Barry Sears, The Zone “The Biggest Loser”

13 Jan

I was fascinated to read Barry Sears online review of the dietary strategies used by the biggest loser and some of the real secrets of their success.

1) Screening: the luxury of a tv programme is that you dont have to take all comers: poor knees, bad heart, bit of diabetes, theres probably no chance that you will be on the biggest loser

2) Choosing the motivated. One of the make or break skills (is that the right word?)  is motivation. Apparently the 1st show in 2005 had 225,000 applications. You should be able to find  10 or so ” specially motivated” people.

3) You get Paid………

4) an isolated environment away from white bread and sweets…

5) you get a camera put on you ( the effect can be magical)

6) you  basically get a Zone diet:  “According to the speaker, the real secret is that they are fed a Zonelike Diet with 45 percent of the calories coming carbohydrates (primarily non-starchy vegetables and fruits) with a very limited amount of whole grains, 30 percent of the calories from low-fat protein, and 25 percent from good fats, such as olive oil or nuts. The typical calorie intake for the females is 1,200 to 1,600 and for the males about 1,800-2,400. The typical 300-pound contestant will consume about 1,750 calories per day. Finally, you spread the balanced calories over three meals and two snacks during the day.”

5 thoughts on “Barry Sears, The Zone “The Biggest Loser”

  1. They actually accept a lot of contestants with bad knees, diabetes and terrible health – I’ve seen a lot of seasons where certain contestants can only swim, or use a hand pedal bike and still manage to lose weight (though eating plays a huge role here). Their selection tends to always focus on those who make ‘good tv’ as opposed to those who will easily be transformed into athletes. So they tend to choose people who have had tragic experiences, are eloquent and love to cry on camera and if they then put them in dangerous health situations, ah well. One season 3 people landed in the hospital after the opening challenge – this is the land of US health and safety waivers remember!

    Anyways, I also know they allow them one ‘gorge-day’ – not a treat day, but a day where you are allowed to exceed your calorie regimen but only with healthy foods, keeping your metabolism guessing and preventing homeostasis. Its interesting!! In case you haven’t guessed I’m obsessed with that show 🙂

  2. They get paid for it? Seriously? That’s outrageous. The tv company would be better off donating that money to charity than making minor celebrities of people who are frankly no example to anyone.

  3. Obviously nothing to do with the fact that their calorie intake was lower than their BMR….

  4. The wife and I are bizarrely obsessed with this show – I do think at times that there’s an element of the roman circus. Something slightly distasteful about watching a morbidly obese person struggling to run a mile, desperate to get in a weight loss programme. Still a show trying to encourage people to eat better and do more exercise. Some of the weight losses are hard to believe – I read somewhere that some of the weekly weigh ins might be quite a bit longer than a week.

  5. @Mark – I agree completely. This show did work in getting the size 22 version of me off the sofa for the first time… but its also absolutely horrifying at times. But I love that its not about a miracle cure, surgery, or anything beyond diet and exercise.
    @Phil – they all wear ‘body bugs’ on their arms – a little device that tracks your movements and heart rate and estimates your total calorie burn for the day given your pre-entered data. Contestants monitor this and balance it with their calorie intake with a daily ‘burn’ goal set with their trainer. Many are looking to have at least a 1500-2000 calorie deficit per day (which is possible when you’re that gigantic)
    Its a fascinating show!!!

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