Tuesday, March 22, 2022

The high order bit from "The Biggest Loser" study is not the RMR, it's the resource cut from the show ending.

 Fothergill, Erin, et al. "Persistent metabolic adaptation 6 years after “The Biggest Loser” competition." Obesity 24.8 (2016): 1612-1619.

Read it here

Look, I just don't know what the lived-experience of a morbidly obese person is with the resting metabolic rate (RMR) of a morbidly obese person, versus the same person with an RMR of someone who is reasonably trim and fit.  Does one feel energized, and one lethargic on a certain number of calories?  I don't know.

All of that aside.  (I mean it, let's forget entirely about metabolism right now as if it is the health equivalent of the financial practice of trying to time the market.)

What resources went into the 30-week weight loss of these contestants?  What resources went into their weight maintenance after the show ended?

During the 30 weeks:

  • Full time videography
  • Full time chef
  • Full time trainer
  • Well-supported support group
  • Formal and social accountability sessions
  • Top of the line fitness machines
  • Residential focus on the goal 

After the 30 weeks training:


It's obvious to me, having participated in reasonably resource-rich sports teams, that a big part of the problem is the lack of cash put into maintenance.  If you want to think of it another way, ask: "What am I relying on for this weight loss, and is that something I can maintain in terms of time, finances, will, boredom/fun, challenge, interest...etc when the time comes to maintain my weight?".

If the answer is a $100/hour personal trainer and you have a salary of $30,000 a year, I'm going to guess that you are going to have trouble maintaining. 

If I had to point to another major factor it would be the length of time over which the contestants lost the weight.  If I read the charts right the average weight loss was 130 pounds, and the length of the course was 30 weeks.  To me that's a really, really intense crash diet.