Open Letter to the Producers Following The Biggest Loser Study


Here is your chance to make it up to obese folks everywhere. Don’t f*ck it up.

‘Loser Producers –

I just spent the weekend with some of the most highly-regarded professionals in the fitness industry at The Fitness Summit in Kansas City, Missouri. Wanna know what we talked about? How the concept you’ve based The Biggest Loser on is doing more harm than good.

Open Letter to the Producers Following The Biggest Loser Study

It’s SIMPLE! Just eat APPLES!

Specifically, the notion that weight loss is a simple “calories in / calories out” equation, and that the path to a “healthy” BMI is paved with stones engraved with “Eat Less” and “Exercise More.” (Yes, of course, weight loss is the result of a caloric deficit. Sadly, calories in / calories out is not enough for most folks to affect healthy, sustainable weight loss.)

It’s this obscene oversimplification that’s kept millions of us from dropping weight, not to mention dropping the co-morbid conditions – like hypertension and type II diabetes – that tend to go hand-in-hand with obesity.

Thanks to your shtick and your hunger for ratings, millions of us have labored under the illusion that if we could just put the fork down and workout in beast mode for 3 hours a day, we’d be thin, happy, and healthy.

As we “failed” and regained our weight after each new effort to drop pounds with diet and exercise, we fantasized how much easier it would be to “fix” our “fatness” if we could only workout with a trainer all day every day and have low-calorie meals prepared for us. Surely after four months of being ridden like bulls by the likes of Jillian Michaels we’d be so firmly set in our new, healthier habits that we would be thin forever!

SURELY the premise of The Biggest Loser, embodying as it does every inch of “Eat Less, Exercise More,” would be The Most Effective Solution to Our Obesity.

The study in the journal Obesity by Kevin Hall, et al on The Biggest Loser contestants’ weight regain got a lot of traction, but it didn’t surprise the handful of us who’ve lost a tremendous lot of weight and kept it off in a healthy way. Any one of us could have reported that regaining lost weight is significantly easier than falling off a rock.

That said, it was nice to see what we’ve always known – that the more weight we lose, the easier it seems to be to gain it back – backed by science. (That’s what the science says this week, anyway. Next week could be a whole other matter.)

We suspect you’ve always known it, too, ‘Loser producers. Surely you followed up with former contestants, only to learn that most had gained their weight back. These people had proven they were dedicated and resilient and 100% committed to doing what you told them they needed to do to lose the weight, and most of them were gaining it all back – and then some.

And if you had more in the way of social responsibility, you might have widened your “Eat Less, Move More” message to include more of the tools that make doing that every single day for life possible for folks who default to the opposite.

Dr. Spencer Nadolsky, an Obesity Physician in Olney, Maryland, says “While it is true that energy balance is still key, we must find ways to make this sustainable. For some, it may be only behavioral therapy. For others it may involve medicine and even surgery. Those with obesity are fighting an uphill battle and require our empathy and support.”

What did you tell yourself as you watched them gain all that weight back? It would’ve been a stretch to imagine that folks who had so recently committed their whole life to losing the weight had suddenly given up, and it’s unlikely that men and women who’d thrown themselves so bravely into the arena would retreat back into the habits they’d so publicly disavowed.Open Letter to the Producers Following The Biggest Loser Study

The thing is, their habits hadn’t actually changed. The weight they lost came off because they were living in a controlled environment. But then, you knew that.

You watched dozens if not hundreds of contestants regain their weight, demonstrating over and over and over again that healthy, sustainable weight loss required a more complex and nuanced approach than JUST calories in/calories out. (Yes, we all know at the end of the day that weight loss is the result of an energy deficit. We also know that love is nothing more than a hormonal cocktail, and that Don Quixote was just a man with a dream.) You saw over and over that healthy, sustainable weight loss could not be so easily achieved. You knew better, and yet you continued to cast and record and profit off the show, season after season.

We who’ve lost a tremendous lot of weight and kept it off in a healthy way are sick of watching our brothers and sisters buy into the fantasy you’re selling. We’re sick of you profiting off the blood, sweat, and tears of a population of people who need and deserve truth, respect, and love.

