A recent report just came out on the winners of the very popular TV show “The Biggest Loser”.
It’s that train wreck show we cannot help but watch. Vastly overweight people are put through grueling workouts, separated from their families and underfed for months on end until the last one standing (literally and figuratively) that has lost the most weight claims their prize and is thrown back into normal life.
A study followed 14 contestants and reports that over 6 years 13 of them regained all the weight back.
Can you even imagine what this must do mentally to a person? It must have taken a huge leap to even enter the show, then to be filmed looking their worst whilst exercising off some 14000 calories a day and eating very little. The glory of returning the normal life a semi-celebrity only to be right back where you started.
One of the main reasons that nearly every contestant put the weight back on is due to the body’s ability to adapt to an extreme environment and it is the same reason most people that do their own or a commercial diet can pretty much expect the same result.
BMR or RMR stands for Basal Metabolic Rate or Resting Metabolic Rate. Used interchangeably BMR/RMR represent how much energy your body needs just to exist at rest. Just lying in your bed exerting no energy there is an absolute amount of energy that needs to exist. Your organs and systems all have an energy requirement that tick away even when you are at rest.
If for example, your RMR is 2000 calories per day, that means you need 2000 calories just to exist. Your activity, lifestyle, and exercise are then additional energy requirements.
If you go onto a VLCD (very low-calorie diet) that were very popular in the 70’s and 80’s and eat 1000 calories per day you will most certainly lose weight …. At first.
For 4-6 weeks your body might indulge you and burn off stored energy (not always body fat) to make up for the lack of food intake. After a point your metabolism will simply adjust to less food and your RMR will reduce so that now what you used to need 2000 calories to do you now need only 1400 calories a day to do.
The diet ends (as all VLCD do) and now you burn few calories. You go back to eating normal way (because the diet didn’t teach you how to maintain your weight loss) and now the weight comes back plus a few extra pounds to boot.
What to do ?? Go back on the diet of course (urghhh) now you RMR is 1400 calories per day drops to 1000 calories per day. You have also at this point lost muscle which itself is metabolically active and burns calories even at rest.
You can see the issue. A study followed women who had been on at least 10 low-calorie diets and on average they were all 20 lb heavier.
It does not have to be this way and at The Shrink Shop, one of the very first things we do is test your Resting Metabolic Rate. It only takes 10 minutes to know how many calories you use at rest. Your nutrition program and exercise routine is based around protecting and even promoting your RMR so that the weight loss you achieve can be maintained long-term.
There was a landmark study done after World War 2 called The Minnesota Starvation Study which proved this very thing. We have known that the body can and will adapt to severe deprivation in as little as just a few weeks and we have known this information since the 1940’s !!
The Biggest Loser is indeed a testament to the contestant’s determination and willpower but they did indeed lose but not in the way the name suggests
Just sad and unnecessary.
We have the Metabolic machine in Eagle, Idaho and in Santa Monica, CA. Let me know where you live and I will try to locate a similar device in your area.