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Biggest loser, how do they lose 17lbs/week?

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Biggest loser, how do they lose 17lbs/week?

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Old 10-25-05, 07:11 PM
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kuan
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Anyone watch that show on NBC? It's about a bunch of people trying to lose weight. Every week one person gets eliminated. Yeah, it's a weight loss reality show.

Today one of the guys lost 17lbs. That's 51,000 calories, or almost 7,300 calories a day. Say they eat 2000 calories a day, that leaves 5,300 calories. How much riding is that, something like 10 hours or 160 miles?

That's unbelievable.
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Old 10-25-05, 07:29 PM
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17 lbs = 59,500 calories. 1 lb = 3500 calories.

That's 8500 per day, if it is true ... which I doubt for a couple reasons. Losing more than 6% of your body weight in a very short period of time (like a week) is dangerous. If you were anything less than 290 lbs to start with, you'd be well into that danger-zone. And most people don't put that much effort into losing weight.

Suppose that a person did eat enough calories per day to maintain their weight. In order to burn an additional 8500 calories per day, that person would have to cycle 17 hours per day ... or about a double century. That's doable for a few days in a row, but to keep it up day after day ... I don't know of many people who do that.

I have lost 8 lbs (which was about 6% of my body weight) in 3.5 days once, but I would not recommend it. I rode the RM1200 - 1200 kms in 88.5 hours. I was suffering some digestive difficulties during that time and could not eat solid food. I calculated that I burned about 44000 calories in those 3.5 days, but only consumed about 16,000 calories in that time. It took me two months to gain it back again.
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Old 10-25-05, 07:50 PM
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It is unbelievable if he lost 17 pounds of fat.

He probably lost 2 pounds of water, 8 pounds of muscle and 7 pounds of fat.

7*3500 = 24,500 calories

That's 3500 calorie deficit per day. Not that hard to do.
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Old 10-25-05, 07:54 PM
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Well, the total energy in a 1-lb of fat may be 3500-calories, but about 10% of it is loss in digestion and processing. So to lose 1-lb, you just have to burn off 3200 calories (BTW, 60% of carb calories are lost in the conversion to fat).

Losing 17lbs a week must have a lot of muscle and water-loss as well. I'm sure those doing that are sitting in a sauna sweating themselves close to death in the days beforehand. Burning off 5300 calories/day is not that difficult, but I can't see any way of doing that safely. Can't imagine them exercising all of that 5300 deficit off with the level of fitness those folks have. Fat-metabolism is darn slow, definitely less than 2000 calories/day, so they're losing a tonne of muscle with starvation diets maybe?

On a related note, after my 154-mile ride last Sunday, I hopped on the scale Monday morning to find that I had gone from 175lbs the last week to 162lbs! Then I hopped on after lunch and I was down to 145 lbs !!! Turned out the battery was dying in my scale...
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Old 10-25-05, 08:03 PM
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I did watch part of it. Apparently, the guy who lost 17 pounds didn't lose any weight the week before. I'm wondering if there is something to the fact that most of them are over 200 and some are over 300 pounds. Must be something to that. Perhaps a lot of it is still water weight. When you go from a take-out diet, to a healthy diet and work-out schedule, lots of water comes off during the first two months.

I avoided the show completely last year because I didn't like the idea, but this week I was curious and buckled. I did kind of like that they did a follow-up to show how the people voted off are doing. That part is inspiring . . . when you see people make life-style changes.

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Old 10-25-05, 11:59 PM
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Yeah, much more inspiring than that other show where they set targets for themselves and lose like 1-2 lbs each episode.
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Old 10-26-05, 06:36 AM
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So losing muscle doesn't require burning calories?

Last night the guy went from 400 to shooting jumpshots. Those followups are really inspiring, not only that, his wife is going running with him and getting fit as well.
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Old 10-26-05, 06:43 AM
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Agreed...those are some impressive folks.
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Old 10-26-05, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by kuan
So losing muscle doesn't require burning calories?
No, but if you're on a starvation diet with 5000 calorie deficit daily, there's no way you can be burning up just fat. Say we've got 2000 cals from stored glycogen, maybe 1500 from fat (that's a lot of work in 24-hours), and 1500 from protein/muscles. You're losing just as much weight from muscle as fat. Assuming they're eating 2000 calories in carbs to replenish those glycogen stores, that means exercising off 7000 calories a day! These people DO NOT look like they're in the kinds of shape that allows them to do this much exercise. I'm just not sure what kind of physiological processes are at work here that allows them to lose that much weight and not be in hospital.

