Talking BL Finale & Rachel

Hey there everybody…we’ve received so many requests for our thoughts on Rachel Fredrickson and the Biggest Loser Season 15 finale. Well, here you go!

We want you to let us know your thoughts, but please be respectful…we will delete those that are not!

We love you guys!!!! xxoo

18 replies on “Talking BL Finale & Rachel”

I want to validate everything you are saying in this video but I do want to say one thing about the situation. Well, 2 actually. 1. I am currently in treatment for an eating disorder, have been for about 2 months.. Bulimia and anorexia, heck, and over eating (& yes, you can have all 3). The one thing that I disagree with is the amount of time it takes to become “anorexic”. I’m 5’7″, 170 pounds, and have an eating disorder. It’s a chronic, mental illness, it has no relevance on outside appearance. Therefore, the 12 weeks she spent at home, there was a very high possibility she could of developed a distorted way of eating, perhaps taking the healthy tools and taking them to restrictive terms in order to lose weight to win. Which in turn, could and can easily turn into a full blow eating disorder. Especially, already having a food addiction; we commonly all have addictive personality traits, which makes her risk even higher. No hate to either of you two, because I LOVE y’all and I admire and look up to you both on how you’ve maintained and lived a healthy normal life.

Thank you so much for your post though! I deff. agree on just about everything! A lot of controversy, and it’s very sad to be honest. However, I struggle understanding how NBC still let her take the stage at that weight while she was struggling to even stand.

Just my input! Again, nothing agains you two, love you both!!!

xoxo Leah Wagner

Hi Leah! Thank you so much for your comment. Also, I would love to commend you for seeking help for what you are going through. You deserve happiness, beauty and a wonderful life in a healthy body. I know you will work hard to achieve these things. I totally understand what you are saying, also you are more of an expert than us on this topic. We just do not want to put words in her mouth or label her with an eating disorder which we don’t know if she has?? I think it also bothers me and this has been brought to my attention, that you are judged very harshly for being anorexic (sick) and when you are just over weight (which is also to the extreme) it’s accepted more. Does that make sense? Either way both sides of that scale were extreme for Rachel and I just hope and pray that she finds her balance which I believe she will!!! Again, sending you all the support and love from MyFitspiration and thank you for sharing!! Xoxo,

Thanks so much, Olivia and Hannah, for your honest, balanced opinions about Rachel’s weight loss and the season 15 finale. I’ll try not to write a novel, but I’ve been thinking a lot about the show over the past week or so since the finale. (Especially as someone who used to engage in restrictive eating, and as the mom of a daughter – although my daughter wasn’t watching the show since she’s only 17 months old, I definitely think about the kind of messages that are out there in the world she’ll inherit.) You two were my favorite contestants in your season (seriously, I was 1,000% purple from day one!) and Rachel was my favorite this season. So I really, REALLY want to be nothing but thrilled about her win, because I was cheering for her all season long. But I was definitely concerned about a couple of aspects of the finale.

-Not a doctor (non-practicing [SAHM] lawyer here, please don’t throw rocks), and not planning to weigh in on whether 105 pounds is subjectively healthy or unhealthy for Rachel or anyone else. But if you just go based on BMI, 105 pounds at 5’5″ (which is what Rachel herself stated that she is on Twitter) is a BMI of 17.5, which is well in the underweight range. BMI is definitely a flawed measurement – it doesn’t account for things like muscle – and I’m sure you two know that, since I know they do give you a LOT of education about that stuff on the ranch. You probably know a lot more than me! But I calculate my BMI every week when I weigh myself, since even though it’s a flawed measurement it’s still common and used by a lot of health professionals. (105 pounds would be a GREAT weight for me, but I’m just under 5’0″ – Rachel has a good 5″ on me.) Now, Rachel has said in interviews that she feels fantastic, and I hope that’s true, because she seems like a lovely person and I really did want her to win. (Girl power!) But BMI calculation is straight math, and it is what it is. Flawed or not, it’s at least objective.

