The People's Chemist

Two Reasons Biggest Losers Can’t Stay Winners

I have my own set of “fat and after” photos. And, if you’re carrying some “extra junk-in-the-trunk,” so can you, if you want. I like to look at my “fat and after” pictures frequently. To me, they reflect more than a radical physical transformation. They reflect a life change and serve as a reminder of my hostage situation.

When I was fat, I lived life on life’s terms. I ate what life served, usually meatball subs and Oatmeal Cream Pies (in moderation – I rationalized). I drank what life poured, usually liquid blubber masquerading as diet soda. And I exercised when life allowed, usually a few reps of bench press twice a week.

To me, life was like the proverbial pusher, always tempting me with its malignant, short term pleasures. And every time I gave in, I traded one of life’s simple and forgotten long-term treasures – like keeping the same belt size, chasing my kids endlessly in the park, and making love to my wife without gasping for air at the 4-minute mark.

As life’s malignancies caught up to me, I decided to live life on my terms. And my “after” photo shows how my body responded: It shed the fat that was holding me back from living young.

We know fat kills. Some people make excuses not to shed it, while others risk it all to get their own “fat and after” photos. Nothing reflects this better than the hit show, “The Biggest Loser.” Unfortunately, very few Biggest Losers remain winners.

Ryan Benson lost 122 lbs to win the first season but regained 32 lbs within five days simply by drinking water.

Contestant Kai Hibbard, 28, spent the night before her final weigh-in crawling in and out of a sauna for six hours, consuming only sugar-free Jell-O for a week and sucking down natural diuretics.

Clearly, these are signs that The Biggest Losers aren’t winners. Even the most successful biggest loser reflects this. As the historic Biggest Loser, EriK Chopin lost over 200lbs. Under all that junk was a shining, handsome man, with decades of living young added to his lifespan. But it didn’t last either. He quickly rebounded and gained back over 100lbs. Life’s malignant pleasures dealt him type II diabetes, which eliminates an estimated 11 to 20 years of life.

Today, Erik travels the country encouraging early diabetic testing. On the verge of giving pharmaceutical fellatio, his fat loss message is pushed aside for a more marketable, warm and fuzzy message of, “We all need a stronger relationship with our pharmacists.” (I had to bite my black leather wristband when I heard that.)

Do I still need to say it? No. But I want to…

The Biggest Loser has inherent flaws, at best.

At worst, it’s nothing more than a profitable way to exploit obese people by using the antiquated fat loss tricks of a weak high school wrestling team. In the long run, contestants are better off following the gluttonous antics of Adam Richman in “Man vs. Food.”

2 Reasons The Biggest Losers Can’t Stay Winners

They Don’t Count the “Right” Calories

Like drug reps who moonlight as doctors, Biggest Loser personal trainers moonlight as nutritionists. They’re often heard parroting “calories in calories out” and insist that all candidates simply count calories. It’s wrong – mostly.

When you don’t know how to pick the right calories, counting calories is as senseless as drinking wine to suck down the over-hyped resveratrol to extend longevity, or eating Oatmeal Cream Pies “in moderation.”

Not all calories are created equal. Some get stored as fat regardless of physical activity and caloric intake. These include the low fat foods pushed on “biggest losers” like “fat free Jell-O” and lots more – even fruit. The more of these low/wrong calorie foods they eat, the more their brain screams more, more, more and their brain yells eat, eat, eat. Count these calories, and your weight plummets, but comes back with a vengeance once you can no longer ignore the physiological voices (the same ones that have Oprah convinced that she has a “food addiction.”)

On the flip side of fat storing calories, another type gets used very efficiently to fuel bodily functions and are easily shed via your metabolism. This efficiency of the “right” calories stems from their “behavioral” differences in the “Kreb’s cycle.”

Bad calories barely produce enough energy to optimize “hormonal intelligence” and thus get stored as junk. As highlighted in my book, Over-The-Counter Natural Cures, the right ones blaze through this cycle and optimize hormonal intelligence, allowing excess energy to get used and burned, not stored.

Contestants need to count and eat this type of calorie if they are to lose weight for life. And believe it or not, these are the “high-calorie” foods from grass fed beef, whole eggs, butter, avocados, seeds, nuts and coconut oil.

In sum, the higher calorie content ultimately makes us feel satisfied for longer periods, and is used by the body more efficiently. If any calories are left over, they don’t get pushed in as “junk-in-the-trunk.” Instead, like excess heat from a hot spring resting near a cold mountain stream, the right calories are dissipated by the metabolism. Count these calories and you can count on being satisfied at meal time, but more importantly, you can count on remaining a Biggest Loser winner for life.

The New York Times highlighted this paradoxical phenomenon when writing about high fat diets stating, “…the diet appears to work by throwing the body into ketosis, forcing it to burn fat rather than sugar for energy.”

Biggest Losers are slaves to the exercise gods

Face it, the popularity in The Biggest Loser rests in watching obese people exercise themselves to near death. It’s like a UFC cage fight, someone could die at any moment. It’s a lot of fun to watch, but you’d never want to do it yourself.

If exercise worked, Erik “The Rebounder” Chopin would benefit every day from carrying the excess 100lbs back and forth from his diabetes tour bus into the grocery store. It’s not working.

Exercise is only one part of a fat loss plan. If you treat it as the God of fat loss, you lose. That’s because it’s most efficient at building muscle, not burning fat.

To shed the weight with exercise, you need to combine it with eating the “right calories.” And when you do, the muscles from exercise become a fat burning furnace and the junk in-the-trunk dissipates – so does the worry of losing 11 to 20 years of lifespan from diabetes.

Life is all about long term pleasures. And since most of us aren’t being shanked by The Biggest Loser’s antiquated fat loss tricks, we can all be winners – as evidenced by your very own “fat and after” photos that arise from ignoring Hollywood hype.

About the Author

My name is Shane “The People’s Chemist” Ellison. I hold a master’s degree in organic chemistry and am the author of Over-The-Counter Natural Cures Expanded Edition (SourceBooks). I’ve been quoted by USA Today, Shape, Woman’s World, US News and World Report, as well as Women’s Health and appeared on Fox and NBC as a medicine and health expert. Start protecting yourself and loved ones with my FREE report, 3 Worst Meds.


The People’s Chemist provides these articles for information only. They are not meant to provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and do not replace professional medical advice from a medical doctor. I am not a doctor and would only “play doctor” if I was with my wife. In fact, I have not even read Grey’s Anatomy.

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