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Biggest Loser weight loss 'danger'

A scene from The Biggest Loser television show filmed in 2009.
A scene from The Biggest Loser television show filmed in 2009.

A YAMBA personal trainer has serious concerns about the message the hit television series The Biggest Loser sends about weight loss.

Dane Mitchell, from Peak Health, said the show set unrealistic expectations for everyday people, suggesting they could shed up to 10-20 kilos of fat in as little as a fortnight.

"The way they're regularly losing five-to-seven kilograms a week just isn't healthy and can be just plain dangerous if not carefully monitored," Mr Mitchell said.

"A weight loss program needs to be designed for sustainable long-term change.

"The recommended sustainable weight loss sits between half-a-kilo and one kilo per week."

Mr Mitchell said while he was a fan of the competitive nature of the show, the way a contestant was sent home each week to lose weight on their own was dangerous.

"It's only natural they're going to try to replicate the kind of intensity of training they did on the show to continue to get the same results," he said.

"But without proper medical supervision and the support of their full-time trainer, this is extremely concerning.

"They still need guidance, but they go from a highly supportive environment straight back to the situation that got them over weight in the first place - that doesn't sit well with me."

Mr Mitchell said there were three things necessary to overcome failure - knowledge, support and planning.

"These three things are underlying problems that we see pop up all the time," he said.

"One is not having the knowledge to put a complete program together in terms of nutrition, exercise and keeping yourself accountable.

"The second is not having an appropriate support network.

"The third one - and one of the most important things - is having a plan.

"So rather than just decide you're going on a diet, decide what kind of diet you're going to have and plan it out over six-to-12 months."

Mr Mitchell said there was no such thing as a magic diet, only healthy ways to eat.

"What I advocate is what's called paleo, which basically means the less processed food the better - fresh veggies, fresh meat," he said.

"If it comes wrapped in plastic it's going to be full of preservatives. Instead, eat clean, fresh food, such as veggies, nuts and some fruit; and definitely not too much sugar."



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