-I know a lot of people were concerned not just with Rachel’s appearance (and I thought she looked fab in the dress, it was only when I saw her in her weigh-in clothes that I got scared) but also with how disoriented she seemed on stage. I’m sure it’s crazy with all the lights (hello, stage fright, being onstage at the BL finale would be my personal nightmare) but she seemed very different from the go-getter Rachel we’d seen all season, and I believe that is at the root of a lot of people’s concern.

-As a Rachel fan, I really mean this: I hope, hope, hope that she lost this amount of weight purely for the money and that she does plan to seek balance and get up to a “normal” weight for her height. (Again, I’m thinking of BMI, just because it’s math and it’s objective and measurable.) I hope it’s just that Rachel is a competitor – clearly, she’s a FIERCE woman – and she did what she did to win and that’s it, and she didn’t get carried away or fall into unhealthy behaviors. (You’re so right that we can’t possibly know what went on when she was at home, alone.) If she just wanted to win and wanted the money (and that’s a big chunk of money to leave on the table) I think it’s a VERY different ball of wax, and a lot less worrisome than the alternative.

-I don’t think BL is “disgusting” because of this (what a mean thing to say!) but I do think that the structure of the show, which rewards just % of weight loss and doesn’t have any protections built in to prevent contestants from going too far (that I know of – I don’t see your contracts, so I could be totally off base here and if I am, please accept my sincere apologies) is such that this sort of controversy was foreseeable and was very likely to happen eventually. I think I read a show insider (maybe a past contestant?) saying they were surprised it hadn’t occurred before now. Personally, I’d be much more comfortable if the show came out and made a statement one way or the other, about whether there are any plans to reconsider the structure of the show and how to win. (Body composition measurements using a BodPod? DQing someone who goes below a “normal” BMI for their height? I don’t know the answer, but I hope someone is thinking about potential safeguards for the future. Even if Rachel doesn’t have an ED – and I sincerely hope she doesn’t; having restricted myself I don’t wish it on anyone – someone else might in a future season.)

Anyway. I said I wasn’t going to write a novel, but I’ve always been wordy. Sigh. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, thanks for opening up to others’ thoughts, and go PURPLE team! (And go Rachel! I wish her all the best and I hope we see her on a future “Where are they now?” special looking healthy and strong and maybe even IRON, a la Tara.)

Hi J! Thank you so much for your response! I couldn’t agree more. Rachel was fierce but seemed a little different at finale. Funny, you mentioned the bodpod. On the show, we are measured by the bodpod every week. They take in consideration all of our vital statistics when calculating a goal weight or healthy weight for each of us. Now, the contest is still based on % because muscle and fat loss has a large genetic component to it. I just think that BL has never had this happen and there was no prep for it! I am interested to see how she lost 40 some odd pounds in 3 months considering she was at a healthy weight when she left the ranch. But I guess that’s her business! For the record, we spoke to her briefly and she was very kind! But I agree, she didn’t seem like the same Rachel! She is a smart and beautiful woman and I just know she will find her healthy balance!! Xoxo,

Olivia and Hannah – thanks for sharing your thoughts! I’ve been looking forward to your “reaction” to all of this.

I’ve had a bit of a come-to-Jesus moment with myself and The Biggest Loser over the past week. I completely agree with you that the contestants are adults and make their own decisions. But at the same time, I have to wonder if the premise of the show itself (which I have loved for years) is really a good thing.

Sometimes it feels like the show is simply banking on making a spectacle out of really big people and their “sad” attempts at working out. And then sometimes I cringe when I hear things come out of the trainer’s mouths like “it’s all about the scale!” and “what’s your number going to be?” I just think that fosters a really distorted view of what’s important, and I can see how easily a person under that kind of constant training could descend into disordered behavior. (Not saying that’s what Rachel did here, but I could see how easily it could happen.)

At the end of the day, I just have to wonder if there is something macabre about attaching money to pounds. As a BL audience we’ve never seen that do any real damage before, so maybe we’ve shrugged it off. But now it’s hard to. Coming from someone who has struggled with disordered and restrictive eating in the past, anything that could reward that in someone (like $250,000) can become an evil.

I know the show helped the two of you and I am so grateful for that, and I love how much you inspire me and others, and also how open you are about your relationship with the Lord. But I just wonder if this has changed your thoughts on the show? Not the people involved, but the premise itself?

