Nutritionist Cheryl Forberg, RD, has worked with contestants on “The Biggest Loser” since day 1. The James Beard–award winning chef and educator has been a behind-the-scenes fixture for almost all of the 15 seasons, coaching contestants on all things food—from portion control, to nutrient content, to to healthy recipes. In fact, she was in almost constant contact with season 15’s controversial winner, Rachel Frederickson, according to an article Forberg just penned for the Huffington Post.
Here’s what she had to say about Frederickson:
I am always asked if I’ve had favorite contestants over the years. Naturally I do, but I haven’t singled anyone out. Rachel Frederickson would definitely be high on this list. From the beginning of the season, she has been positive, inquisitive and focused, in terms of learning and living the eating plan I teach.
Last night’s Biggest Loser finale wasn’t exactly the celebration we were all hoping for. Rachel Frederickson, a favorite to win, and one of our favorite contestants to watch, was named the Biggest Loser over Bobby Saleem and David Brown. Her victory should have been wonderful, but instead had a sour taste to it.
What stuck out was how thin she appeared to be. At just 105 pounds, Rachel lost 60 percent of her body weight during her Biggest Loser journey, setting a new record for highest percentage of body weight lost during the show. NBC has offered “No comment” about Rachel’s weight loss.
Mary Hartley, R.D., spoke out against the speed at which Rachel lost weight.
“Fast weight loss is often associated with muscle loss and protein-calorie malnutrition since protein from the muscles and organs is converted to glucose to feed your brain. Muscle glucose makes up for the lack of glucose coming in. Rapid weight loss, and any starvation, leads to psychological changes that promote binge eating as the body attempts to replace lost mass.”
From a starting weight of 260 pounds, Rachel lost 155 pounds in 7 months. What concerns us about her weight loss is Rachel admits to being 5’5″ tall which puts her current BMI at 17.5. That’s solidly in the underweight range, and she is the only contestant in Biggest Loser history (worldwide) to end their season underweight.
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.
I don’t think I’ve ever been this uncomfortable watching the finale. Rachel just looks so sickly. She shouldn’t be able to win. #BLfinale
— Bobby (@Elbobbo87) February 5, 2014
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.
“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. (more…)
The Blue Team may have resisted the temptation of eating waistline-busting food delivered by the diner-working White Team, but that still wasn’t enough to put them on top at the final weigh-in. After an emotional experience on the Biggest Loser Ranch that included a life-changing conversation with mentor and trainer Bob Harper, contestant Bobby Saleem fell below the red line and was sent home.
Today we spoke with Bobby about his decision to discuss his homosexuality on the show, and how he’s been doing since he was eliminated.
This season, trainer Bob Harper had a milestone moment when he announced that he was gay. The admission may not have been a surprise to viewers, but it was a defining moment for Bobby, who was able to share his struggle with homosexuality. Today, Bobby said their conversation was an emotional turning point.
DIR: Was your coming-out conversation with Bob helpful, and if so, what role do you think it played in your weight loss?
Bobby: It was absolutely helpful. Before coming on to the ranch, I felt ashamed of being gay. I never had a role model I could look up to. After my conversation with Bob, I realized that being gay doesn’t make you weak. Now I’m proud of the skin I’m in, emotionally and physically. (more…)
Tune in to Biggest Loser tonight for a special Thanksgiving on the ranch. We’ll see the contestants gather ’round the kitchen for all of the traditional favorites like turkey, dressing, gravy, and of course a pumpkin dessert. But a few things will be missing – loads of fat, calories, and processed ingredients.
Don’t feel too bad for the contestants missing their families, though. By our calculations, this Thanksgiving episode would have filmed in mid August; meaning most or all of them are home with their families for the real holiday this week.
Cheryl Forberg, RD, the show’s dietitian and a James Beard award-winning chef, showed the contestants how to craft a Thanksgiving meal so out of this world they no doubt forgot how good it was for them, and you, too! Using fresh, wholesome ingredients, and what she calls flavor agents, all explained in her cookbook Flavor First, Cheryl was able to give the contestants a holiday meal to remember (and one their waistlines will soon forget!). Her best have-a-healthy-Thanksgiving tips are shared exclusively here.
Let’s start with the turkey. Low in fat and high in protein, it’s an inexpensive source of B vitamins, iron, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Cheryl served a non-traditional take on the bird, with her Turkey Roulade.
Baste your bird with flavorful fat-free broth (instead of butter). You’ll have lots of delicious juices to serve without breaking your calorie bank. (more…)