Biggest Loser Syndrome

biggest loser syndromeWhat in the world is Biggest Loser Syndrome?  I know, sounds weird, right?  It will make sense, I promise.  This is something I’ve noticed pretty frequently as I’ve talked with people about getting in shape and with the new season of The Biggest Loser starting on Sunday, I figured it was the perfect time to bring this up.

Now don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy The Biggest Loser.  I think it’s pretty much the only reality show where real change is happening.  It’s not like the Bachelor where the majority of couples break up after the show (what a waste of time!).  People are really transformed not only physically but often mentally it seems.  It’s giving people years of their life back and confidence that they’ve never known.  So from that standpoint I do really enjoy the show and love what it can do for the people on it.  But it does have a downside, which I refer to as the Biggest Loser Syndrome.

I think the Biggest Loser Syndrome shows up mainly in two ways: People having unrealistic expectations about weight loss and also a feeling that they can’t do things if they don’t make it to the ranch.

Biggest Loser Syndrome – Unrealistic Expectations

This is probably the most common thing I see.  During the show, you see people drop massive amounts of weight.  Often in the first week people lose 20+ lbs!  Then week after week they lose 10+ lbs and keep that up.  That’s great that they can lose weight so quickly, but to me it seems like people expect that to be normal.  I’ve seen way too many people get discouraged and quit a program after a week because they haven’t seen a ton of weight loss.  Or they go into a program expecting to see huge changes in the first week.

You have to remember that on the ranch, they’re only focusing on losing weight.  They get their butts kicked by the trainers and then are doing more cardio behind the scenes that you don’t see.  What you have to know is that this is not normal.  It is incredibly unrealistic to think that you should see those types of results yourself, especially if you do not have roughly 50% of your body weight to lose to get in a healthy range.  When you have that much excess weight, you can lose bigger amounts quickly, but most people are not at the stage.

So what I see the Biggest Loser Syndrome often doing is making people set unrealistic expectations.  Healthy weight loss is 1-2 lbs a week roughly depending on your starting point.  Shoot for that, which still leads to huge changes when you think about it.

Not On The Ranch – Biggest Loser Syndrome

The other thing I see from time to time coming from the Biggest Loser Syndrome is that people think they can’t accomplish anything if they don’t get on the ranch.  I follow some of the former contestants on Facebook and often see people make these types of comments when they post about auditions.  People desperately want to get on the ranch, which makes sense, but they feel it’s the only way they can lose weight.  It’s not.

The last thing I want people to do is put all their hope in getting on a reality show so they can lose weight.  Instead, you need to find your motivation from within and use the tools you have to get on track.  I’ve seen people use Beachbody programs like P90X to lose 100-200 lbs.  If you’re looking for support, I will coach you for free.

Biggest Loser Syndrome – Find Your Motivation

I don’t want it to seem like I’m all negative on The Biggest Loser, because I’m not. I just don’t want you to fall in the trap of setting unrealistic expectations about your results or think that you can only be successful if you make it on the show.  I don’t want you to catch the Biggest Loser Syndrome.

It inspires me, which is why I like to watch it when I have time. So what I would rather see is you getting motivated by the show.  See that change is possible and hopefully let it inspire you to get in shape and focus on your health.



  1. […] it’s easy to think that losing 10 lbs a week is totally normal.  I call this the “Biggest Loser Syndrome“.  But what most people don’t fully realize is how drastic they are on that show. […]

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Youtube