Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Weight Loss & Diet Plans

Font Size

Expert Q&A: Tips from 'The Biggest Loser'

An interview with Cheryl Forberg, RD
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Watching contestants on NBCs The Biggest Loser slim down can be motivating to anyone who wants to lose weight and get healthier. Although The Biggest Loser contestants enjoy the advantage of constant professional supervision, people at home can also succeed at weight loss by following the same basic diet and fitness principles. Cheryl Forberg, RD, a dietitian with The Biggest Loser, shares the secrets of how she has helped contestants lose weight -- and keep it off -- since the show began in 2004.

What motivates most people to stop making excuses and make the commitment to lose weight?

 

There are multiple factors that can trigger a person to finally make the necessary changes to lose weight. It could be a trip to the doctor and a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes or heart disease. Parents who cannot participate in family life (because of weight or health issues) are motivated by their desire to be able to join their kids. Other motivators are negative experiences, such as trying to squeeze into an airline or movie theater seat, buying extra large-sized clothing, or no longer being able to wear their wedding ring. The psychological impact of feeling inferior because of size or any of the stigmas associated with overweight people can be powerful motivators to get down to a healthier weight.

What are some of the habits that caused the contestants to become overweight?

No two people are alike, but in general, before coming to The Biggest Loser ranch, contestants skipped meals, ate large portions, drank too many liquid calories, ate too much white stuff (sugar, potatoes, rice, pasta, bread), and did not get enough exercise or eat enough fruits and vegetables. Most people didn’t have a diet plan, ate on the run, standing up, in their cars, or at their desks. Most importantly, they prioritized everything over their own health, and food was more important than the number on the scale.

Can someone at home expect to see results similar to the contestants on the show?

Yes, they can be successful, but not in the same way as the contestants on the show. It is a reality show, but it is not reality for most people to have a trainer, incredible equipment, fabulous food, cooking experts, and the luxury of weight loss as your full-time job.

And don’t expect huge weekly weight loss like on the show. Shoot for 2-3 pounds a week. Larger people may lose more in the beginning, and anyone who has never exercised will see bigger results once they start moving more.

We try to impart education on the show to help people lose weight at home. Seeking professional help from doctors and registered dietitians, along with using our guidelines, can help most people find success.

Today on WebMD

vegetables
Video
Woman trying clothes / dress
Assessment
 
Woman looking at reflection in mirror
Article
Hot cup of coffee
Quiz
 
woman shopping fresh produce
Video
butter curl on knife
Quiz
 
eating out healthy
Article
Smiling woman, red hair
Article
 
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Chill Out and Charge Up Challenge – How to help your tribe de-stress and energize.
Spark Change Challenge - Ready for a healthy change? Get some major motivation.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply
thumbnail_woman_tossing_spinach
Video
lunchbox
Article
 
What Girls Need To Know About Eating Disorders
Article
teen squeezing into jeans
fitfor Teens
 

Special Sections