

How can you not know Rachel lost all that weight.

Well, she was the biggest loser--- so she deserves the prize. I bet the guidelines for next season, if there is one, will be different.

on February 10, 2014

Yes it's a competition, but she really looks unhealthy. Hopefully, this hasn't caused an eating disorder for her. I want to know where all the skin is, for her to have lost that much in so short a time, I would think she would have a lot of sagging skin.

on February 10, 2014

This is not the first time this has happened. One of the earlier biggest losers (I believe her name was Kai?) posted that the show encouraged them to lose weight by any means necessary. After the finale, she said she was very ill and regained several pounds within in a short time. I think she even mentioned vomiting up blood.

on February 10, 2014

I do understand that it's a competition, but Rachel's appearance was shocking. To me, she did not look healthy and she certainly does not have a healthy BMI. I think she went too far and slid into an unhealthy weight just to win the competition. It's amazing to me that it hasn't happened earlier.

on February 10, 2014

This is what anorexic looks like. I think they will watch their contestants more closely the next time around. There are plenty of healthy athletes of all disciplines out there who are skinny but do not look like that. I was very shocked when I saw her picture. But she did play the game well. It's not easy to lose all that weight!

on February 10, 2014

I think the Biggest Loser should have a rule that disqualifies any contestant whose final weigh-in puts them in the underweight category. I think she probably did it to ensure she would win the money. She's got to realize she looked much healthier at 150 than at 105. She could have stopped at 125 and still won.

on February 10, 2014

I was shocked. I watch this show all the time. I hope the network continues to monitor Rachel because there are times that people who are over weight that lose that much just can't stop. They haven't learned how to maintain, just lose. I think that it is the trainers responsibility to teach that also and continue to monitor the contestants.

on February 10, 2014

This young woman is UNDERweight. Overeating is an addiction. There are also people addicted to exercise. Endorphins are realeased when one exercises. It may be that the food addiction was just traded for exercise addiction. I am not a doctor but here is what WEB MD says.

"Experiments in animals and humans show that, for some people, the same reward and pleasure centers of the brain that are triggered by addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin are also activated by food, especially highly palatable foods. Highly palatable foods are foods rich in:

Sugar

Fat

Salt

Like addictive drugs, highly palatable foods trigger feel-good brain chemicals such as dopamine."

http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/mental-health-food-addic…

I think this game can lead contestants to take drastic and unhealthy measures to lose weight.

"It's not only your waistline that suffers from yo-yoing. "Repeated crash dieting increases metabolic hormones, such as insulin, and elevates levels of sex hormones, including estrogen," says Andrea Pennington, MD, author of The Pennington Plan for Weight Success. "These changes cause you to start putting on weight around your middle, which research has linked to insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease."

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/weight-loss/tips/diet-tips/e…

on February 10, 2014

The problem with judging people with being too thin is that it looks down on and hurts the feelings of those who are naturally thin. I weigh less than she does and I am the same height. I eat and I enjoy eating but gaining weigh has never been something I have been good at. An I think the reason she appears "emaciated" is because she is being compared to her former body. I doubt people would give her a second look if they saw her walking down the street. In fact I don't think she looks all that much different than Jillian.

I just don't agree with judging anyone based on their body size. Body shaming is terrible.

on February 10, 2014

I have always been a fan of the show and have watched it every season. The show has inspired thousands of people to lose weight and get healthy, not just the contestants on TV. How many TV shows do that? After the contestants go home from the "ranch", it's up to them to lose the weight and this girl went overboard to win the prize. That's not the show's fault!

on February 10, 2014

You know it's damned if you do and damned if you don't! I agree that she is too thin for her height, according to the height/weight charts. However, I do not think she is emaciated! Give her a break and congratulate her for getting all of that unhealthy fat off! She'll find her perfect weight or she won't. Like I said, Damned if you do, Damned if you don't!

on February 10, 2014

I thinks it's very sad how people are saying she's to thin. First society says that's she's to big and now she's to thin? She has transformed her life and hopefully now she is happy. At the end of the day the only thing that matters is if she is happy with herself. The show did nothing wrong and neither did she, society as a whole is way to judgemental.

on February 10, 2014

I too thought Rachel looked a bit unhealthy and underweight at the weigh in. I hoped in my mind that she hadn't been starving herself just to win the show. That's sad to me. I pray she gets to a healthy weight and gains optimum health!! Thank you Lisa for your honest opinion. I love you!!

