The winner of Season 15 of “The Biggest Loser” was revealed last night, as the show usually does, live in front of a cheering crowd. Rachel Frederickson won, going from 260 pounds to a jaw-dropping 105 pounds. See Frederickson’s finale pictures here.
But did she actually win? Because 5’4″ Rachel is now underweight, according to standard BMI calculations. It was scary and shocking. Note the stunned faces of Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels above, when they saw Rachel on her reveal. Michaels could be heard muttering “oh my God, oh my God,” under her breath. Fellow contestant Tanya Winfield on the top right looked horrified. Rachel looked gaunt.
Please understand: in no way do we blame Rachel for going too far in her pursuit to win the title of “Biggest Loser.” The contestants have complicated relationships with food that overshadow the show, and while they work through a lot of those issues on camera, they are doing more of it off camera. Rachel is also a former competitive swimmer (three-time state champion,) and obviously thrives on a challenge.
Rachel went from 260 pounds to 150 under the care of a physician at the ranch. Her final weigh-in of 45 pounds below that last night left us wondering: where was the doctor after she left, before the big reveal? Basically, who failed her once she left the ranch and was working, supposedly, on her own?
This show is great for many reasons: it shows what hard work and determination can do when a person sets their mind to it, but it also has a scary dark side, as we saw last night. We’re voyeurs on a very personal, painful journey with the contestants, and sometimes, it doesn’t go well. Sometimes, like last night, it goes even worse.
We hope Rachel, who has done an amazing job at changing her life habits, continues to work to modify those habits and finds balance. We hope the $250,000 she won as the season’s winner is put to good use, giving her some time to scale her eating and workout habits.
And we hope “The Biggest Loser” doesn’t let this happen again.
Rachel when she started her journey, and at 150 pounds, during makeover week: