The hit NBC series The Biggest Loser is taking a big hit. Former contestant, Kai Hibbard, spoke with CBS Early Show about her experiences on the show and after.
While Kai praises and thanks the show that “inspires so many people,” she also has series allegations to make against the series. She also feels she needs to take responsibility for a myth that has also “hurt” people.
“I have people that come up to me and talk to me and want to know why they can’t lose 12 pounds in a week, when I did, when I didn’t. It didn’t happen. It’s tv.” Kai explains her comments that “a week is not a week” on television. According to the former contestant, what appeared to be a week on the series wasn’t always a week.
“People have to remember that The Biggest Loser isn’t a weight loss camp that happens to be filmed for tv. It’s a tv show that’s made to look like a weight loss camp. There was pressure to make sure you had lost as much weight as possible each week.”
Kai says she learned how to manipulate the scales by dehydration. She also says she left the series with a poor mental body image. At times, her problems were so severe she considered coffee as a meal.
Her husband, Jake Zwierstra, agrees. “Really all she would eat was coffee. Coffee – Splenda, no cream because that wasn’t healthy. She never slept, fretted about everything. Special ordered everything. Nothing that a normal person would do.”
“She came back with her hair falling out and we finally all sat down and were like ‘you know, this isn’t healthy for you’” her husband said. Kai says her family “thankfully” staged an intervention.
Though she may lose money for speaking publicly about her experiences, Kai says she made a vow to herself to speak the truth. ?
“It’s because I participated in something that I feel is harmful to so many people. I own responsibility to make it better. I’m not making any money off this, I’m not getting anything out of it, except for the fact that maybe that I’m redeeming myself a little bit for being too much of a coward to tell the truth at that finale.”
Kai says she respects the other contestants who had positive experiences on the series. She also says at least six other former contestants on the show who suffered similar experiences.
The Biggest Loser Season 9 just wrapped in May, with the most dramatic winner in its history. Michael Ventrella started the show as the series’ biggest contestant ever at more than 520 pounds. He lost more than half of his body weight, weighing in for the final time at 262, which also made him the Biggest Loser in the show’s history. The runner-up was Tennessesn Ashley Johnston who lost almost 200 pounds on the ranch.