on February 10, 2014

I don't watch the biggest loser. Not that I haven't been enthralled whenever I accidentally happen by it. I'm also surprised that this hasn't happened more often. I'm really at a loss to understand if there is anything anyone can do or say. I know that I am struggling myself with the maintenance part of my weight loss. I simply don't want to stop counting points or even adding points. I don't want to gain weight, I'd rather stay where I am, but I can't do that either (I am currently 16 pounds below goal weight - but my goal is on the high side).

on February 10, 2014

Where is the flabby skin on these people that lose 150+ pounds? -- I recently lost 160 pounds and I have so much flappy skin I've considered skin reduction surgery but the cost is prohibitive. I'm going to have to hope it catches up to my new body and try to ignore the stares I get from ignorant people!

on February 10, 2014

I am always surprised when anyone watches the show as an inspiration for WL. Its simply not -there is nothing realistic or healthy about how they loose weight, and the contestants are given minimal help in learning life skills that will allow them to keep it off (We had a local guy who ended up on the show. I don't think he was a winner, but close. He managed to keep most of the weight off, but he also hired a trainer and dietician when he came back to teach him what to do on a daily basis!)

Anyway, I am surprised that just for liability reasons, they don't have a policy that limits WL to within a certain % of starting weight or within the BMI range. It would seem that by allowing unlimited WL, they are setting themselves up for trouble.

on February 10, 2014

They should change the name to the healthiest loser...because you can lose fatand gain muscle mass I think getting on a scale is a poor way of measuring fitness...they need to come up with a new way of measuring...the finale was a bad show for teenage girls looking to feel better about their bodies.....when you show skeleton of a girl.....who once was very heavy send a bad message too any teenager..who thinks they have a problem with the way they look......but it is the biggest loser and I'm surprised that hasn't happened sooner.....

on February 10, 2014

This issue really makes me mad. Why is everyone being so mean to this girl? I don't want this show. However, I agree with some of the posts above mine. It is a game to lose the most weight. She is a competitor. She won. She also worked extremely hard to lose the weight. Why didn't everyone complain before when she was overweight? I'm looking at her calves and the muscles she has. I think she must have been working out like crazy. It makes me so mad that society feels like they can criticize a skinny person and it be ok. I'm the same weight and height as Rachel. I can't tell you how many strangers and friends say to me "You are so skinny", "You are going to blow away", "You need some meat on your bones". What if I walked up to someone that was overweight and did the same? I would never. It isn't my business. I do what it right for me. I do what is healthy. I have always been skinny. Always. For the past 6 years I've been gluten free and try to cut out as much processed crap as I can. I eat to be healthy not to please others and how much they think I should weigh!

on February 10, 2014

This is frightening to see! This woman is not well - especially if she thinks this is a "healthy" look. This is very sad to me.

on February 10, 2014

Being SLIGHTLY under an ideal BMI is NOTHING like being morbidly obese as she was before. Yes she'll gain back the 8

pounds or so that will put her back in the healthy range of normal but it seems strange to me that it's not politically correct to point out how obesity ravages your health but everyone is quick to criticize someone that is slightly under weight.

on February 10, 2014

At first I thought she is too skinny but then I thought it is a competition! She wanted to win. She managed to find a way to lose weight that worked for her so do as much as possible to win that money. I'm sure she will gain a few pounds and hopefully settle at a slightly higher and what might be a healthier weight for her. I don't know anything about her story or how long she's been obese but speaking for myself if I ever was able to do what she did I think I would love to be thought TOO skinny at least for a while. I've never been skinny so... I don't think the show really promotes healthy weight loss anyway as the people on it are basically separated from real life and are in constant competition just to stay on the show. They have to lose quickly to even be there. They don't measure their overall fitness just their percentage of weight lost.

on February 10, 2014

I don't watch Biggest Loser, but a friend sent me the clip of Rachel's big reveal. I have to admit, I was seriously shocked and I had to wonder if she'd traded being overweight for an eating disorder. At the same time, I have a very good friend who is blessed/cursed with the metabolism of a rabbit - she stays 5-10 pounds under her "ideal weight," and people are always assuming she has an eating disorder. No amount of denial convinces them otherwise. Although she'd like to gain a little weight, she IS healthy where she is.