Hi Maria! I will be totally honest. I was shocked and confused and honestly, scared. The funny thing is, when I was competing for the prize, the $$ had nothing to do with it. It was weird, it had everything to do with leaving nothing on the table and letting myself reach a goal that I had NEVER come close to making. The money is great but 60% goes to taxes/fees and all sorts of other hidden game show traps ;). I also feel like the women have to work harder to come close to beating the men. That’s not a dig to men at all, they just naturally lose faster than us. I don’t even know how you would regulate this and regulate our time at home before the finale?? But it’s definitely something I have been contemplating the last week!! Xoxo,

Hi Hannah and Olivia. I wanted to day first I am a huge fan of you two – I just love your spirit and humor and honesty. I’m serious when I say your videos just lift my mood instantly! 🙂

This response to Rachel’s situation was definitely more balanced, and I think understanding, than many others I’ve seen. Unkindness and insensitivity toward a woman who may or may not have an ED is in no way ok. But, either is ignoring the impact, like Hannah says, on the millions of girls and women on which Rachel’s weight will induce sadness, anxiety, and fear about their own weights. As a survivor of a terrible ED, there is no doubt in my mind that the finale triggered new EDs and made existing EDs worse. The fact that Rachel is on a national TV show makes what would be a concerning situation anyway have widespread consequences that need to be acknowledged. NEDA has a really great statement on their website about how a situation like this effects ED behavior.

I’ll be rooting for Rachel, and as always rooting for you two as well. You guys really have a platform for positively influencing peoples lives – I’m so happy you put so much effort, kindness, and energy into this role.

ALL the best xoxox

Lily! Hello lovely! Thank you so much for your kind words and honesty. I will check NEDA for sure. I think all we can do at this point is support her and if she is in need of help, give it to her! I also think it has affected so mNy more people than BL even knew!! I can promise you that Olivia and I will continue to champion the fight of working on our health and encouraging women (me included as I struggle) to embrace their bodies and love themselves!! Glad to have women like you in our MyFitspiration community!

This has to be by far the most balanced response to Rachel’s weight loss. She was my favorite all season because she reminded me of Tara with her fierce competitiveness I just love it when the gals win all of the challenges. Did her finale appearance suggest that she it caught up in competition, to me yes. However, as her journey continues, I believe her inner athlete will find the right balance.

Thank you for posting the video. You are the best!!! xoxo

I love how considerate your response is. It is so fascinating to me how we see someone on a screen ad start to think their business is now ours. I realize you make a choice to give up some of that privacy when you go on a tv show, but I guess I am kind of in the camp of “what Rachel did and does is her own business, and what she weighs and will weigh is her own business.” I think there is certainly a place for her loved ones and those who know her best to share their concerns with her if they have any, but that is not me. My gut reaction when I saw her climb on the scale-and this is purely just that, a reaction (that was quickly replaced by the above thoughts)-was a bit if sadness because I had so admired the physical strength and muscular/athletic build that was blossoming the last several weeks on the show and I feel like a different image came across at the finale. But like I said…I quickly recognized that her business is not my business and what IS my business and within my power to change is ME and the image I convey. So I am going to do my best to focus on that, not on criticizing and critiquing someone else’s image.

You explained this so much better than I! That was what fueled my disappointment. The fact that she found that strength and looked so strong when she left the ranch and the. Came back looking frail and not the strongest. However, I know women and we all have a reason for our behavior so I hope and pray she finds her balance and strength and we will be there if she needs anything!!!

Firstly, thank you ladies for that very balanced, and thoughtful commentary, I really love that you guys are so non-judgmental! As a relatively “young woman” at 21, who has had issues with restricting/weight-loss, and continues to struggle, I will say that watching the finale was triggering, BUT that’s on me. I reacted that way because of something I struggle with, NOT because The Biggest Loser or Rachel forced me to feel that way. It’s nothing any one person said or did, but a collective lifetime of influences from many people and media sources that do this to a person. For anyone to blame one person or television show is immature.

From my experience, it is easy to go from a healthy diet to restriction in a relatively short amount of time, so it is possible that Rachel may be struggling with something. If she is, I am confident that she has a support system to help her turn things away from weight-loss and back towards health. I am praying for her, and that’s all I should be doing. I really think the media needs to leave her alone, words are far more powerful than we realize and they stay with you. If people are truly concerned for her, then they need to let her alone, pray/send good thoughts, and trust that she will get the help she needs.

