Pop Culture

The Biggest Loser has come to an end

Woman standing on scales with measuring tape draped around feet
After 13 years, the American ‘The Biggest Loser’ comes to an end (image: iStock)

Content Warning: dangerous weight loss, disordered eating and emotional abuse. Please proceed with care if any of these issues are triggering for you.

According to women’s site, Ravishly, NBC’s The Biggest Loser is may be dumped. This year, Australia’s TBL Transformed was moved from Sunday evenings to weekdays due to plummeting ratings. 

Since it’s debut in 2004, The Biggest Loser has had it’s fair share of condemnation from the media, health professionals and former contestants. In 2016, New York Post published a damning article in which former contestants alleged that they were, among other things, forced to put on weight when applying and taking drugs, one which is condemned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and were encouraged when they became physically sick.

The tactics used in the The Biggest Loser, including their doctor, Dr. Rob Huezenga (a.k.a Dr. H). has been condemned in the medical community. Canadian obesity specialist Dr. Yoni Freedhoff slammed the show, calling it an ‘atrocity’ and vehemently saying that the tactics of the show are not endorsed by the medical community.

In 2014, The Biggest Loser was rocked by a scandal when winner Rachel Frederickson became unhealthily thin. Even trainer Jillian Michaels admitted to E News that Frederickson had lost too much weight after weighing in at 105 pounds (47.6 kg).


In Australia, The Biggest Loser has also copped criticism from fitness experts as well. Trainers went as far as to say to Fitness Enhancement that if they employed the same tactics as they do on the show, it’d get them fired. The types of exercises that the often – morbidly obese contestants to do without proper techniques. Trainers and health experts were also concerned at how injuries were handled.

In 2014, The Biggest Loser (Australia) was dealt a public relations disaster when it was reported by Daily Mail Australia that 2012 winner, Margie Cummins faced health issues due to rapid weight loss during the show. Cummins revealed that she had to be hospitalised for an infected pancreas and issues with her liver after she’d lost 73.2 kg (161 lb) during the show.

Emotional abuse accusations

It’s not just the strenuous exercise, alleged illegal drug taking and dangerous weight loss that has stained The Biggest Loser brand in the U.S. Blog Dance with Fat has condemned the trainers, especially Jillian Michaels of emotional abuse. In response to a YouTube video (which the blogger didn’t post, and neither will I), of Michaels  screaming at contestants.

The trainers of the Australian series weren’t exempt from similar condemnation. Trainers interviewed by Fitness Enhancement accused the Australian trainers, Michelle Bridges, Shannan Ponton and Steve ‘Commando’ Willis and Tiffiny Hall of ‘fat – shaming and ‘downright bullying’. While the 2017’s series TBL Transformed tried a holistic health approach, it wasn’t without controversy. with concerns that one of the contestants, Nikki being deemed by some viewers not heavy enough to be on the show at 78.1 kg (172.18 lb).


In reality, I think that the Biggest Loser was probably never going to be about health. It was about drama, pushing the limits, and of course, weight loss. And it seems like the public, both in Australia and the U.S. has spoken. They’re not buying it anymore.

Did you watch The Biggest Loser? Did you have any concerns about it? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comets below.



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By Sara Harnetty

I'm a student. Interested in current events, music and various issues.

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