The Biggest Loser
season 15 champ Rachel Fredrickson has caused waves with her dramatic and controversial weight loss.
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Rachel's big reveal and subsequent win sent social media buzzing after The Biggest Loser
finale. Her gaunt face, bony shoulders and knobby knees were a shock to us all as we watched one of the most beloved and athletic contestants of the season seemingly fall prey to the game. The fact that her formerly toned and developed muscles had shrunk so dramatically spurred questions that she resorted to starvation or disordered eating behaviors. Not to mention her dramatic weight loss from 260lbs down to an eye-popping 105lbs, almost 60% lost.
Questions have been raised about her health, BMI, her status as a role model, and, of course, who is in fact responsible for this? Is it NBC, The Biggest Loser, the trainers or Rachel Frederickson herself?
The show makes a point of posting their disclaimer at the end of every episode that states the contestants are closely monitored by doctors and professionals throughout the competition. If this is the case, how in the world did this happen?
This is a relatively unprecedented event in The Biggest Loser history. Though many have gone to extremes to win the money, play the game and show the dark underbelly of the competition, there has never been such an uproar over eating disorder accusations. Viewers watch the show for inspiration and motivation in healthier living. For Rachel to have swung to the other extreme was upsetting for those who believe in that major tenet of the show.
It was not only the viewers who were upset, but the fellow contestants and trainers themselves who could not hide there shock. At one point the camera panned to trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels whose expressions were not impressed, but horrified. As viewers, we look to them for what is healthy and okay, and Rachel's frail frame fell into the decidedly "not okay" category.
Ultimately, this is not about blaming or shaming Rachel. Rachel proved to be a fierce competitor throughout the season, willing to push herself to the extreme to win a challenge. Like every other contestant, she has demons from her past and a complicated and emotional relationship with food. Somehow, despite the alleged monitoring, the rules allowed her to accomplish this weight loss and become the winner of the show.
Those who were not as shocked by the reveal argue that she looked great and will likely gain the extra 15lbs needed to be healthy again soon. While I don't disagree about the possible weight gain, there is more to it than that. What of the impact the dramatic weight loss has had on her body already? What about the millions of families that watch this show that look to be inspired by a healthy lifestyle? What does this say about the rules and role of the show itself?
Viewers are using their social media platforms to call out The Biggest Loser and NBC, demanding a statement or explanation of how this happened and what they intend do about it. So far they have remained silent on the subject.
At this point, it is clear that something needs to change. I hope that Rachel is given the support and tools she needs for health and happiness along the way.
What do you think about Rachel's dramatic weight loss? Sound off in the comments!
(Image courtesy of NBC)