Almost every season, The Biggest Loser
is bombarded with criticism surrounding its formula to lose weight fast on TV, especially considering the show keeps on adding heavier players with each season. Not surprisingly, another controversy has surfaced this year, though instead of coming from skeptic viewers and health professionals, it comes from Kai Hibbard, a former contestant.
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Hibbard, a contestant who went from 262 pounds to 144 pounds during The Biggest Loser
's third season, argues that the show encourages players to participate in dangerous weight-loss tactics and that the show's low-calorie diet formula has resulted to her serious eating disorder. During her recent guest appearance on CBS' The Early Show
, she also claims that The Biggest Loser
is hurting its contestants and promoting an unhealthy body image.
"It gave me a really fun eating disorder that I battle every day, and it also messed up my mental body image because the lighter I got during that TV show, the more I hated my body, Hibbard said during the interview. "And I tell you what, at 144 and at 262 and at 280, I had never hated my body before that show. I do still struggle [with an eating disorder]. I do. My husband says I'm still afraid of food. . . . I'm still pretty messed up from the show. It doesn't help that when I go in public . . . the first thing they usually ask me is 'what do you weigh now?'... I have people that come up to me and talk to me and ask me why they can't lose 12 pounds in a week when I did. It didn't happen. It's TV...a week is not a week in TV."
While Hibbard claims that at least six former contestants from The Biggest Loser
have since approached her to share their own unhealthy experiences after joining the show, NBC has issued a statement to Entertainment Weekly
in hopes of pacifying the controversy.
According to the network's statement, "Contestants on The Biggest Loser
are closely monitored and medically supervised. The consistent health transformations of over 200 contestants through nine seasons of the program speak for themselves." (Image courtesy of NBC)