With regards to TV’s “The Biggest Loser” show:
The show’s 24-week regimen consists of approximately 4 hours of daily exercise, including 1 hour of intense resistance, 1 hour of intense aerobic activity, and 2 hours of moderate aerobic activity (for example, walking), along with a caloric intake of at least 70% of estimated resting daily energy expenditure, explained Dr. [Robert] Huizenga, who is a former team physician to the L.A. Raiders football team.
If you’re not familiar with resistance training, a personal trainer is an great idea
This is an excerpt from “The Biggest Loser Pushes Envelope on Diabetes,” in Internal Medicine News, vol. 45, No.11, page 17.
In a previous post about The Biggest Loser, I’d written that I didn’t know how much they exercised.
For purposes of discussion, let’s assume the documented major weight losses of Biggest Loser contestants is not simply due to caloric restriction.
Dr. Huizenga shared some of his experience at the recent annual meeting of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. In a study of 35 Biggest Loser participants, about half had prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Hemoglobin A1c, a measure of blood sugar control, fell significantly in this subset. Three of the six with diabetes were able to stop metformin early on. By week 29 of the study, average body mass index for the entire group had fallen from 46 to 29.
Yes, exercise helps with weight loss. But most folks aren’t willing or able to exercise vigorously for four hours a day. Physical activity is more important for maintenance of weight loss, when it demands much less time.
Steve Parker, M.D.
Dr. Barry Sears (Ph.D., I think) recently wrote about a lecture he attended by a dietitian affiliated with “The Biggest Loser” TV show. She revealed the keys to weight-loss success on the show. Calorie restriction is a major feature, with the typical 300-pounder (136 kg) eating 1,750 calories a day. On my Advanced Mediterranean Diet, 300-pounders get 2,300 calories (men) or 1,900 calories (women).
Although not stressed by Dr. Sears, my impression is that contestants exercise a huge amount.
Go to the link above and you’ll learn that all contestants are paid to participate. In researching my Conquer Diabetes and Prediabetes book, I learned that the actual Biggest Loser wins $250,000 (USD). Also, “The Biggest Loser” is an international phenomenon with multiple countries hosting their own versions, with different pay-off amounts. A former winner, Ali Vincent, lives in my part of the world and still has some celebrity status.
This TV show demonstrates that the calories in/calories out theory of body weight still applies. Including the fact that massive exercise can help significantly with weight loss. In real-world situations, exercise probably contributes only a small degree to loss of excess weight. The major take-home point of the show, for me, is that you can indeed make food and physical activity choices that determine your weight.
- Most of us watch too much
I know losing 50 to 10o pounds of fat (25–45 kg) and keeping it off for a couple years is hard; most folks can’t do it. Do you think you’d be more successful if I gave you $250,ooo for your success?
Steve Parker, M.D.