Turns out that many of us have a hard time trusting our own data.

We know from experience that trying to just eat less and exercise more without addressing how we got so heavy in the first place doesn’t tend to result in sustainable weight loss.

Instead of getting to the root of the problem – self-sabotage – we focus on creating that energy deficit. And in doing so, we set ourselves up for failure.

Click HERE to see the schedule for Coffey’s ALL NEW, FREE online workshop,
‘Why We Sabotage Ourselves (with Food) (and What We Can Do About It)

We suffer through 1,000-calorie days.

We bust our asses training for 5ks.

We eat nothing but boiled chicken and steamed broccoli.

Some of us even have weight loss surgery.

And some of us do lose weight, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot, but eventually most of us gain it back.

We believe we’re broken and just need to work harder.

But We Are Not Broken. We are strong, empathetic, and kind. We’re some of the smartest, most competent people on the planet.
That said, we do need to work harder. And smarter. Just like any other underprivileged population, we need to do more for longer and more consistently than other folks need to in order to get the same results. Ask any woman, anyone who’s part of a minority group, anyone who came up poor, or anyone with a disability, and they’ll tell you: there’s nothing we can’t do, but to do it takes more effort to do it.

No, it’s not fair. It’s not fair that we can never eat with impunity like our naturally-thin friends and family. It’s not fair that many of us need to fall out of love with what has been our most available and reliable emotional crutch. It’s not fair that we have to learn new ways of living and relating to ourselves and our bodies in order to hit and maintain a more comfortable weight for life.

It’s not f*cking fair, and you know what? We can do it.

Just like any group that faces more than their fair share of obstacles, we need additional support.

Open Letter to the Producers Following The Biggest Loser Study

Just eat less & exercise more. Gahd.

We need doctors who are empathetic to the realities of obesity and the challenges of weight loss and weight loss maintenance.

We need access to appropriate medications to help us deal with hormone-driven increases in appetite.

We need insurance coverage that includes adequate access to ongoing mental health support.

We need access to information on best practices in nutrition and exercise science.

We need honest, unbiased education about surgical options, and ongoing support if we choose to go that route.

We need help to examine how we relate to food and our bodies.

We need strong, active, effective support communities.

Without resources like these, folks like me who’ve lost 100+ pounds and kept it off in healthy way long-term will continue to be outliers.

Ours is a culture that increasingly eschews truth, ethics, and sustainability in favor of sensationalism and profit, especially when it comes to weight and weight loss. But you, ‘Loser producers, have the power to turn the conversation around.

Your show has been insanely successful, and I’m sure that’s felt good. I want you to feel good. We all deserve to feel good. We all deserve to feel comfortable in our bodies, healthy, and alive. Some of us have to work harder than others for these and other basic human rights. And we’re willing and able to do that. Please lend us your support by changing the messaging on The Biggest Loser to more accurately reflect reality:

Healthy, sustainable weight loss is the result of much more than just a caloric deficit; it’s the result of a lifetime commitment to make the healthiest, most caring choice we are capable of making, and of honoring that commitment one day, one moment, one bite, and one breath at a time.Open Letter to the Producers Following The Biggest Loser Study

Please support our doctors, therapists, personal trainers, family, friends, and most importantly, please support us in doing this work. Please quit the shit, and use your position of power and influence to broadcast more of the truth.

We still think Jillian and Bob are super hot, but the show’s got to grow or go.



Kelly Coffey


  1. Kristi Bodin says

    I have been so waiting for your response to this article/study ! Thank you for the reality check. It’s reassuring to be reminded that we don’t have to give in to the BS that passes for “body tranformation wisdom” in the commercial media. Love n kisses to you!

  2. says

    Preach! I loved every bit of this article and have been trying to explain all of this for the past 4 years to clients since I lost weight myself! Finally some ammunition against the “Biggest Loser” mentality! Thank you so much for putting it so well! Rock on!

      • Margaret Davis says

        Nothing ticks me off more than watching the contestants on The Biggest Loser cry because they haven’t lost “enough” according to the trainers…Hello? Where do they come up with these figures? I watched it once, I never watched it again.

