True Confessions: I have been watching the 15th season of The Biggest Loser. I’m embarrassed to admit it because, as a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian, the Biggest Loser goes against all the principles that I know about permanent weight loss. I support moderation and balance in food and exercise. Participants of The Biggest Loser exercise 5 hours a day-about the amount of time most people work!
Last night was the finale and Rachel was awarded the grand prize. After seeing her gaunt face and bony body I’m wondering if her grand prize is Anorexia Nervosa. Yes, I know her BMI is within an acceptable range but the diagnosis of anorexia encompasses more than BMI. I wonder if she is able to consume an adequate amount of food so that she is not hungry or thinking about food all of the time. I wonder if she can eat a variety of foods, including grains and occasional sweets or desserts and restaurant foods. Does she have guilt or remorse after eating? Does she obsess about food, weight or exercise? How much does she need to exercise to maintain this new low body weight?
Anorexia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorders are both disorders of extremes. Both are deadly and both interfere with quality of life. I hope that Rachel doesn’t end up spending her $250,000 prize on eating disorder treatment.
Pam Chin-Lai, MS, RD, LD, CEDRD specializes in the nutritional rehabilitation of eating disorders in children, adolescents and adults.