June 22, 2010 12:50 PM by Nancy Floyd
To viewers ofÂ NBC‘sÂ The Biggest Loser, the weight loss competition seems to be a reality TV show that is working hard to positively impact the lives of its competitors, but one former contestant calls the show “dangerous.” Kai Hibbard lost 118 lbs. during her time on the show in season 3, but she’s speaking out about the unhealthy dangers that the show poses to contestants and viewers. Keep reading for more details on Hibbard’s warnings…
The entire premise ofÂ NBC‘sÂ The Biggest Loser is to help overweight, unhealthy individuals turn their lives around by learning about the importance of nutrition and exercise. Season after season, contestants drop major weight and seem to have a completely new life, but one such competitor says the show is unhealthy and dangerous. Kai Hibbard lost 118 lbs during season 3, but says it happened a very unhealthy way.
“The weight loss for that show is for ratings,” Hibbard says. “People have to remember that The Biggest Loser isn’t a weight-loss camp that happens to be filmed for TV. It’s a TV show that’s made to look like a weight-loss camp. So there was pressure from production and everybody involved in the show to make sure you had as big of numbers as possible every week.Â I could tell you that before I went on the show, I never learned to dehydrate to manipulate a scale and I left knowing how to do it better than some fitness competitors I know.”
Hibbard says that the show is presenting a false idea of weight loss to viewers because timing between weigh-ins isn’t always the same.Â ”I have people that come up to me and talk to me and ask me why they can’t lose 12 pounds in a week when I did. When I didn’t. It didn’t happen. It’s TV,” Hibbard says. “I’m saying that it would be, most times, longer than a week [between weigh-ins] and I believe once, in my season, it was less than a week.”
Hibbard says her experience onÂ NBC‘sÂ The Biggest Loser also negatively impacted her self-image and self-esteem.Â Â ”I left with a very poor mental body image.Â I found myself loathing what I looked like the more weight I dropped because of the pressure on me. And I found myself doing things like considering coffee a meal. And because of the mentality that I was surrounded with, and the pressure that was given at that show, it was considered acceptable to behave that way,” she says. “I take full responsibility for everything that I’ve done. But you can’t understand it unless you understand the pressure that was there.”
Ultimately, Hibbard says that her husband, mother, and best friend staged an intervention for her after she returned from filming the show. She has since gained back 70 lbs. and she feels it’s her responsibility to warn others of the potential dangers of the show. “I participated in something that I feel is harmful to so many people, so I own responsibility to make it better,” she says. “I’m not making any money off this. I am not getting anything out of it except for the fact that maybe I’m redeeming myself a little bit for being too much of a coward at that finale.”
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