As for the show, I have been, and will continue to be an avid fan because it does change lives (mostly) for the better. If someone does have a negative experience, most likely it has more to do with them, and their past than it does with the show.

Those are my two cents on the subject. Thank you ladies again for addressing it, it’s a hard thing to talk about, and you were brave enough to do so.

I do have a question for you though. Did either of you ever struggle with not eating enough in order to try to lose more weight, if so, how did you find balance again?

All the best! xx

I liked your video and thoughts on the Finale/Rachel situation. I’ve been a fan of the show for a long time. This season I missed a large part of the season but was able to sit through the entire finale. When Rachel was revealed both my husband and I said outloud “Whoow!” All the real “contenders” are have shocking reveals, but Rachel’s seems overwhelming. I too felt disappointed because the majority of BL winners, especially the women look so strong and athletic at the finale. I love reading about the alumni getting together for races. I created a vision for myself that BL made athletes. In that moment at the finale Rachel looked less like and athlete and more like a starlet who would have mean articles written about her in USWeekly.

I’ve read some of the other alumni responses and I tend to agree with everyone that she wanted to win and did what she thought she had to do. I hope for her that as she gains weight/finds balance that she has a healthy emotional support as well. Every single former contestant has gained some weight back and struggled to find a livable weight. I hope for her that she will have the support she needs to handle the ride to “livable.”

The other thing I’ve been thinking about is that the structure of the show has changed over the years. (I believe the production team has also changed.) I remember when Ali Vincent won she and Jillian did an interview with the Today Show. They specifically said that they picked a weight that was acceptable for Ali to weigh-in at and still be healthy. They said they made a deal that under no circumstances was Ali to go below that weight even if she could. I remember being really impressed about the message they were sending. (I really hope I’m remembering that interview correctly!) I think in the past the trainers may have had more involvement with the “at home phase”. They used to show the viewers what the contestants were doing for those months at home and the trainers would surprise them. Is it the show’s fault, the trainers, the money’s….. no. It’s a TV show that adults participate in. Most of the time really good outcomes are had and we leave the season talking about the “drama” that was edited in and out. This season we’re talking about body images and health. These are conversations that need to be had.

Rachel is a real, young adult. She has her entire life ahead of her. I hope for her she has a wonderful life and left this experience with lessons learned and a larger support network.

Hannah and Olivia– you two crack me up all the time. Keep up the awesome and insightful work!

Thanks for your video about this topic. It’s been on my mind, as it has many others. Here’s the thing. I don’t judge Rachel or her journey — as you all said it is her journey.

But, I think it is fair to look at a couple of facts:
1) She was technically underweight.
2) She clearly had lost muscle mass.
3) The show weighed her in before the finale was broadcast, so it wasn’t a surprise.
4) The show let her continue on the show and win.
5) The show did not display her finale pictures or celebrate on the Facebook page, as they normally would — what are they saying? or not saying? Nor did they respond to the issue.

Now, I don’t blame the show for Rachel’s actions. And I am glad that BL has been wonderful for you both. But, the show has medical supervision, and Medics on site — so clearly they understand their role in protecting the contestants health. Many times on the show you see a contestant held back from races, etc due to injuries to protect their health. So, therefore, the show does have responsibility to not let her continue if she was being detrimental to her body — and it’s hard to argue that it was not. Like Hannah said, what kind of message does this send to see an underweight person applauded? It almost made me nauseous to see her on the Today Show with all the hosts saying how great she looked. It reinforces the message of, “It doesn’t matter what you do to your body or your health, as long as you are skinny, you get the approval!” I sincerely hope that Biggest Loser will take this opportunity as a chance to reflect on what they are messaging and create methods that truly support health.

Something clicked in my brain when you smarty-pants said “Rachel is an adult.”
Yup, it just resonated with me…lots of adults do things I don’t “get” or would repeat or think are smart. But, that’s the beauty of each of us, we are experiments of one.

Thank you for that. Your west coast soul sister who loves a side bike & a tap back.

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