  3. Kathy says

    Right on Kelly! I always knew there was no way the contestants could keep up the grind they endured to get to the “finish line” and maintain the weight loss. But until the study, the few who stayed in the public eye in any way shape or form were thought of as failures if they didn’t maintain the unrealistic results.

    Having battled obesity since the day I was born, I’ve gone through the ups/downs/further ups/downs and simply assumed I was a failure, while always being slightly pissed off (well maybe more than slightly) that my perennially thinner friends and family never had to deal with what I did.

    Your approach should be studied and implemented in ongoing studies/practices that will hopefully go a very different direction than what has been the norm up to now.

    Thank you for everything you do!


  4. Ali says

    Yes! This. I have spent my entire life beating myself for not being determined enough to be successful at weight loss. It is so much more complicated than that and shows like this are an irresponsible oversimplification.

    • Michelle says

      I could not have said it better, Ali. You took the words right out of my head. :-)
      Thank you, Kelly, for having the balls to stand up and call bullsh$t.

  5. Carolyn Koslen says

    My 1 year anniversary of losing 100 pounds was February 9, 2016. Next week, May 10th, will be my 1 year anniversary of being “Lifetime” with Weight Watchers. How have I kept it off? I work out like it’s my job -cycling and crossfit- and I eat like I’m still “on a diet.”

    Having lost and easily regained 100 pounds 3 times before, I know first hand that different rules apply to us. It is never a simple equation. Is it fair? No. But it is what is it… It is nice to finally have scientific proof to go along with it though. I’d be curious to know exactly what my metabolic rate is vs a “normal” person.

  6. Stephanie says

    Thank you! A friend posted the NYT article about the Biggest Losers study and it was heart-breaking to read. I have despised that show for years, precisely because I saw some people get so sucked into it and the mentality of “If I only had the discipline to work out more and barely eat anything.” I think it’s about time somebody calls the producers out on that shit.

  7. Nancy Hall says

    Kelly – Thank you. I particularly liked this sentence:

    “We’re sick of you profiting off the blood, sweat, and tears of a population of people who need and deserve truth, respect, and love.”

    The commitment to a community of people who deserve truth, respect and love is something you live through your work, this blog and the Klatch. We are all in this struggle together and together we will thrive.


  8. BUU says

    I think the Times article is very important, and I think we’re still missing the boat by calling obesity a “disease.” Here’s how I see it. Our mythology that has us see the larger of us as somehow afflicted, lazy, disordered, unlucky, unhealthy, cursed, sick, in trouble, addicted, and a bunch of other negative characterizations is what makes some of the larger of us unhealthy. Not the other way around. The mythology, the belief system, the stereotypes, all of this that we broadcast to people the minute they come falling out of the womb is what CREATES the ill health that can sometimes — yes sometimes, not always — plague people who are heavier than what is dictated as “normal” or “healthy” weights.

    It’s really quite simple. The more we indict fatness, the fatter we get. Think of the law of Attraction: the more we focus on something, the larger it gets. The less we focus on something, the more it disappears. Try it. It works every time. We have dieted ourselves into the fattest country on the planet. The negative focus on fatness has been a petri dish to incubate this prevalent fatness.

    What would happen if we designated fatness a simple characteristic? A physical quality, like blue eyes or blonde hair? Know what would happen? Madison Avenue would come stabbing at us to take us out. People can’t be sold to unless they need to solve a problem. The advertising and diet industry (intricately bound to each other) cannot survive if we actually like ourselves. Why are 16 year old girls having lip fattenings and butt lifts and nose jobs and boob jobs? We can’t be a healthy degree of fatness and fitness if what we’re focused on is that we’re disordered or diseased or addicted.

    What the Times article did for me is validate what I’ve known all along. My body has its own “mind,” its own wisdom, its own logic, its own rules, and they’re not the diet industry’s or Madison Avenue’s mind, wisdom, logic, and rules. My body is going to fight to get to higher weights because I have dieted so much during my 53 years on the planet that my body has slowed my metabolism down to keep me alive.

