The Biggest Loser’s Controversial Finale

Tuesday night’s season finale of USA’s The Biggest Loser left the live audience, past contestants, trainers, and home viewers with dropped jaws. Many incredible transformations happened over the course of 4 months. One transformation especially surprised us all, but not in a good way. Recent CrossFit convert and trainer Bob Harper’s reaction says it all.

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Like the other two finalists, Rachel had made it to the finale, hoping to be crowned season 15′s Biggest Loser and walk home $250,000 richer.

 

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Those familiar with the show know the overall ‘Biggest Loser’ is the contestant with the highest percentage of body weight lost. Take for example last season’s winner Danni Allen. Danni came to the Biggest Loser ranch weighing 258 lbs, (117 kg) and managed to lose an incredible 121 lbs, finishing at 137 lbs (62 kg), looking like a seasoned fitness model in the process.

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Like previous champion Danni, Rachel had a fitness background in swimming, excelling in high school as a state champion three consecutive years. In fact, Rachel would become the first finalist after finishing first (by a long shot) in a sprint triathlon the final 5 contestants competed in.

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But just how far would Rachel’s competitive spirit take her? Here she is in the second to last episode, roughly 90 days before the finale.

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And here she is on the scale at the finale.

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Twitter blew up with both concern and outrage when Rachel came out thin as a rail.  She began the show nearly the same weight as Danni (2 lbs more), but managed to end up at 105 lbs (47 kg), 32 lbs (14 kg) lighter than her predecessor. Needless to say, Rachel had become the season 15 Biggest Loser winner having lost 60% of her original body weight.

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“So she’s a little too skinny, big deal.”

 

The premise of the show is to promote healthy changes and second chances to those struggling with obesity and sedentary, destructive lifestyles. Many of the contestants before arriving battled food addictions in an attempt to cope with depression, personal loss, and insecurities. As mentioned earlier, the winner of the show is the person with the highest percentage of weight lost.  Given her weight and appearance, its not far to assume Rachel had developed an eating disorder. She had gone from one extreme to another.

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The shows credits mention that contestants were supervised by doctors while participating in the show. This most likely excludes the 90 days the contestants are home before returning to the live studio finale. Its unfortunate the show does not reward the person with the lowest body mass index, nor the person who worked the hardest, got the strongest, or had nice blood pressure.  It simply rewards the person who lost the most weight, which all can agree after this season finale, is not a true measurement of healthiness.

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You cant place blame Rachel for doing her best to become the Biggest Loser winner and earn $250,000. Its a shame there wasn’t more accountability for her, but even more of a shame the show celebrates total weigh loss over healthiness. This is what I like about CrossFit. In most gyms you wont see any mirrors, scales, or trainers encouraging you to be the lightest you. CrossFit encourages functional fitness and healthy eating (although for me contains less emphasis on healthy and more on eating.)

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Do you think The Biggest Loser should change the way they crown their winner? If so, what changes would you like to see?