I bet there's some trickery going on here, I bet this is a time-lapse effect where they're actually losing this weight over the course of months, not weeks and the camera-effects and editing just makes it APPEAR to be done in a matter of weeks. We have no idea that this show wasn't created over the course of the previous year. If they can come up with new contestants regularly that show this kind of progress, I might believe it. But even then, they could've had whole groups of people starting a whole year ahead of each episode on weight-loss programmes.

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Old 10-26-05, 12:21 PM
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That's possible. If there is trickery, I would rather that they were up front about it. Nothing wrong with losing those significant numbers over a longer period of time. Last night, they specifically mentioned time passing of 8 weeks. Each episode, it appears, is filmed over the course of a week.

One thing, which seems very realistic, is one man didn't show any weight loss last week. Another, who has been working out something like 5 hrs. a day, showed very little weight loss and several have only lost a few pounds now. The weight loss numbers are slowing even though they are doing everything 'right' which is very realistic. I liked that one of the trainers talked to the guy who was working out too much about the importance of increasing his calories. He didn't seem to believe it . . . which we've all been there, I think . . .needing to increase calories in order to speed up the metabolism.

I also like that they've shown people having emotions without it seeming exploitive or 'acted.' Weight loss can be very emotional no matter what background or how strong an individual is.

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Old 10-26-05, 07:45 PM
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fluid retention.
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Old 10-26-05, 08:03 PM
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Do a heavy gorge the hour before the initial weigh in and then don't eat for a couple of days plus a topping of diuretics a few hours before the next weigh in and 17 lbs is not so far fetched
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Old 10-26-05, 08:25 PM
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I had a friend years ago that was in the Army Reserve. He went to one of the training camps and was overweight (I can't remember exactly how much over he was, but I'm thinking it was like 10 pounds or so and he weighted a little over 200 pounds).

They gave him 24 hours to reweigh. So, he used diuretics, ex-lax, didn't eat, didn't drink, didn't take showers (he thought he would absorb the water), ran and walked as much as he could, etc. When he reweighed the next day, he had lost the weight.

I'm sure he was in a calorie deficit and lost some fat, but I'm betting the largest percentage was just in water weight. Oh, and he felt terrible (who wouldn't).

So, I'm guessing that 17 pounds in a week would be easy, just probably not a large percentage of fat.
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Old 10-26-05, 08:27 PM
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Suzy will be hot if she drops all that extra lbs.
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Old 10-26-05, 08:50 PM
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Aw, crap. I was just going to start a "Lose 194 pounds by New Years" thread.

Sorry, Sandy, just kidding around. Your (realistic goal) thread is one of my favorites.
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Old 10-26-05, 10:18 PM
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i would be surprise if they were compressing the time on the 'Biggest Loser' show.

the people losing large amounts of weight are the guys over 300#.
if i have been getting soft for some months and then agressively work out for a week, i can lose 10 pounds, easy.
most people are losing three to six pounds a week on that show and they appear to be working hard for the result.

i like this show but would prefer it to be broadcast weekly as it is filmed... this season is already over and was more recently edited to highlight and create stars that will make it the farthest. it really cheapens the show, IMO.
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Old 10-27-05, 06:35 AM
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Part of it is--to put it bluntly--waste. I'm 6'3"; having been a major lardass myself, I can attest that if you spend a couple days gorging and filling yourself up with fries and pizza, you will literally have a lot of food in your gut weighing you down. Then if you spend 2 days eating 2000 calories a day, you will "dump" several pounds of residual food and it's possible to actually lose 3-4 pounds in just a day or two. I weighed roughly 300lbs 5 years ago and I lost over 10lbs in the first week when I started getting my diet together, and even today as I still screw around with my weight, if I spend a week eating lousy and then shape up for 2 days I will still drop 2-3lbs. in the first day or two.