    All these years I attributed my quick weight gain or cravings after losing weight to something psychological. Some sort of addiction. Some sort of disorder. Know what? There ain’t no disorder here at all. THERE IS COMPLETE ORDER. I just didn’t know it. Let’s start trusting the wisdom of our bodies and stop making anything wrong that doesn’t look like the Kardashians. Cheers.

  9. Stephanie P says

    I just started reading a book by one of the producers of The Biggest Loser. “The Big Fat Truth” by JD Roth. So far he says the key to successfully losing weight and keeping it off is to figure out the emotional reasons why you do what you do. But I agree that is not what I see on the show. If you decide to read this book I would love to know your thoughts. I also listen to Jillian Michael’s’ podcast and she feels like the show edited her to look like a mean person. She also talks a lot on her show about emotions and mental heath. Just wanted to share this info with you.

    • Kelly Coffey says

      Stephanie, I have admittedly not read either book. I’m basing this solely on the show. I very much appreciate you letting me know, and on the off chance you’re reading this, Mr Roth or Ms Michaels, I’m sad that it sounds like the show isn’t an accurate reflection of what you believe.

  10. says

    Hello Kelly – thank you so much for writing this.

    I have never watched an episode of the BL because of my strong opposition to the premise – which doesn’t work, as you put so very well in your letter – and the harm it does to the contestants overall. The bits I saw of JM screaming at people was enough to know it was Just. Plain. Wrong. It’s unconscionable that people’s health have been messed with so seriously.

    All your points are so spot on. I don’t think we can expect change from the entertainment industry, but was so pleased with the prominence of the Times’ article in exposing the issues and presenting us with science.

    I have shed 125+ pounds and kept it off, too. We anomalies have to stick together and continue to educate people at every opportunity. I am a coach helping people to have love and compassion for themselves as the way to begin the weight loss process, along with healthy eating, movement and self-care.

    Thank you again deeply for your fierce, passionate response, and your mission in this world.

    With love to you and to all on this journey,

  11. Jennifer Shaw says

    Coffey, I need to call you out a little on this one. I’m going to put five bucks that you haven’t watched this show with any regularity. The reason being is that the revelation I had from watching this show actually brought me to YOUR work. Season after season, the show blatantly sensationalizes one or more of the contestants deep down emotional traumas. They usually go about it something like this….one of the guys or gals that you don’t hear a lot about their back story from the get go all of a sudden is feeling very frustrated by a LACK of weight loss. Yep, in this hyper controlled fake as hell environment, this person must have packed a stash of Oreos, you have to hypothesize. Then, after the cameras and a trainer give chase to said contestant out of the gym, mopping the tears off the lens as they go….the great reveal. The sexual abuse, the loss of a pregnancy, the hateful grandparent, it all comes flooding to the surface. Its gross, but its also amazing. You know why? These folks invariably (ok, I do understand editing, it’s only what we see) begin to shed the pounds. It is an amazing subplot. One that isn’t highlighted in the teaser reels, one that they don’t spend a lot of time advertising. Some folks out there, folks like me, have caught on. This has turned me to you and your advice and the principles.


    • Kelly Coffey says

      Jennifer, you’re absolutely right. I’ve seen the show a limited number of times, and have never managed to get through a whole episode. I’m glad they’re tipping their hats to the emotional component of weight / weight gain / weight loss, etc. I hope that piece of the story becomes more than a sub-plot, and that the bits where they do things like lock people in rooms with candy to watch them sweat get cut as soon as they’re pitched.
      If this show had something to do with bringing us together, though, I do owe these guys some gratitude. And you, too, for calling my ass out. :)

  12. Chavon says

    What they do on that show is not realistic or healthy, they work out 6-8 hours a day, to the point of injury and exhaustion and the trainers basically starve them by reducing their calories to a dangerous level. I think they are doing more harm than good.

  13. Karen Rawson says

    Hi, I believe in your path to weight loss & the ability to keep it off. Way to go!

    One topic that seems to never be discussed or an issue for the folks who lose the weight is what about the resulting loose skin?? What can a person do about it??



