Biggest Loser Piles Pounds Back On

Biggest Loser contestant Ryan Benson, winner of the hit NBC reality show’s first season, has regained nearly all of the 122 pounds he lost on the show.  He shares the extreme measures that helped him capture the $250,000 prize.

A reality show about losing weight may be more about ratings numbers than the numbers on the scale, says one former winner of The Biggest Loser.

A recent story in Time magazine revealed that Ryan Benson, winner of hit NBC realty show The Biggest Loser’s first season, has regained nearly all the weight he lost on the show.

Five years ago, Benson lost 122 pounds while competing in the reality series and won the $250,000 grand prize. But, he is now nearly back up to his original size of 330 pounds, and he was not included in the Biggest Loser reunion show that aired this past November.

Benson admitted to fasting and dehydrating himself in order to reach his goal while on the show, and other Biggest Loser contestants also have admitted going to extreme measures to lose anywhere from 2 to 10 pounds a week at the big televised weigh-in.

Of course, on television as in real life, rapid weight loss through overly restrictive dieting is temporary at best and highly unhealthy at worst. And people who are able to lose up to 15 pounds a week are also putting themselves at risk for some real damage.

Experts say healthy, sustainable weight loss should amount to no more than 1-2 pounds per week, otherwise you may risk serious health problems on top of gaining the weight back when you return to your normal eating habits.

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10 Responses

  1. Danny Cahill

    I never fasted and dehydrated. The show is not completely about that. The weight-loss is NOT necessarily temporary, look at Ali Vincent and others that have kept the weight off! You do have to change your eating habits, as well as phycological make-up or you will gain the weight back, NO MATTER THE SPEED OF TAKING IT OFF. 1-2 pounds is best, but exercise accelorates weight-loss, and it is not unhealthy to exercise. I just hope I will keep it off now. I’m sure I will struggle sometimes, but I plan to do what it takes to keep it off!

  2. Erin Marvell

    Thanks Danny, and great job- You look amazing!! I agree with you 100 % I have no idea what happens behind the scenes, but you all have worked very hard to lose the weight and get the results that you’ve produced. Yes, people NOT in reality tv arent exercising as much as people on the show – but everyone can do it. It takes determination and perserverance to keep it off… likely more than it took to lose it. Life get’s in the way, so, you have to adapt. For those lucky enough to get on the show, take what you learned and use it to help others and yourself. That show is giving you some wonderful tools, and hopefully ones that will last a lifetime.. to the rest of us, stay strong, set goals – keep motivated and prove to ourselves that we too can be biggest losers.

  3. Ryan Battles

    First of all, Danny, you are an inspiration to us all. You’re positive attitude has been so apparent during the show, and you prove that it can be done. Secondly, I think that what tends to burn people out and isn’t healthy is the constrictive diet. The Biggest Loser has always been about adding enough exercise to your life to burn the calories that you eat, and then some. Going to the gym on a daily basis tends to motivate instead of burn-out. The exception to this is when people don’t take appropriate rest between strength workouts.

  4. Devon Noll

    Danny, congratulations on what you have accomplished. As for those who have regained the weight, I find myself wondering just how much effort they put in to actually keeping it off. This program, the Biggest Loser Program, not the show, is not about just exercising or dieting, it is about changing your relationship with food, your family, exercise, and yourself on the inside, as well as on the outside. Too many of those who go on the show say that they are doing it for their families, but the ones who have been truly successful have always contended that they were doing it for themselves – either to live longer or to just have a better quality of life for themselves. Some people may say this is selfish, but the truth is that if you do not have that mind set you cannot lose weight or keep it off. You cannot do it for others, you must do it for yourself. At 57, I am finally telling my family, take care of yourselves for the next year – this is my year for myself and I am going to lose the 100 pounds I need to lose NOW! I started on December 31st, and at the weigh-in on January 7, I had lost 8 pounds through just exercising 1 hour 5x and eating properly. It is not rocket science to do this, but it does take someone who is more interested in themselves than in the money!

  5. Heather

    I’m actually watching the first season now, and most of the time during the season, Ryan treated the show like a joke, in one round he actually laughed during someone else’s elimination and was always making wisecracks at the expense of others. He simply didn’t have what it takes to keep the weight off, and the same goes for Erik from season 3.

  6. Lisa

    Congratulations Danny. You can do it for yourself and keep your weight off. I have been seeing this trend of biggest losers coming out and knocking the show. I think that you all have been extremely lucky to get a chance to learn how to lose weight. The hard work is keeping it off. Please remember the tools that you used to take it off. It takes a big committment to yourself. Over the last year, I have lost 44 pounds using weight watchers meetings. We talk alot about tracking what you eat along with portion control and exercise. It is very motivating and helpful.

  7. Danny Cahill

    The Biggest Loser saved my life. I will forever be indebted ot them…and to you…The fans that I want to inspire. Lord willing, I will NEVER gain the weight back and continue down my path of a better, healthier life! Thanks guys!

  8. MyDreamToo

    I couldn’t agree more with Heather. Right on target. Danny, I just thought you were awesome. I saw the pain in your eyes at the beginning when you said, “I was a rock star! I want to get back to that!” And you never seemed to want your own success at the expense of another. I think it’s your core values and big heart that will help you keep your weight off. Other folks can’t always say that. Thank you for being SUCH an inspiration, and continued blessings to you. 🙂

  9. George Fielding

    Congratulations, Danny, on an amazing effort. Congratulations to Ryan as well. It’s a bit harsh to say Ryan regained the weight because he didn’t have the right attitude. The grim truth is that only 1 in 50 people will keep 50 lbs off for a year. I come from the dark side , bariatric surgery, and I’ve had surgery myself 10 years ago, but in my career in bariatric surgery, now about 6000 cases, I’ve banded and bypassed numerous people who have been world champions of weight watchers, jenny craig etc etc, people who have lost over 200 lbs, then put it all back on over a year or two. Ryan’s not a failure- he’s the norm. Most of my patients have lost at least 100 lbs at least once. I lost 60-100lbs 6 times before I had surgery. I lost 100 lbs, and have kept it off 10 years now. The hardest thing to overcome long-term, without surgery, is the hunger. Good luck going forward, Danny.

  10. Erin

    I hate statements like this: “Experts say healthy, sustainable weight loss should amount to no more than 1-2 pounds per week, otherwise you may risk serious health problems on top of gaining the weight back when you return to your normal eating habits.” The morbidly obese do not have “normal” eating habits. ANYONE who returns to their previous eating habits after they diet will return to their previous weight – duh.