Biggest Losers (US) – Behind the scenes secrets and intrigues

Most gain their weight back

Over the years, we have seen contestants drop hundreds of pounds and walk away from the show in the healthy weight range. However, it seems as though their life overhaul might not be to last. It’s reported that most of the contestants actually gain much of the weight back, if not even more. So why do they put it all back on? It’s thought that finally being back in control teamed with not being surrounded by people watching their every workout and meal are some of the many reasons they slip back into old habits.

No one is allowed music

Imagine you’ve got the motivation to hit the gym. You show up, get out your headphones, and set about putting the next hour of your life to good use. That would be great in the real world, but was never the case for anyone on The Biggest Loser. It’s said the contestants weren’t allowed to listen to music as a way to take their mind off the grueling workouts. Instead, they were forced to listen to the trainers at all times – just in case they missed a bit of motivation, perhaps?

Jillian Michaels left the series

Jillian Michaels and The Biggest Loser are two names that almost go hand in hand. That was until 2014 when this star trainer from the show up and left. What had happened? Although it seems as if the series wanted to brush over the dramatic exit, critics were quick to point out what Jillian leaving could do for the series. Jillian claimed the decision was made after years of watching the mistreatment of contestants, and The Biggest Loser lasted just two more seasons without her before it finally came to an end.

They were accused of shaming

It was more than just the trainers that were accused of “fat shaming” over the years; the entire production crew were accused of making the contestants’ lives as difficult as possible. One season, they said to make people use Port-a-Potties that were deliberately too small. As if that wasn’t enough, the show apparently would also shout harsh comments about people’s families and how they were going to be left alone if they continued to be overweight.

Suzanne Mendonca needed to gain weight first

Some of the contestants on the show have reported they were actually asked to weight even more before they were allowed to compete. After all, The Biggest Loser is reality TV, and it looks as though the producers wanted to get as much out of their screen time as possible. Suzanne Mendonca, from the second season of the show, was allegedly told she needed to gain 40 pounds to take her heaviest weight up to 255 pounds if she wanted to be a part of the show.

The public had some harsh comments

Believe it or not, but the public has been accused of shaming the contestants – even long after they have appeared on our screens. Many of the contestants have become motivational speakers, yet the crowds regularly only show up to see whether they have gained the weight back or stuck to their new plans. As if that wasn’t enough, some have even reported people coming up to them in the grocery store only to question whether they should be buying the food in their cart.

They must sign contracts

Of course, being on a show usually comes with a contract that says what you can and can’t do. However, it looks like The Biggest Loser has taken theirs one step further than most series. Allegedly, the contracts state the contestants no longer own the rights to their own storylines so the producers can edit them to appear any way they like. To top it off, the contestants are also banned from ever being able to talk badly about the show – even after they leave.

There were some unusual text messages

It seems as though the trainers on the show have had some pretty unusual training tactics over the years. Apparently, that doesn’t stop when the contestants are done in the gym. No, their training methods have even extended to texting and harassing the people trying to lose weight. Apparently, some have received text messages about how they may end up passing away from weight-related illnesses like other people in their family, as well as picking out their “fat-person coffin” for them already.

There were signs of Stockholm syndrome

Stockholm syndrome is when someone develops feelings of affection or trust towards their captures or kidnappers. Although it might sound extreme, some believe many of the contestants began to show some of the symptoms of the syndrome. Contestants have reported being made to feel lucky they were on the show in the first place and often felt as though they had to endure all the trauma as a thank you. Plus, many would get extremely upset or worried if they lost too little or too much weight.

There was a lot of clever editing

Reality TV has often been accused of editing scenes to make them look a lot more dramatic than they actually are. The Biggest Loser is one of the many to come into the firing line. One of the contestants on the show accused producers of editing scenes of making it appear as though she looked lazy and the only reason she was overweight was that she wasn’t trying hard enough. Apparently, if she defied the show in any way, they would often try and make her look even worse.

There were serious health complications

While it might seem impressive to drop 30 pounds in one week, it appears as though this dramatic weight loss teamed with the extreme workouts and diet plans have left several contestants with lifelong medical conditions. Contestants have reported side effects such as malnutrition, dehydration, having to have their gallbladder removed, and even having total kidney failure all thanks to the way they were made to eat and exercise on the show. To top it off, some have even reported issues in their joints and limbs thanks to the intensity of their workouts.

The workouts were reportedly dangerous

The show was often seen giving contestants full health checks to ensure they are up to the demanding nature of the workouts. However, apparently, that still wasn’t much of a concern for the trainers. Some contestants admitted their first exercise routines were hours of grueling work that left them with bleeding feet, while others said they could spend anywhere between five and eight hours in the gym in one go. Plus, there was no time for a break; they needed to continually be on their feet if they wanted to stay on the show.