  14. Jackie B says

    I loved your article and I’ve read all of the above posts and both make excellent points. I, myself, was a “thin” or “normal” (whatever the hell that is) person for most of my life and then at 45,
    Life. Got. Real.
    I had a major depression, I hit peri-menopause, and I had major health issues that prevented me from exercise, and I had 4 teenaged daughters that were putting me through life’s wringer. Trifecta, perfect storm. In addition to all of that, I began drinking wine on a daily basis, using it as a crutch. I began binge-eating spoonfuls of peanut butter and chocolate chips. My life spun out of control in many ways. Now, at 56, I am 40 lbs overweight. That might not seem like a big deal to folks with 100+ lbs to lose, but its still significant enough to impact my health. My cholesterol is high. I found out I am hypothyroid, so I’m now on medication. I also just came off of my antidepressants after 11 years on them. I stopped drinking alcohol completely 3.5 yrs ago when I almost lost my marriage and admitted I had a problem. I hate labels and saying I am an alcoholic hasn’t come easy. I’ve struggled with if I actually AM an alcoholic. But labels don’t matter. I am a healthier person because I’ve stopped drinking AND I’ve done a TON of work on my emotional issues. And I do mean a ton. Yes, I’m in a 12 step program and it helps me in every area of my life. I apply the principles all day, every day, and I am a saner, healthier, and happier person. I thought my weight would magically disappear when I stopped drinking. It did not. Not even a measly 5 lbs. I have completely changed my mindset around food. I do not keep anything in my house that I can binge on, just as I do not keep alcohol in my home. I don’t like thinking of myself as an addict but I am lying to myself and to others if I deny I have an issue with using and controlling the type and amt of “stuff” that I put in my body. It’s the EMOTIONAL work I’ve been doing these past 3.5 yrs that has made the biggest difference. But I also do “the work” each and every day–eating super healthy and clean and portion-controlled. I exercise every day. But I also meditate and get plenty of sleep. I see a therapist whenever I need one (not as often any more but regularly for 3 yrs) and I go to support groups several times a week. I feel empowered rather than ashamed. I feel joyful instead of miserable. Oh, and I am still 40 lbs overweight but I look differently and FEEL differently. People ask me if I’ve been losing weight. I just smile and say “I’m working on it.” And I plan on working on it every day for the rest of my life.
    I am grateful that I’ve had financial resources to get therapy and seek help in other ways. Not everybody has that. But there IS help and support out there that is free. So take advantage of it. We are ALL so very, very much worth the effort. We must love and care for ourselves, no matter our size, no matter anything.

  15. says

    I watched the biggest loser two seasons and I have not watched it since. I am a group exercise trainer, personal trainer and nutrition counselor. I believe in eating healthy, eating smart, training smart, and addressing special that some of us have to get healthy. There is no way a person can continue the lifestyle the contestants follow on the ranch and make it a lifestyle change.

    I am so over the biggest loser and especially over Jillian Michaels. I have not once screamed at any of my clients to get them to work out properly and effectively. I do teach a outdoor boot camp class but my loud voice is not in any way harsh, only motivating.

    I was so glad to read your response. Thank you for standing up and speaking for many of us.

  16. Deb Nicholas says

    Woah! I read your letter to Biggest Loser and want to commend you on your eloquent treatise.
    Thank you for fighting the fight for all of us!

    You go girl!

    Deb Nicholas

  17. Lori Krause says

    Sorry to comment twice, but after reading a couple of the comments, I feel I must.

    I too have only watched it, maybe once or twice. But then again, I don’t watch much TV anyway. So, I didn’t realize that they dig deeper into emotional issues and trauma. My issue with the show was Jillian Michaels. I saw her on Oprah once (that tells you how long ago) where a woman from the audience commented that since hitting middle age – it was so much more difficult to stay on top of the weight. I felt Jillian was flip and almost sarcastic when she answered that if people like Madonna can do it anyone can! I’m sure Madonna has an army of personal trainers, private chefs, personally assistants to pay her bills – picking up the dry-cleaning, nannies, house keepers etc. In my opinion, THAT is the exact attitude of why so many have issues – comparing us to celebrities and why we can’t have the same bodies. Sure, it may have been edited, but I can’t imagine that Oprah would purposely set out to edit that piece just to make Jillian look mean.

