After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight


Not sure if its OK to post this here or not, but the subject is an interest for people over all, especially those of us who struggle to keep weight off.

I think people will learn a lot from it.

Contestants lost hundreds of pounds during Season 8, but
gained them back. A study of their struggles helps explain
why so many people fail to keep off the weight they lose.



I get most of it but am missing something.

His slow metabolism is part of the problem, and so are his food cravings.

OK hold that thought…Ms Tracy for example…

Tracy Yukich
44, exercise physiologist, Raleigh, N.C.

WEIGHT Before show, 250 pounds; at finale, 132 pounds; now, 178 pounds
METABOLIC RATE Now burns 211.7 fewer calories per day than would be expected for a woman her size.

But the slower metabolism is a give, her metabolism didn’t become slower after she lost weight it was slow to begin with. So she cut what ever amount of calories needed say from 3000 to 1200 daily to reach 132lbs. So are they saying she now must burn 211 calories more to maintain 132? Or in general she always burned less calories thus has to burn the extra to compensate for the metabolism?

You can also trick your mind with eating much but maintaining a low calorie intake while reducing hunger. But you have to change your diet. Thats the biggest issue accepting a new diet. imho



OTracy Yukich
44, exercise physiologist, Raleigh, N.C.

WEIGHT Before show, 250 pounds; at finale, 132 pounds; now, 178 pounds
METABOLIC RATE Now burns 211.7 fewer calories per day than would be expected for a woman her size

In other words, at 178 lbs, Tracy should take in 1780 calories to maintain the weight of 178lbs.

However, her metabolism slowed down so much, that she can only take in 1568.3 calories to stay at 178lbs. If she eats 1780 calories, she puts weight on and quickly .



I am confused. Is that 1568 calories with exercise, or before accounting for calories burned due to exercise?


The calories figured is if you did nothing.

In the case of the Biggest Loser contestants, they were exercising as well, so should not have been gaining weight back, but they did.



How do you know it wasn;t slow to begin with? So you think its now “slower” and thus either less calories or more exercise. I don’t know, where do you read that? It might be right but I think it more than eating and exercise habit its a slow metabolism to begin with.

This too…

They constantly battled hunger, cravings and binges. The investigators found at least one reason: plummeting levels of leptin. The contestants started out with normal levels of leptin. By the season’s finale, they had almost no leptin at all, which would have made them ravenous all the time. As their weight returned, their leptin levels drifted up again, but only to about half of what they had been when the season began, the researchers found, thus helping to explain their urges to eat.

But think about this…

Factors that Contribute to Leptin Resistance
Fructose consumption (especially in forms like High Fructose Corn Syrup)
High stress levels.
Consumption of a lot of simple carbs.
Lack of sleep.
High insulin levels (vicious cycle here)
Exercising too much, especially if your hormones are already damaged.

They were overeating to begin with and with the wrong foods such as sugar etc. I think part of the mistake is assuming “average” with weight/height calorie intake. I think its just a basic outline but not consistent with everyone.


Read the article, I’m not the one who did the studies.



Think about this with this fellow…

Sean Algaier
36, worship pastor, Charlotte, N.C.

WEIGHT Before show, 444 pounds; at finale, 289 pounds; now, 450 pounds
METABOLIC RATE Now burns 458 fewer calories a day than would be expected for a man his size

To know that he now takes in 458 calories less to maintain his weight you would have had to known what he was taking in to begin with? Which no-where the article indicates. What “i think” is what is being suggested is average weight and calorie intake to maintain weight, which may have been wrong due to metabolism to begin with

This is quite common. You may simply need less food or more exercise than the same weight and height of another individual.


It is strange. If the human body needs 2,000 calories, and it expends 2,000 calories, how can it gain weight?


They do know what he took in before the show and they were monitored throughout the show.

They also know how many calories that the person should have to take in to maintain the weight they’re at.

Again, read the article, it appears you’ve only skimmed through it and made up your own opinions.



Correct, how can they gain weight, this is the question they’re trying to figure out.

Read the article in its entirety



Read this one the above as I said is missing data

While some of the contestants lost hundreds of pounds during the 30-week show, the contestants on average lost about 128 pounds. At the start, their resting metabolic rates were 2,607 +/-649 kilocalories per day. By the end, their mean rate dropped to 1,996 +/- 358 kcal per day. And, the researchers noted, those that lost the most weight saw the biggest drops in their metabolic rate.

The relationship between resting metabolic rate and different parameters of body size was investigated among 28 female volunteers in the age group of 20–30 years. The resting metabolic rate of the subjects was determined indirectly by measuring the oxygen consumption in a closed circuit, in which the oxygen concentration was stabilised. The fat percentage of the body was determined by densitometry. The population was divided into two groups: the obese, with an average fat percentage of 33.6 and the normal-weight with an average fat percentage of 20.4. Mean values for the resting metabolic rate were 1550 kcal/24 h (6.488 MJ/24 h) for the obese and 1421 kcal/24 h (5.948 MJ/24 h) for the normal-weight group. The resting metabolic rate per kg body weight was lower in the obese than in the normal-weight persons. However, expressed per kg fat-free body mass, energy expenditure under resting conditions in the obese was higher than in the normal-weight. No single body parameter seems to be suitable in the explantation of RMR in women with substantially different fat content. The best prediction of resting metabolic rate in this population of obese and normal-weight women is obtained when both fat-free mass and fat mass are used as independent variables in a linear regression equation.

This to me is suspect also…

While the findings may discourage some dieters, the authors note that studies of gastric bypass surgery patients did not reveal similar losses in metabolic rates. This, the authors speculate, may suggest that surgical interventions can reset the body’s weight “set point," a hypothesis that should be followed up in future research.

Variable being the exercise. Whats the difference then if one diets and doesn’t exercise as the same results in theory would be achieved.

Thanks, interesting.


Being the quickest to lose the weight isn’t necessarily the best way.



Variable being the exercise. Whats the difference then if one diets and doesn’t exercise as the same results in theory would be achieved.

But in the case of the contestants, they did exercise.

Not the seven hours per day as they did on the program, but some were exercising three hours per day and still regained weight.

However, as the study I posted and the one you linked, their metabolic rates slowed below what they should be for a normal person of the same various weights.

The articles then go on to look at the brain and how it controls metabolism and triggering hormone responses.

There is a lot more going on inside our bodies than we knew before.

The just eat less and exercise more, does not work for most people living normal lives.

Being on the Biggest Loser, is not a reflection of living a normal life. Relatively few people gets to stay home all day and exercise and have a doctor monitor their blood sugars and metabolic rates.



When I was in high school I took a course in nutrition, and we learned that the body develops a “set point” and tries to maintain that set point. When people drastically lower their caloric intake and lose a lot of weight quickly, the body says, “Oh, I’m starving!” and converts more calories to fat.

We learned that people had to (1) lose weight very slowly; and (2) indulge a few days a week to “fool” the body and let it know it’s not starving.

Whether that is actually true or not is speculation, and I don’t know if it would apply to these people. They did seem to lose the weight too fast for the weight loss to be permanent, though. To lose a significant amount of weight, and keep it off, one would have to lose it over a period of two, three years.


It is easier to maintain an effort for a fixed term (i.e., the show) than to maintain it “for life.”

This is not only not a surprise, it frankly goes in the “duh” category, IMNAAHO.



I think what the experts are looking at in this case is how the set point is not what we think the ideal weight is suppose to be and the body will force the person to return to that set point.

I believe hormones play a large impact on many issues, not just weight-loss.

Its part of our fallen state, so to speak.



Absolutely! It’s usually the worst. People need to take weight loss slowly, very slowly. I think the more weight they have to lose, the slower they need to lose it. I’m only 4’11" so I’ve always kept my weight down. I’ve been lucky. And my twin brother is heavily into fitness, so he keeps me exercising.


I know Jim I don’t contest the second or third paragraph of the OP. Here I’ll show you…

When the show began, the contestants, though hugely overweight, had normal metabolisms for their size, meaning they were burning a normal number of calories for people of their weight. When it ended, their metabolisms had slowed radically and their bodies were not burning enough calories to maintain their thinner sizes.

Researchers knew that just about anyone who deliberately loses weight — even if they start at a normal weight or even underweight — will have a slower metabolism when the diet ends. So they were not surprised to see that “The Biggest Loser” contestants had slow metabolisms when the show ended.

What shocked the researchers was what happened next: As the years went by and the numbers on the scale climbed, the contestants’ metabolisms did not recover. They became even slower, and the pounds kept piling on.

So in the second article, the missing data in the first paragraph above is given. But its still a whole group average. For example here’s a calculator where you can do your own metabolic rate.

Follow? Like I was originally saying, with the calculator its an average based on weight/height, and “age” which I omitted above. They all were not the same age height and weight first off and second an average doesn’t indicate a slow metabolism from the start or a normal. Thats all I;m saying. It was once thought there was no such thing as slower metabolism, but that as we now know is not true.


I think hormones play a large role, too, as the article indicated. Hopefully, they will figure it out and be able to give the people hormone injections or pills that will keep the body from settling in at a slow metabolism.

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