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The Biggest Winner

ironmanmagazine.comThis month’s Star Trainer should more properly be called “Star Trainee,” as it references the recent controversy over the weight-loss TV show, “The Biggest Loser,” in which 24-year-old Rachel Frederickson was thought to have lost too much weight. She dropped from 260 pounds to 105—at 5’4”—over the 7 1/2 months of the show, including 45 pounds lost in the last three months. She won the $250,000 grand prize, but it was almost overshadowed by the Internet backlash. Rachel was “emaciated,” “anorexic,” “not a role model,” and the show’s trainers were “shocked” at her appearance—and those were the nice comments.

IRON MAN’s Savannah Rose Neveux knows a few things about transformation, having done it herself and encouraged countless others through her popular blog, “Muffin Topless” ( She, too, had some thoughts on the controversy—and on keeping weight off after you’ve lost it.


What shocked you more, Rachel’s weight loss or the reaction?

Both had shock value, but the reaction to her weight loss was what really stunned me. I used to post transformations on my Facebook page. The pictures were for many a symbol of hope—that no matter your age, gender, height or starting point, you can make a positive change in your health and your life. Those transformations did inspire many, and the majority of comments were kind. But seeing others trying to diminish the hard work they put in was very draining—comments like, “They looked better before,” “Too skinny,” “E-e-u-ww, nasty,” “Too muscular,” and “Photoshop,” are unnecessary and cruel. I went on a blocking and deleting frenzy, hoping I could save those transformers the hurt of seeing the rude comments. It got to be too much, so I stopped posting the pictures.


Reality TV is not reality—for one thing, the contestants get to work at getting fit 24-7. What do you tell people who want to lose as much weight as fast as they do?

I explain that transforming one’s physique takes time and patience. A huge physical change does not happen overnight. Working hard and staying positive are key. Focus on reaching small milestones, and keep pushing forward despite setbacks, and you will reach your goals.


What would you tell Rachel Frederickson and others about transitioning from extreme-weight-loss mode to living a fit, balanced life?

Find a way of exercising and healthful eating that you actually enjoy and can maintain for the long term. Staying fit can be just as tricky as getting fit, but if you make healthy living a lifestyle, it becomes much easier.

Here are a few more tips for living in maintenance mode. They may seem obvious, but sometimes it’s the obvious things that trip us up.


• Practice moderation, not deprivation.

• Don’t let minor slip-ups turn into habits. If you gain some weight, don’t throw in the towel.

• Even a 10 minute workout is better than nothing. Get moving even on lazy days!

• Keep setting new goals for yourself so you have direction and motivation.

—Ruth Silverman


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