I do have to think that the producers were engaging in some wishful thinking, though. This is an EXTREME weight loss (the kind the most doctors specifically recommend against) - people are going to notice that!

on February 10, 2014

What happened HERE is the real question. You write an article about a person because you thinking she looks emaciated. How would you feel if someone had written an article about you before you because they thought you looked fat. You shouldn't be passing judgement on people, you should only be encouraging people to live a healthy lifestyle, exercise and eat well. You don't know her story, you don't know what the medical team on the show have said to her, so you shouldn't really be commenting on her should you. Take a chapter out of Jillian and Michaels book, and stick with No Comment next time.

on February 10, 2014

I have problems pro and con with this situation, but for those who don't watch the show or catch the byplay of details, the show before the finale is when they are sent home... on their own for weeks to months. In the finale someone mentioned it was a 7 MONTH journey.

on February 10, 2014

I think Rachel will gain weight back if, and this is a big if, she doesn't still see herself as a "fatgirl." Body image issues and control issues (which she did mention several times in interviews) often lead a person to eating disorders. IMO The Biggest Loser needs to set a lower limit, perhaps the lowest healthy BMI...18.5

on February 10, 2014

I do not watch THE because I can't stand the abuse! If this behavior was seen ANYWHERE ELSE but this show, people would be HORRIFIED!! Can you imagine being at your local gym, and someone was working out until they vomited, passed out and/or needed medical attention? What if we stopped torturing ourselves and each other? Weight doesn't tell you anything about a person except their size. Not what they ate, how much they exercise, and most definitely not their health status!

Well written article Snack Girl. Thanks for the food for thought.

on February 11, 2014

I don't think she looks emaciated or sick. She has a larger bottom half than top half. Her legs are quite shapely not skinny. Her arms look thin because her top half is smaller than the bottom half and if she doesn't want to have big legs she must lose more pounds to look good. I know many women who have the same problem. She doesn't have flabby skin so the exercise worked and all young women are much thinner when they're young than when they get old. Leave her alone. She's very lovely and her face does not look drawn. She's happy with her new self and that is worth a lot.

on February 11, 2014

Many movie stars and models are just as thin.

on February 11, 2014

So happy for this girl and if a contest is what helped her to get healthy so be it! If we all ate healthy and excercise we would ALL look like this. I've watched my daughter go through an amazing transformation all through healthy diet and major excercise and she has never looked and felt so alive. I'm on this site to eat healthier however I can admit I sabatoge my own health daily. Go to Japan...those elderly little ladies have bodies like teenagers...why? Healthy eating!

on February 11, 2014

All you have to do is look at Bob and Jillian's faces to realize just exactly how shocking Rachel looked at the finale. No one is being "judgey" but are more concerned about Rachel as well as concerned about what her weight loss says to people, particularly young girls.

on February 11, 2014

I don't normally watch it but tuned in to see the finale. She looked anorexic! Not healthy at all!

on February 12, 2014

What is wrong with this society? Why does there have to be limitations to everything? Why can't a girl be fat or skinny and just perfect? Its not her fault- the show wanted something and they got what they wanted. Granted she went a bit extreme but she will gain a few pounds. Its not her fault but I feel society places so much pressure in the perfect image. Some people have it and most don't.

on February 13, 2014

I don't fat shame nor do I do skinny shamming. However, this woman is an unhealthy roll model, so are the super models and actress if you want to go there. Young girls will look at her and think it's OK to have a eating disorder, which this lady clearly has, you can tell just by looking at her. Quit trying to say she doesn't look to skinny, most of America said she doesn't look good. Trainers, who work with people on what is a healthy weight, were shocked. That should tell you something, and clue you in, right there.

on February 14, 2014

And to Cindy who said if we all ate healthy and exercised, we would all look like that. No, in fact, we wouldn't. You need to get out and see what a truly healthy person looks like. You have a distorted view of healthy.

on February 14, 2014

I think personally she may have gone a bit too far. There are so much more health risks to becoming underweight. All for what - money? She might have used her competitive nature to win the game by losing the most weight, but I really hope she is able to gain a few more healthy pounds back. It certainly wouldn't harm her. The pounds she gains back doesn't have to be FAT either. IT could be muscle. But I honestly think the money drove her to go this far. Even if she didn't win, and she had lost all that weight, if she had lost, but had weighed slightly more, she still would have achieved a weight loss goal. Money should NEVER be an incentive to lose weight ever. She put her health at risk. Some health risks can end up being permanent. I hope for Rachel's sake, she realizes this.

on February 19, 2014


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