Kai Hibbard was a contestant a few seasons ago on weight loss show ‘The Biggest Loser’. Set around a group of individuals and coaches who train them, the show focuses on weekly weight loss in a competitive environment to see who can lose the most. Kai was a successful contestant on the challenge – she was one of the finalists in the third season, and lost 118lbs. On the final episode of the show she walked on stage in a svelte black dress amid roaring applause, showing off a figure that was half the size of what she began with.
But don’t be fooled by the show, Kai says. The TV show made it seem like she had lost all her weight in 12 weeks, when this was not, in fact, true.
“I have people that come up to me and talk to me and ask me why they can’t lose 12 pounds in a week when I did. When I didn’t. It didn’t happen. It’s TV,” she said in an interview on the CBS ‘Early Show’. “I need to take blame and responsibility for the fact that I helped perpetuate a myth that’s dangerous.”
The myth, she says, is that while audiences are lead to believe that the weigh-ins occurred once every week on the same day, producers gave the contestant often more than a week to lose weight, to make the numbers on the scales more attractive. Kai also claims the weight los techniques the contestants were taught were not always healthy.
“The weight loss for that show is for ratings. 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. So there was pressure from production and everybody involved in the show to make sure you had as big of numbers as possible every week.
“I left with a very poor mental body image,” she continued. “I found myself loathing what I looked like the more weight I dropped because of the pressure on me. And I found myself doing things like considering coffee a meal. And because of the mentality that I was surrounded with, and the pressure that was given at that show, it was considered acceptable to behave that way.”
Kai, who is now married, met her husband while she was filming the show.
“She came back with her hair falling out and we all finally all sat down and were like, ‘This isn’t healthy for you’,” he said.
Kai she is grateful that her mother and best friend, both registered nurses, along with her husband, saw the disturbing pattern in her eating behavior and staged an intervention. Kai has put on 70lbs again.
Talking about her experience on the show and going public with it is very important to her, Kai says.
“I participated in something that I feel is harmful to so many people, so I own responsibility to make it better. I’m not making any money off this. I am not getting anything out of it except for the fact that maybe I’m redeeming myself a little bit for being too much of a coward at that finale.”
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