“They would say things to contestants like, ‘You’re going die before your children grow up,’ ‘You’re going to die, just like your mother,’ ‘We’ve picked out your fat-person coffin,’ — that was in a text message.
Kai Hibbard, third season contestant on NBC’s The Biggest Loser has gone public in a New York Post exclusive with a behind-the-scenes look at the show—and the picture she paints is pretty grotesque.
Among other brutal allegations, Hibbard claims the weigh-ins are faked, the contestants are encouraged to take dangerous steps to lose weight quickly, and the trainers are a terrifying bunch of sadists who actively discourage the contestants from doing basic things like drinking eloctrolyte infused water to re-hydrate after intense five to eight-hour workouts. The piece also reports that contestants have to sign contracts that give “away rights to their own story lines and [forbid] them to speak badly about the show.”
To be fair maybe the health and wellness of the contestants is the utmost concern, because if someone finally dies it will hurt profits. 😂
— Kai Hibbard (@KaiHibbard) January 22, 2015
It’s also apparently a fat-shaming nightmare, a phenomenon which, if true, seems completely bizarre since the contestants have all acknowledged they have weight problems and want to change their lives.
The trainers, she says, took satisfaction in bringing their charges to physical and mental collapse. “They’d get a sick pleasure out of it,” she says. “They’d say, ‘It’s because you’re fat. Look at all the fat you have on you.’ And that was our fault, so this was our punishment.”
“My season had a lot of Franken-foods: I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray, Kraft fat-free cheese, Rockstar Energy Drinks, Jell-O.”
The article also describes the trainers prescribing an extremely unhealthy method for losing weight, one no ethical doctor would ever approve of. Here is the workout the NYP claims claims a 300-pound contestant was forced to take part in on their first day:
- Body-weight work
- Kettle bells
- Cool-down on treadmill
- Interval training
- Outside work with tires
When contestants would inevitably collapse from the shock to their systems, trainers then got personal, Hibbard says.
“They would say things to contestants like, ‘You’re going die before your children grow up.’ ‘You’re going to die, just like your mother.’ ‘We’ve picked out your fat-person coffin’ — that was in a text message. One production assistant told a contestant to take up smoking because it would cut her appetite in half.”
According to the Post feature, contestants were only allowed to eat food that was provided by the show’s sponsors—which mostly had little nutritional value, and included fewer calories than that which a healthy individual should take in per day. Also, trainers allegedly countermand doctor’s orders.
“Your grocery list is approved by your trainer,” she says. “My season had a lot of Franken-foods: I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray, Kraft fat-free cheese, Rockstar Energy Drinks, Jell-O.”
At one point, Hibbard says, production did bloodwork on all the contestants, and the show’s doctor prescribed electrolyte drinks. “And the trainer said, ‘Don’t drink that — it’ll put weight on you. You’ll lose your last chance to save your life.’ ”
Frighteningly, if electrolyte water is recommended by a doctor, dehydration has definitely set in (which shouldn’t be surprising given the lengths of the alleged workouts and type of foods the contestants supposedly ingested).
“The whole f- -king show is a fat-shaming disaster that I’m embarrassed to have participated in.”
And in case you think Hibbard is making more of it than she should be, consider that a doctor unaffiliated with the show is surprised “no one’s really been injured.”
“Safe weight loss is one to two pounds per week, and most people find that hard,” says Lynn Darby, a professor of exercise science at Bowling Green State University. “If you reduce your calories to less than 800 to 1,000 a day, your metabolism will shut down. Add five to eight hours of exercise a day — that’s like running a marathon, in poor shape, five days a week.
The Post also has an article out about why The Biggest Loser hasn’t had a reunion yet which alleges that, because the weight loss methods on the show are so unhealthy and unsustainable, contestants aren’t given realistic weight loss tools that lead to a healthy lifestyle, and gain most of their weight back.
If this is true, it seems like The Biggest Loser is more of an endurance contest than it is anything else.
Kai also alleges NBC’s Today Show refused to have her on their show to discuss her allegations because they feared they’d be sued for providing a platform for the revelations.