These days, if someone calls you the biggest loser you should consider yourself the biggest winner. The Biggest Loser has been deemed the most popular weight loss TV program in existence. With so much drama between the contestants, and trainers Jillian Micheals and Bob Harper screaming in the contestant’s faces it’s no wonder as to why. However, what is behind the jaw dropping weight loss success of this reality soap opera? The answer is a low calorie diet with lots of exercise. I know this is a very generic answer, but please bear with me as we take a closer look at The Biggest Loser diet.
Nuts and Bolts
The Biggest Loser diet is based on what they call The Biggest Loser pyramid of 4-3-2-1 (4 servings of fruits and veggies, 3 servings of lean protein, 2 servings of whole grain, and 1extra per day). Diet participants eat several smaller meals per day to keep their metabolisms active and stave off hunger. The average daily caloric intake is between 1200 and 1800 calories. Another key focus of the diet is staying away from what The Biggest Loser calls appetite stimulating foods like white bread, pastas, and potatoes.
The Biggest Loser focuses a lot of attention on exercising. A newbie just starting out on The Biggest Loser diet can initially expect to exercise 30 min per session and then increase to 1hr as they become more physical fit. Intensity levels also increase as physical fitness improves. A combination of both strength training and cardio is used to rev up the dieter’s metabolism trying to turn it into a lean mean fat burning machine.
The Biggest Loser diet is fundamentally sound. A tried and true philosophy of using more calories than you take in, having a good balanced diet of healthy macro nutrients (carbs, protein, fats), and staying away from processed foods. In an ideal world this diet works very well. However, we live in a world far that is from ideal. This diet doesn’t account for stress from our jobs and families, and if you’re not able to exercise then one of the major components for success on The Biggest Loser Diet is removed.
Exercise is the major focal point of the Biggest Loser. The TV show focuses more on sprinting on a treadmill for an hour and then throwing up a few weights than it does on what the contestants are putting in their mouths. Of course drama laced competition brings in higher ratings than telling people what they should and shouldn’t eat. In essence what they are doing is trying to bail the water out of a sinking boat without first plugging the leak.
For success with any diet remember the 80/20 rule. What you eat accounts for 80% of dieting success and the remaining 20% is broken down into 15% for exercise and 5% for heredity and environmental factors. This isn’t to say exercising isn’t important. On the contrary exercise helps speed up the weight loss process, and helps put us in the frame of mind of watching what we eat. When was the last time you exercised really hard and then went right out to grab some McDonalds? Just make sure the focus is on what is going to give you the biggest bang for your buck, the diet.