Season 15 Finale Biggest Loser Shocker

The show The Biggest Loser is supposed to be an inspirational show to encourage people to deal with their weight problems. Many of the contestants have had type 2 diabetes, which, of course, they are told they will get rid of if only they lose the weight. I've had many problems with the show in the past, particularly the constant declaration that diabetes goes away if you lose weight, but last night's finale was simply unbelievable.

The three finalists, Bobby, David, and Rachel, all started the contest extremely obese. Each had a sad story that went along with his or her weight gain, but also worked very hard during the time on the ranch. During the next-to-last episode, the three top contestants' BMIs were: Bobby -- 28.9; David -- 31.2; and Rachel -- 25.7. Rachel was a hair's breath away from being within the normal range, while the guys were not too far behind her.

The guys walked out first at the finale. Bobby first, looking slim. He dropped 188 lbs, going from 358 lbs to 170 and a BMI of 21.2 -- within the normal range. David was second, and his transformation was even more amazing, considering he dropped 222 lbs, going from 409 lbs to 187 lbs. He was also in the normal BMI range, at 24. Then there was Rachel. When she walked out, she was extremely thin, the thinnest I'd ever seen a Biggest Loser contestant. When she got on the scales, her weight was 105 lbs -- on a 5'4" frame. She had lost a total of 155 lbs and nearly 60% of her starting body mass. As I watched her stumble on the stage, looked at her thin arms, saw how her face looked quite gaunt, I wondered about her BMI. Turns out her BMI was 18 -- officially underweight. She is the first contestant on the show whose final publicly broadcast weight is considered underweight. IMO, it was truly scary.

In the past, the American Diabetes Association has featured past contestants from the show in its magazine as inspiration to us with diabetes to try to live a healthier lifestyle, that if they can do it, we can, too. Given this latest development -- and previous reports that the show's producers interfere with the medical professionals and do nothing when contestants complain about hair loss, nausea, and a loss of periods. That in itself was disturbing to read; to see a young woman walk into a spotlight unaware that she is underweight is something else.

I have had reservations about this show in the past. After last night and rewarding someone who potentially has anorexia, I no longer have reservations. I cannot support this show anymore.

Intriguing & well-written post. I used to watch the show on & off (but no longer have tv). I too found aspects of the show inspirational. I was always queasy about the product placement (mmm, breakfast at Subway--NOT).
What bothered me was the emphasis on losing FAST. All the research shows that losing weight more slowly is more sustainable. Honestly, I best like the re-caps on the eliminated contestants: showing their home lives and the ways they were incorporate healthier habits into their real lives.

I too have always been uneasy about the Australian version. The contestants cry if they lose less than 5kg (10 lbs approx) per week! Some have lost 10 kg per week. Scary stuff.