The Biggest Loser “study” is circulating! Have you heard what happened to the contestants in the years following their weight loss? You might be surprised!
It’s not really a surprise that such fast excessive weight loss made leptin levels plummet (which help us regulate satiety), along with one’s resting metabolic rate (which is how many calories we burn at rest).
The “slightly” surprising finding was that their metabolism didn’t adjust back up - even years later. I say “slightly” surprising because back in my OHSU days I still remember an amazing metabolic MD saying there is no way to change your set point level, and he was adamant on this fact!
Note: Set point is the weight our body “likes” to be at, or is most used to.
As Registered Dietitian Nutritionists we fought him on the point that we couldn’t change our set point because we are in the business of helping people lose weight, and keep it off.
So, was he right?!
Answer: Yes and no.
It might hard to fight against when losing a LOT of weight VERY quickly, but it still not an excuse to say we can’t lose weight and keep it off. What we need is a more do-able, long term way to go about it. Many of the Biggest Loser participants are known to exercise 8-10 hours per day while eating 1200-1500 Calories – this is not a sustainable way to lose weight. As RDNs, we encourage and support a sustainable, long term approach.
What does this mean? Seek out a qualified professional to help you personalize your weight loss plan, for life!
“On average, the contestants would have to eat 500 fewer calories a day than other people of the same weight just to avoid putting on even more pounds.”