Thursday, May 05, 2016

Solutions for the Biggest Loser Winners....

Today's Post:  Thursday, 5-5-2016

As many of you have seen on the recent news, the winners of the TV show, The Biggest Loser, for 10 years ago were studied.

Of the 14, four of them gained back all or more than all of the weight they lost.

Nine of the 14 gained weight but are still below where they started.

The woman who lost the least during the contest, was the only one to keep losing more!

Summary of this post:

The research shows that in their rush to lose the most weight and fat, the contestants did everything to ensure their failsafe famine response would go on to its maximum setting.

And, the resulting drop in their metabolisms and in their stop eating hormone, leptin, caused 13 of the 14 to regain at least part of the weight.

After the report of the research findings showing that, we cover the things that can enable people with that much to lose to lose it WITHOUT turning on the famine response.

The research, as reported on the Huffington Post, found this:

"....the reason for weight re-gain goes deeper than willpower, according to Kevin D. Hall, lead author of the study and a scientist at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.

Hall found that former “Biggest Loser” participants had slower metabolisms than people of comparable age and body composition who never lost an extreme amount of weight. These slowed metabolisms persisted even years after appearing in the competition, according to the study, published Monday in the journal Obesity."

The researchers also found a key factor related to the “satiety hormone” leptin, which lets your body know when you’ve eaten enough. In line with past research that shows people who lose weight suffer a decline in leptin, the leptin levels of “Biggest Loser” contestants plummeted after the show and never fully returned to their pre-weight loss numbers."

The New York Times article had this:

“The contestants started out with normal levels of leptin. By the season’s finale, they had almost no leptin at all, which would have made them ravenous all the time. As their weight returned, their leptin levels drifted up again, but only to about half of what they had been when the season began, the researchers found, thus helping to explain their urges to eat.”

The study participants were part of season eight of “The Biggest Loser,” which has run for 17 seasons.

When researchers checked in with the former contestants six years after their competition, all but one had regained at least some of the weight they had lost during the 30-week TV competition, and five of them were within one percent or above the weight they had originally started with before the show.

On average, the participants had re-gained an average 90 pounds — about 70 percent of the weight they had lost.

4 of the 14 contestants weigh the same or more.

The one who lost the least in the contest has lost about that much more since! She also had the least slowing of her metabolism (She went from 263 pounds to just under 176 on the show, and now weighs between 152 and 157.  But she now has cravings she has to use extreme care not to give in to.

It's also important to know that the weight loss was from low fat, low calorie dieting; and the exercise for most people was sustained cardio.

(That was revealed on Facebook yesterday.)

They also apparently did NOT stop eating grains or make any effort to eat organic produce or protein from naturally fed animals.

They did not eat a moderate amount of health OK oils and fats and foods containing them.

They did not do effective strength training.

They did not eat a high protein diet.

And, since it was a contest it lasted less than a year so to win or try to:

They did not take regular breaks where they ate a bit more carbs and calories; but instead cut calories every day of every week.

Since the contest was for just 9 months, to try to win, virtually none of them took periodic breaks but cut back a LOT on calories AND did it every week!

They also began by burning 8 to 10,000 calories a day, mostly of sustained cardio.

The solutions are to do things that remove fat but do NOT turn on the failsafe famine response or turn it up MUCH less.

1.  If you eat a high protein diet of  health OK proteins at least as many grams a day as the lean bodyweight you have to a gram a day for each pound of your goal weight AND do effective strength training that includes your larger muscles in your legs and lower back, you get three great benefits:

All the weight you lose is fat. 

The caloric afterburn from your strength training and the metabolically active muscle you gain help minimize how much your metabolism goes down and can even raise it.

Best of all, the drop in metabolism and perceived energy and low mood studies show in people who get a high protein low calorie diet are MUCH less than they otherwise would be.  If you get that much protein, in other words, your body cuts you some slack on getting fewer calories.

Also, unlike doing steady state cardio exercise several hours a day every day each week, two to five hours a week of effective strength training is something you can do without having the ability or the need to quit your job!

2.  The other way to minimize the failsafe famine response is to stop eating as if you are in one!

You still maintain your caloric intake at the lower level that will sustain your goal weight or a bit less but program in days where you get extra health OK carbs and more calories AND days where you get almost no extra carbs and a lower calorie intake.

(For how I personally do this both by day of the week and using a 4 week cycle too, see last Thursday’s post:  Thursday, 4-28-2016.)

Just like eating abundant protein, if you eat 40% less than you will use on some weeks or some days, but always eat more calories and health OK carbs sometimes, again your body’s famine response tends to cut you some slack.

“I’m getting days that are short on calories and carbs; but the pattern is that better days are showing up often enough that it can’t be a famine.”

You also feel better and instead of the mental grind of eating less than you are hungry for every day for months at a time, on this kind of variable plan, on the days you cut most, you will have a day where you get to eat more just a day or so away,

I have found too that almost always having Saturday be a day where I cut back least and eat more carbs helps.

One writer who teaches that strategy found that doing so prevented the drop in leptin the contestants all had!

3. Yet another thing the contestants did wrong is they used a low fat diet that included wheat and other grain foods.

a) Like protein, studies show that people who eat health OK fats and oils in moderation are healthier AND trigger their famine response less than people who cut back the same number of calories but eat hardly any fat or oils.

In fact, studies show that people who do this decrease their metabolisms less and tend to be less fat and keep off the fat they lose!

For example, people who eat raw tree nuts daily of half an ounce to an ounce serving, eat more calories but weigh less and are less fat than people who don’t!

And, people who eat foods like nuts and extra virgin olive oil and omega 3 oils from wild caught fish or supplements are dramatically healthier and more protected from heart disease than people who do not.

Plus nuts and wild caught fish are foods that are high in protein too!

b)  Even though the contestants DID stop eating and drinking most of the worst fattening foods and drinks, they still ate some wheat or other grain foods more than once a week.

Because this is both harmful and fattening, the contestants had to cut back calories more to maintain their weight loss.

The vegetables and fruit and protein foods you can eat instead are more filling and as they are less dense calorically you can eat MORE of them.

So this too avoids turning on the famine response or turning it on as much.


The contestants did almost everything in excess or in ways that also helped turn on their famine response.

If you do the things that remove fat but do not do it in ways that turn on the famine response AND if you do them as permanent lifestyle upgrades, you can lose well over a 100 pounds of fat AND keep it off and avoid those problems.

Yes – it IS true that if you have that much to lose and follow this protocol, the health OK protein foods and health OK fats and oils and the breaks with extra health OK carbs like sweet potatoes and organic raisins -- all have you eat more than cutting calories severely every day and mean that you may take 7 years to lose the fat these people lost in 9 months.

But you won’t gain it back!  And you won’t be extra hungry all the time as they were and are.  

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