The Biggest Loser Isn't Realistic

Real weight loss happens slowly, or you'll regain the weight

By Jeanie Lerche Davis
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD

The Biggest Loser is the newest TV survivor show. For nine weeks, a dozen people are vying for the biggest weight loss -- huffing, puffing, starving, sweating, swearing. And yes, they're losing weight.

The two teams' strategies: The low-key Blue Team has group therapy, eats six small meals daily, and exercises some. Just the opposite for the Red Team: They're exercising round-the-clock, sleeping little, eating little -- prodded by their drill-sergeant style trainer.

Glass-fronted "temptation refrigerators," stocked with pizza, beer, cakes, pies, are dangerously close by. Can these 12 people resist their biggest temptations for $250,000? Yes, they can.

First week, the Red Team won, losing 74 pounds total -- with one guy losing 20 pounds. Dana was voted off the Blue Team; her loss was only five pounds. (However, at 167 pounds, Dana started out less overweight than most contestants. Dana lost another 15 pounds later.)

It's reality TV. But realistic? Are aggressive weight loss tactics a good or bad thing?

Weight Loss Experts Weigh In

"I don't believe in such a thing as jump-starting a weight loss plan, not even for motivational reasons," says Jody Wilkinson, MD, director of the Cooper Institute Center for Weight Management.