My question: Is it actually a week between weigh-ins in real life on the show? I only caught the end of the last show this week, but I've seen the celebrity show with Nick Nolte and I only ever heard them say "We'll see how you are doing at the next weigh-in"; they would never say "next week" or "next month." You can lose a LOT of weight FAST if you start at 400lbs, but yeah 17lbs/week consistently I just don't buy.
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Old 10-27-05, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by XChosen
Suzy will be hot if she drops all that extra lbs.
...and if she can manage to not cry three times every episode. She is/could be sort of hot, though for some reason, I think alot of it is due to her quirky glasses.

</off topic>

Anyway, my wife and I are addicted to this show. We generally despise reality TV, but this show seems to do so much good for so many people. Has anyone else seen all the letters and photos on the BL website of people inspired by the show who lost weight also? Pretty amazing audience reaction, considering that the most popular reality shows usually tend to focus on the worst aspects of humanity.


I think one thing we have to remember about BL is that losing weight is what these people DO. All day, every day, under a doctor and trainer's care, supplemented by nutritionalists and who-knows-how-many other physiology specalists. No jobs, no family, no distractions, just weight lose. What they are doing is relatively impossible for any normal person to do, at least to thier extent, because the resources necessary are so extreme. That aspect nonwithstanding, I think their focus on lifestyle change and dealing with realistic triggers is great, and that all the contestant's hard work is tremendously inspiring. I know of several family members who could really benefit from that type of experience, though I'm not sure I could, or should, ever bring it up to them. I guess like many things, a person in that situation has to truly want to change before it will happen.
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Old 10-27-05, 06:54 AM
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Mark lost 85lbs in 7 weeks, that's 12lbs a week. All that can't be due to taking huge dumps and not drinking water can it? Plus they have a doctors/nutritionists/trainers to make sure they're not dropping dead. Even 12/wk means 5800 Kcal a day and that's like riding 100+ miles a day, every day for 7 days? Freakin' amazing for a big fella.
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Old 10-27-05, 07:01 AM
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I watched the show until the weigh-ins on Tuesday--didn't see who was eliminated. Know it was one of the 2 man team.

The guy who lost 17 lbs didn't lose any the week before. I heard the host mention that they've been at the ranch 55 days (as of the weigh-in). In that time Matt--the guy who lost 17 this week--has lost well over 70 lbs. The week he lost nothing he was gorging at night--cameras caught him and he 'fessed up after the weigh-in. So he probably did have major fluid retention based on all the sausage and bacon they showed him shoveling in while the others slept. All these folks do is exercise. One of the guys--Seth I think--mentioned that he works out 8 hours plus a day. I know they work with a trainer a minimum of 3-4 hours a day. This is their life--think of it as their job--the whole time you are doing whatever you do to make a living, they are exercising. It's not real life--but it is the life they are living now. There has to be some sort of medical supervision on the premises, because we all know that this isn't the way to do it in the real world. The girls are losing at a much slower pace and I don't notice their skin just hanging on them the way it is starting to on the men. The men started at much higher weights--I think most of them were well over 300. On average I think the men as a whole were losing 2-3% a week. The women were losing close to that, but the actual lbs were less because their overall weight was less to start with.

Most of the women lose around 2-6 lbs a week now that they've been there almost 2 months. The guys lose between 6 and 10 lbs between weigh-ins. I don't think these numbers are unreasonable or blown out of proportion based on how much time they spend working out. They've been there around 55 days--started with 14 or 16 people (think 16). This week there were 10 to start the week. So, if the 55 days is true--they're having a weigh-in every 7-10 days. A lot of these folks are married and have kids--can't have contact with them. Huge sacrifice to make this change in their lives.