    • Kelly Coffey says

      Yeah, that’s an unfair, inappropriate comparison for sure. Here’s the thing: even run-of-the-mill personal trainers have a hard time appreciating how much of a challenge it can be for those of us who struggle/d with weight to lose it and/or maintain a weight we’re comfortable with. That’s because their workdays often involve working out, and talking about fitness all day long. Having activity built in (even just NEAT – non-exercise activity thermogenesis – activity) to their workday and engaging in health-related dialogue all day have a significant impact not just on the brain but the body, too, giving them an advantage over most folks that they’re not even aware of. So, when you catch a typical trainer rolling their eyes at someone like us, remember that they just don’t know what they don’t know, you know? But we know. You know? :)

  18. Shelley McKenzie says

    I have been through this cycle 3 times in my 52 years. The most recent was in 2011. Hired a trainer, worked out 6 days a week, 1200 cal a day diet. Went from 290 to 220 in 9 months. Got a stress fracture on my left foot from working out on the elliptical machine and got sick of going to the gym. I way more today than I ever have at 306 lbs.

  19. Gail Martin says

    Absolutely freaking awesome letter. It embodies the struggle of losing weight with a lifetime of negative self-talk, child-hood bullying and bad habits. Losing is the (relatively) easy part. We know how great it is to be lighter so why on earth would we put it back on ?!?!?! You have expressed the bigger issues very eloquently. Thank you, Gail

  20. Karen Ottenbreit says

    I agree with everything you said in your open letter. However, you seem to have forgotten with whom you are addressing. You are not dealing with people concerned with the health and well being of those struggling with obesity. They are are interested in money. Money is made through ratings. It is all about entertainment and drama. As eloquent as you letter is, I fear you are simply spitting in the wind.
    Please keep up your work in speaking up….and speak out…. To us!

    • Kelly Coffey says

      You’re probably right.
      Your comment reminded me of a thing my grandfather used to say:
      “Ah yes,” the man said, pissing into the wind. “It’s all coming back to me now.”

    • says

      Yes, money is clearly what’s driving them but it’s still worth our speaking up about the horrors of letting that be #1. We have to keep speaking truth to power and pointing to what’s possible. Thank you Kelly for always living that way. It helps the rest of us do it more and more.

    • Shari says

      It’s not even just about entertainment and drama. It’s also about perpetuating the cretinous concept that overweight people are “less than”. Isn’t that the actual lure of “reality” shows, to serve up people who “aren’t like us” to laugh at? Being overweight isn’t an arrestable offense, but as we all know, it is essentially a crime in our society.

      A suggestion I’d like to add to this excellent open letter to TBL is to highlight what many have already said: Some of us, for whatever reason, simply can’t eat like others. Everyone knows that one person who can eat a trough of burgers and not put on weight; hey, maybe the inverse exists too! And maybe those people aren’t evil, lazy, morally-defunct slobs, but actual humans. Here is how life is for them.

      Or is that asking too much? Is it simply easier to keep producing episodes that trend toward “Watch us make this sweaty fatass cry! lulz”? Sounds pretty evil, lazy, and morally defunct to me…

      • Kelly Coffey says

        I want to snuggle with this comment. Thanks for adding a shake of splendor to my morning, Shari.

  21. Jennifer says

    I read the results of the study last week and it was at once both validating and overwhelmingly discouraging for me. I have about 15-20 pounds I would like to lose for good. I have had many successful attempts, but the weight keeps coming back and I become discouraged. I haven’t gone off the rails! I am eating healthy, exercising and retaining all my new habits and still, the weight just keeps creeping back on. So it was validating to see that others experience the same thing, but SO discouraging that no where in all the press that this study is receiving does anyone tackle what to do about your body fighting back against the weight loss and how to retain the hard won weight loss over time. My body is different now! Eat more, eat less, exercise this way, that way, all ways! Nothing yet has worked and here I am again. At least I’m in good company.

