By: Krystle Crossman
Recently an article was published about The Biggest Loser contestant Ali Vincent, who had gained back almost all of the weight that she had lost on the show. After seeing her and many other contestants regaining a good portion of their weight back, nutritionists and researchers decided to take a closer look at the contestants post-show to see what was going on. Danny Cahill dropped from 430 pounds to 191 pounds by the end of the show. Unfortunately a year later he had gained back 100 pounds. Contestant Sean Algaier dropped an incredible 155 pounds on the show, going from 444 pounds to 289, however after the show wrapped he put the weight back on and then some. Algaier now weighs 450 pounds. Why are these contestants gaining back so much of the weight that they worked so hard to lose? Is it because they are not keeping up with the diet and exercise that they were shown how to utilize? Maybe, but the researchers found a very startling trend that may indicate a much larger factor coming into play.
After seeing so many people gain the weight that they had lost back, doctors and researchers were intrigued and started a study that was published in the journal Obesity. They found that the former contestants all had something in common. When they lost the weight their metabolism slowed way down, as it does when you lose a significant amount of weight, but then it never got into a regular pattern consistent with their new weight. Your metabolism will balance itself out according to your body weight. You will have a basal metabolic rate that burns a certain amount of calories while you are resting. All of the contestants on the show were found to have normal resting BMRs for their weight before they dropped the pounds. After they lost the weight their BMRs were extremely low, but this is normal when losing a large amount of weight. However, after you hit the plateau with your weight, your BMR is supposed to get to a rate that is consistent with your body. This may not be the case as researchers have found.
Doctor Holly Lofton, MD, states that there are many different factors that go into maintaining weight loss, but your metabolism and hormones are some of the biggest ones. Your hormones are supposed to regulate your insulin levels so that you do not gain the weight back. Your metabolism is supposed to acclimate itself with your new body and adjust for the new caloric intake. While this does not mean that everyone who loses weight will not be able to keep it off, it is a good reminder that there are things you will need to be aware of to ensure that you do not gain the weight back. When your BMR drops there are less calories that are burned through the day which means you will either need to eat less or work out more. When your hormone levels spike and dip it causes cravings which can also hinder any weight loss or maintenance efforts.