There were plenty of Frankenfoods

Frankenfood is the word often used to describe genetically modified food, such as fruits and vegetables. However, these aren’t always said to be the healthiest of options, yet the contestants were forced to have them at almost every meal time. To top it off, doctors once tried to prescribe the contestants with electrolyte drinks to counteract the effects of all the workouts. That was until trainers told them the drinks would help them gain weight therefore losing them the chance to save themselves.

They could only eat sponsored food

The Biggest Loser was once one of the most popular shows across the entire planet as everyone tuned in to see how the contestants would be able to lose weight. All that attention got the series plenty of sponsors. That could only mean one thing: there was about to be a ton of product placement and using their items as a thank you. It now looks as though calorie content and health value went out the window as the show wanted to keep their sponsors on their side.

Two contestants went to hospital

It looks as though all that time in the gym was about to take its toll on two of the contestants back in 2009. The series had a one-mile race where everyone was pushed to finish in the quickest time possible. However, the lack of nutrition and having already worked out for a number of hours were apparently just two of the factors that caused not one, but two contestants to collapse and end up in the hospital. One even had to be airlifted to safety as their condition continued to decline rapidly.

The weigh-ins are supposedly fake

One of the biggest features on the show is the weekly weigh-ins. Now, people could see just how far the contestants had come as they fought to keep their place in the competition. That was until many of the people from the show claimed it might not look like everyone once thought. The contestants claimed they would usually have a few weeks between each weigh-in. Although it might not seem too worrying, many were worried it would put others at home off their weight loss journey as they were discouraged by how much the contestants were able to lose.

Ryan Benson starved himself

The producers of the show always claimed to keep a close eye on the contestants to ensure they didn’t develop any unhealthy rituals or eating habits. Unfortunately, it looks as though Ryan Benson slipped under the radar as the contestant claimed to have deliberately starved and dehydrated himself in the final weeks of the show. Although Ryan won the first season, he said the fame was what pushed him to drop as much weight as possible – no matter the cost.

Joelle Gwynn has to lie about food

It isn’t just every other aspect of the show that has come under questioning over the years; Joelle Gwynn, from season seven, was apparently asked to lie about her calorie intake if she wanted to stay on the show. The series claimed the contestant was eating around 1,500 calories a day. However, Joelle claims she was only getting about 800 calories a day. Joelle states the changes were made so she could lose as much weight as she could as quickly as possible.

She also claims she was forced to take medication

Many of the contestants have claimed the show has forced them to take medication as a way to boost their metabolisms and lose even more weight. Joelle Gwynn claims that along with her intense diet plan, it was during a standard checkup with the doctor that she was handed a brown paper bag filled with pills. Joelle reports all the trainers were aware of the additions, but no one batted an eyelid. Joelle even claims that the medication came with a host of side effects that included being overly hyper and jittery.

They’re cut off from the outside world

The Biggest Loser has always been the show to watch for motivation when it comes to losing weight. After all, people at home can tune in every week to see how far the contestants are coming along as well as get inspiration for many of their own diets and workout routines. However, most people also get the chance to have some downtime and enjoy some time away from their new life. Not on the show. No, apparently, the producers wanted their entire lives to be engulfed by the idea of losing weight which meant no outside world.

They can’t talk to their family

A lot of people trying to lose weight claim that having the support from their friends and family is one of the most important parts of being successful. However, that’s not the case for people competing on the show. No, the contestants are expected to stay away from their family no matter what. One contestant claims their son was rushed into the ICU for emergency treatment, but the show would only allow periodic phone calls or he would be dropped from the series.

They were confined to their hotel rooms

As soon as contestants sign up for the show, they are whisked off to a hotel where they will remain for the next few months of their lives. People claim they are greeted by a producer from the show who immediately takes everyone’s key cards to ensure they have no way in and out of their rooms. As if that wasn’t enough, contestants claim the hotel will report to the show if anyone is seen leaving their room or talking to other contestants on the show.

They’re stuck for the holidays

The holidays are a time to be with family members and friends, right? Not if you want to remain on The Biggest Loser. The producers know the season can be the biggest task when it comes to avoiding loading up plates of food and chowing down on thousands of calories. So why risk it when you can keep contestants locked up away from their families instead? Allegedly, they were only allowed one five-minute phone call on Christmas Day. The rest of the time, the contestants were watched and followed by security guards.

Kai Hibbard couldn’t communicate for weeks

This season three contestant has been one of the many to speak out about her treatment on the show. Kai admits she wasn’t allowed to communicate with her family for the first six weeks of her time on the show as she had to focus solely on losing weight. Even after her trial was up, the contestant could still only make five-minute phone calls. To top it off, Kai believes the producers bugged her laptop when they took it off her upon their first meeting.