Seems to stick based on the bios of those from last season. Only one I've seen not get noticeably thinner is one of the guys who was eliminated early this season. He didn't like being there. Didn't like the trainer. Didn't like working as a team. When they did the recap on weight loss since he was send home--he wouldn't give them a weight. Just said that he's working out and eating right--hmmmm.
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Old 10-27-05, 07:59 AM
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That's true that they are doing this full time. I think that's the difference between this show and the Nick Nolte show and other shows. With this show, it's more like they've checked in to a Pritikin Longevity Center or Duke. I'm glad they are being supervised. It would be helpful to know exactly what each of them is doing to lose weight, but it might also be an invasion of privacy. I agree that anything that inspires people to take healthy steps is a good thing.
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Old 10-27-05, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by jennyraye
The week he lost nothing he was gorging at night--cameras caught him and he 'fessed up after the weigh-in. So he probably did have major fluid retention based on all the sausage and bacon they showed him shoveling in while the others slept.
How much water retention can a little salt cause? Is it because water binds to salt or is it because your body wants water because it's too salty? I've noticed I've had to drink a lot after eating bad Chinese food full of MSG and salt, I just wonder how much salt affects your water retention. I'm gonna try it one day and see.
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Old 10-27-05, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by kuan
Mark lost 85lbs in 7 weeks, that's 12lbs a week. All that can't be due to taking huge dumps and not drinking water can it? Plus they have a doctors/nutritionists/trainers to make sure they're not dropping dead. Even 12/wk means 5800 Kcal a day and that's like riding 100+ miles a day, every day for 7 days? Freakin' amazing for a big fella.
Remember that how many calories you burn for an hour of exercise is greatly influenced by how much you weigh. A 155 lb biker burns SIGNIFICANTLY less calories per hour while biking/running/walking than a 400 lb. person. Try walking carrying a 200lb. backpack for a mile and see for yourself!
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Old 10-27-05, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by kuan
Mark lost 85lbs in 7 weeks, that's 12lbs a week. All that can't be due to taking huge dumps and not drinking water can it? Plus they have a doctors/nutritionists/trainers to make sure they're not dropping dead. Even 12/wk means 5800 Kcal a day and that's like riding 100+ miles a day, every day for 7 days? Freakin' amazing for a big fella.
No, you're right. You can't lose weight forever by taking big dumps. =)

The thing to remember is that in order to maintain something like 400lbs of weight, you have to eat a LOT of food (and I'm shying away from the physical weight of the food and talking about the energy content now). I wouldn't be surprised if these people were eating over 5000 calories a day on average; yes, I'm guessing here, but knowing what I ate when I weight 300lbs, this is my suspicion. Now suppose they are being knocked back to a 2000 calorie diet and simply walking around a little bit more; that will be a great enough energy deficit to drop a pound a day by itself. Then consider how much energy it takes for a 400lb guy who hasn't exercised more than 3 hours in the past year to walk a mile. I believe they say an average-weight male burns about 100 calories by walking a mile. For a 400lb sedentary male, I would think it's more like 200-250. If they are doing the equivalent of walking 10-15 miles/day (and given the time they spend with trainers and such, I bet they are), that can account for another 5 pounds per week. Plus they may be losing muscle and/or lowering the amount of retained fluids.

So, yeah, it's a big loss. But I think it's within the realm of believability.
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Old 10-27-05, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by SandySwimmer
It would be helpful to know exactly what each of them is doing to lose weight, but it might also be an invasion of privacy. I agree that anything that inspires people to take healthy steps is a good thing.
I think you can find that out at the NBC site for the show--think it's an NBC show. Also, both trainers have books out that show the philosophy that they bring to the show and training of their clients. I have Jillian's on hold from the library.

Originally Posted by Kuan
How much water retention can a little salt cause? Is it because water binds to salt or is it because your body wants water because it's too salty? I've noticed I've had to drink a lot after eating bad Chinese food full of MSG and salt, I just wonder how much salt affects your water retention. I'm gonna try it one day and see.
I can easily see a 2-3 lb weight spike the morning after eating Chinese or processed food. I didn't eat enough to gain that much overnight and it was gone the next day after upping my water intake. I'm not saying that all 17 lbs he lost was water--but I can almost guarantee that he was retaining fluid when he was weighed the week he lost nothing. If I've been eating really well--following my plan to a T and then mess up--I notice my body holds on to the fluid more than if I eat junk all the time.
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