    • Kelly Coffey says

      GOOD company? GOOD company?! We’re, like, the Best Company Ever. :) :) :)
      Have you been to my free online workshop? If not, I think it might could help put some things in perspective. There’s a link to the schedule on the page up there.

  22. Susanne Loomis says

    Thanks Kelly – MONEY is the bottomline nothing else. They aren’t looking out for anyone but their own wallets.

  23. Becky says

    Great article! You speak a truth that some people don’t want to hear. The trainers involved with this show should be ashamed of themselves.


    • Kelly Coffey says

      Thanks you, Becky! I don’t know how much of a say the trainers get in how the show is marketed, produced, or edited, so I’m hesitant to agree that they should feel ashamed. But for sure, we should feel validated that our struggle is real, and optimistic that we can handle whatever challenges we need to face in order to feel as comfortable in our bodies as we deserve to feel. I’m glad we found each other. Take good care of you.

  24. Danielle says

    Over ten years, I’ve fought eating disorders that have made oscillate my body weight 100 pounds, lost and gained back again. I’ve been three times admited to eating disorder clinics. Sure life in a clinic is a lot easier for someone with anorexia or big eating disorder. All you need to do is follow that you’re told, and forced, to eat. Once you’re out, reality comes back and for me it was impossible to continue this perfect life style. A lot has changed in my life lately and one thing I learned is that you have to love yourself enough to live healthy and stop counting calories! TV shows like these don’t get the harm they could do to people. I found this website a little bit over the year and always makes me endure knowing I’m not alone in this. Thank you for every post and every self-loving message.

    • Kelly Coffey says

      I am so sorry for your struggle, Danielle. I’m glad we found each other. Take good care of you.

  25. Julie says

    Hi Kelly – Great post about the BL drama. Very disheartened at the study regarding metabolism – I then went on a Google search trying to find anyone that’s lost alot of weight and managed to keep it off for good. We sooo need those role models to show that it really is possible. That’s how I found your website.

    Do you think if the contestants lost weight much more slowly/realistically, that the metabolic findings would have been different?

    Can I ask what the time frame was that you lost your weight? What did you average per week, etc.


  26. Jenny says

    You may like to look up Dr Rick Kausman, an Australian who has written a great book called ‘If not dieting, then what?’ He is or has been a director of the Butterfly Foundation which is the main eating disorder association in Australia. He looks behind the scenes an promotes mindful eating and wellness, taking the focus off weight-which is not working.

    • Kelly Coffey says

      Thank you, Jenny. I did check him out on your recommendation, and our messages overlap quite a bit. Tell him I said hello. :)

  27. jennifer says

    I have had actual doctors use the phrase “calories in-calories out, its as simple as that”. I don’t blame TBL for their methods. They are a sensationalized ‘reality’ show. That is what they do. People (myself included) love to see before and after. They/we love to see success stories that make them believe they can do it with hard work. Of course it doesn’t have to be that hard or fast. I think logical people know that.

    I think the actual weight loss does come down to math. It is the head part that is the problem.

    I am 52 years old and I have always, up until very recently, said that I have been over weight all of my life. One day I was looking at old photos and saw me at 15ish and thought, “wait, I wasn’t fat then”. I was probably a size 12-14, which some (trolls) would still call fat based on comments on the SI swimsuit issue, but if I were “her”(my) parent I would tell her(me) she was perfect (not that “she” would have believed it.)

    Part of the problem was that I am large framed, that is I was born with my father’s frame and he was a football player. When I was 13, one of his friends commented to him, in front of me, that I should have been a boy because I would have been great for his football team. My mother was petit so whenever I was around her I felt huge. These things are imprinted into my psyche. As much as I know better logically, overcoming them seems damn near impossible. I have yet to meet a therapist that can find the switch.

    Now I am undeniably fat, almost 300 pounds, 52 and bad knees. Generally healthy otherwise, BP medicine but everything else is fine. Loving and accepting myself in this condition is not what I need. I have to lose this weight or i will be completely immobile very soon.

  28. Jane Stuehling says

    Good Goddess Coffey, SPOT ON!
    — and you took the time to say it out loud, thank you.
    adore you, and your work.


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