The Biggest Loser Reboot: A Former Contestant Speaks Out

I have loved reality TV since the early days of  COPS and MTV's The Real World. I easily got sucked into season after season of The Biggest Loser, and I must confess, I was kind of surprised when I noticed that the show, after running for 17 seasons slowly disappeared from the television lineup. While there is no shortage of reality TV out there, it was a show my husband and I enjoyed watching together. After taking a four-year break, the show is back, this time on a new network with a reboot. I had the chance to sit down with season 2's runner up Suzy Hoover recently to ask her what she thought of the new show. Let's just say, she's not hopeful.

what a former biggest loser contestant wants you to know about the reboot

What a Former Biggest Loser Contestant Wants you to Know about the new Reboot: "It's reality TV!" 

What a former biggest loser contestant wants you to know about the reboot

You can't google The Biggest Loser and not see headline after headline asking "where are they now." The underlying question is always the same, did they keep the weight off?  The goal of the show is for people to lose weight, but their history hasn't shown that the contestants are able to keep the weight off. Ultimately this is a reality show. There are casting directors and stories they want to tell and characters they want to show on TV. But there are also real people, standing on a scale being judged for their failures and successes.

The Biggest Loser is back but will it be any different than it was when it made its quiet exit? 

In a statement to the L.A. Times from a spokesperson that produces the show they said that "the goal remains the same-to provide our contestants with the tools, knowledge, and confidence to enjoy long-term success."

Hmm...was that the goal before? Because they kind of sucked at it. {Did I just say the quiet part loud?}

Suzy is skeptical that a new Biggest Loser reboot with a focus on health and wellness and overall well being will actually be focused on long-term results. "It's a competition and they need to get the results or no one is going to watch. You can't get those kinds of results being healthy. At the end of the day, you're still being rejected because you are still fat."
In May of 2016, the show slowly stepped away from the spotlight under allegations that past clients made when they claimed they were given illegal drugs, caffeine pills and generally participating in unhealthy weight loss. All of which The Biggest Loser franchise denies. 
Several past contestants have spoken out claiming that the show's unhealthy practices have led them to have eating disorders, something Suzy echoed. Suzy shared with me that after the show, it took her several years to change some of the unhealthy relationships with food that she developed on The Biggest Loser. 
On Instagram, Suzy posted an image from her Biggest Loser finale that said,

biggest loser creates eating disorders?

"#tbt to that week I was anorexic! Day before weigh in when I hadn't eaten anything real in days. Over worked and starved my body and treated everyone around me like crap all to be skinny. I keep this pic to remind myself that I never wanna be like that again. In your journey towards health, remember to live and love those around you but love yourself!"

Suzy Hoover Biggest Loser contestant

She remembers, 15 years later,  in vivid detail those final weeks before the weigh-in. "We were on our own for the final push of weight loss and I had to go back to working full time but I was swimming in the morning, going to the gym, heading to work and then going to the gym for the second time in the evening," I called Bob (my trainer) and told him I didn't think I had any more to lose. I was standing there talking to him on my yoga mat and I literally just felt like all I had there was skin. I dropped 30 more pounds after that. Bob was so proud of me at the finale for how much weight I had lost but I was sick. I was standing there cramping up and barely able to stand and walked out on stage for that final weigh-in running on adrenaline." 
Suzy met and later married her husband Matt (season 2 winner) on The Biggest Loser, and she told me she was grateful for that time in her life because, without that experience, she wouldn't have the husband, the two beautiful boys and the family she has now. 
Suzy went on to the show having only watched part of one episode. With her all-in personality, she jumped into the experience with both feet. However, as season 3 started, and her cast was no longer in the spotlight, she realized that The Biggest Loser wasn't everything she thought it was. 
Suzy had aspirations of hosting television shows. During a publicity promo, she told me she was talking to a producer of the show. She had put on 10 pounds and while the producer encouraged her to host, he did tell her that she'd have to lose the 10 pounds that she'd just put on. Suzy says "I realized then that I was just a number. I was a job for them." 

speaking out about the biggest loser reboot
The Hoover family photo courtesy of Suzy Hoover
You can package up a new show with buzz words like health and wellness, but regardless of what words you use, the contestants are still eliminated from the reality show for not losing the most weight in a certain amount of time. We can't argue that the show creates some undeniable results, but at what cost?

I recently heard former season 16 contestant Rob speak out and say that "the show makes the biggest difference to the people who watch (the show). The number of people who have been on the show, may not have been successful, but that's such a small amount of people." 

Bob Harper started out on The Biggest Loser as a trainer and now he's back as the host. He's said about the new reboot "You are going to be so inspired by the contestants". 

Basically, on The Biggest Loser, you're watching people be openly vulnerable with their personal stories in an effort to inspire the rest of us. This season's reboot does that in therapy-like circles as they exploit emotional trauma all in an effort to "inspire."

Suzy fears that the show "has to keep going to the extreme at the risk of the contestants." And even if you are inspired as a viewer, is it worth it? 

While the show throws around terms like "getting healthy", isn't the only way that will be portrayed on the show as getting skinny? You're still voted off for losing the least amount of weight at the end of the week. The show says it's been rebooted, but the message is still the same. So I'm with Suzy on this. I'm not real hopeful that anything has changed.

disclaimer: this post may have affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing through them, I may receive a small commission. These small purchases help me to continue to keep writing content and creating at Rachel Teodoro. Thank you!

1 comment

Sandy Clifton said...

I can't help but bring up former contestants and winners - sisters Olivia and Hannah. I still follow them on Facebook. They are very active, look healthy, and seem to still wholeheartedly support the show. Olivia just had a baby. Perhaps they took a more positive approach and made healthier decisions than others did?

I saw that Suzy's husband has gastric sleeve surgery recently. He's looking good.

Did any of the contestants who developed an unhealthy relationship with food seek counseling?

I would be interested in hearing from more contestants, and the steps they did or did not take in continuing their journey. Were there any that did not become unhealthy so they could win?

I have watched every season of the show, and do have a lot of questions.

Powered by Blogger.