Rachel’s 60 Percent Weight Loss is Nothing to Celebrate; Biggest Loser Should be Ashamed

UPDATE: Editor Brandi Koskie spoke with WCCO radio in Minneapolis, MN, about Rachel’s shocking weight loss. Listen to the conversation here:

 

 

105 pounds. 60% loss? Rachel is beautiful, but @biggestlosernbc that is not healthy. We both know that. We shouldn’t celebrate that.

That’s what I tweeted tonight once the confetti fell on the Biggest Loser stage. Reactions of shell-shocked viewers, like this one, poured in. And there are more below.

 

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Rachel Frederickson may have won Biggest Loser season 15 tonight, but there’s very little to celebrate. She looked stunning when she was finally revealed during the live finale, but awe turned to shock when millions of viewers at home noticed her frail, skeletal frame.

“I knew it would come to this someday, just wish it hadn’t,” was the comment from a trusted insider who attended the finale. For years people have wondered if the $250,000 prize money would push contestants too far. This isn’t the first time a finalist has looked too thin on that scale; but no one has ever looked as frighteningly emaciated as Rachel did tonight.

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“It’s so much worse in person, isn’t it?” I texted, following the show’s ending.

“I legitimately cried,” our insider told us upon seeing Rachel in person. “[NBC] should be beyond ashamed.”

NBC has “no statement,” confirmed at 9:15am today.

My sentiments were the same as my insider’s. Rachel’s final weigh-in put her at 105 pounds. That’s not how much she lost, that’s her current weight, a 60% total weight loss off of a starting weight of 260 pounds. That percentage, most likely one of the highest in show history, absolutely secured her win.

How do you celebrate that, though? There is nothing that resembles healthy, inspiring, or motivating about what Rachel, and NBC, did tonight. I feel bad for Rachel, really. She wanted the prize, the glory, and that one last taste of success and so she undoubtedly did whatever was necessary. She worked so hard all season; she had one of the most impressive runs in show history as she dominated the competition and won every challenge they put in front of her. She was an athlete. During the last five months we’ve watched her become one again.

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There was nothing athletic about the waif-thin appearance of Rachel tonight.

Even Jillian Michael’s face looked dumbfounded – hopefully she was as sad to see how far Rachel had taken it, too.

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“Rachel is a beautiful girl, but my heart broke when I saw her tonight,” said Abra Pappa of NutritiousAmerica.com in an email, echoing sentiments heard across Twitter tonight. She pointed out that aside from the obvious weight loss, Rachel shows signs of being underweight or even malnourished, noting the lines around her mouth and seemingly dehydrated skin as facial diagnostic cues.

I’ve championed this show for years. I’ve only missed one episode since the premiere of season 5, and that was because I’d given birth to my daughter that night. When people hated on the process, I defended it. I know a lot about this show, the inner workings, the production, the logistics – I know a lot of people, they talk, and I keep their confidences. Based on all of that, and 11 seasons of viewing history, I believe in what NBC is doing with Biggest Loser. I’ve seen for myself the changes it can make for a morbidly obese society. And while it’s not 100% Kosher all the time, I put my trust in the band of medical experts who sit inches off camera, at all times. After all, this is not reality, this is a TV show. In that controlled environment, they can do things that your average Joe at home cannot.

That’s where it gets more dangerous though. Those average Joes at home rarely know how many calories a day they’re supposed to consume, much less that working out hours on end and not eating enough can actually have the opposite effect of what they’re striving for.

People in this country are sick. They’re actually killing themselves with food, and they turn to this show because, frankly, it’s the cheapest and easiest way to access the information. That information comes with a heavy-handed dose of marketing and smoke and mirrors, and we, mostly, all know that. It’s wrong and irresponsible of NBC to have allowed Rachel to go so far, to have not given her total support at home. This was preventable, and it should have been.

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Where were the checks and balances since she left the ranch to ensure that not only physically, but more important mentally, that Rachel was handling the pressure of being a finalist?

Rachel, this is not an attack on you by any means. You literally worked your tail off this season, and I loved every minute of watching you do it. I was cheering for you to win the whole thing. But this? Your 105 pounds? This is not healthy, dear. This is not a model of what young girls, young women, old women, middle-aged women, or any age of male should be striving for. This … NBC should have to answer for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

makeover via People.com; triathlon photo via NBC Universal / Greg Gayne; finale screenshots, with permission, via instagram.com/melbjork and instagram.com/brandyherigon

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