Why The Change?

It should be the happiest time of Rachel Frederickson's life. Last week the 5 foot 4 inch former swimmer won Season 15 of The Biggest Loser, reclaiming her inner athlete and her life. But with controversy surrounding her triple-digit weight loss, Frederickson can't seem to decide if she took it too far.
Rachel Frederickson
Photo credit: NBC (video still)

On the Feb. 4 finale of The Biggest Loser, contestant Rachel Frederickson stepped on the scale and secured the title of Season 15 champ (and the cool quarter of a million that goes with it). The 24-year-old nabbed another title, too, albeit one that has mired the petite brunette in controversy — that of the smallest winner in the history of the long-running show.

Too far? How The Biggest Loser's skinny winner sizes up

Down to 105 pounds from her original weight of 260, Frederickson lost 155 pounds — or roughly 60 percent of her total body weight. For the first time since coming under fire for her extreme results, she has admitted that she did, perhaps, take it too far.

Or did she? As the latest Biggest Loser winner receives more pressure and backlash, she seems to be contradicting herself.

On taking it too far

In the new issue of People, Frederickson spoke at length with the magazine for an exclusive cover feature profiling her dramatic results and the subsequent controversy they've sparked. "Maybe I was a little too enthusiastic in my training to get to the finale," she told the publication about the six hours of exercise per day and 1,600 calorie diet that led to her weight loss.

Further remarks appear to imply Frederickson plans to pull the intensity back a bit now that the show is over. "I trained like an athlete for the finale," she explained. "Now I am a girl in her real life."

Comments from her trainer, Dolvett Quince, confirm that the two have discussed getting Frederickson's body — which some are referring to as gaunt — "back to a place where she has energy and muscle mass." Quince also confessed to the magazine that the first thing that crossed his mind upon seeing Frederickson was "That's just too much."

Does extreme weight loss set a bad example for kids? >>

On being happy with her results

But here's the rub. While some of Frederickson's comments in the interview, like those above, make it seem as though she acknowledges her 60 percent weight loss was excessive and perhaps unhealthy, other remarks made by Frederickson to People as well as other outlets directly contrast that notion.

"I've officially found that proud, confident girl that I lost," Frederickson asserted during a media conference the morning after her Biggest Loser win. "I was an athletic national-level swimmer, and to have that athlete come back again, it's just truly an amazing feeling and I'm going to embrace the new me and continue this journey."

Frederickson echoed the stance throughout her interview with People. "I've never felt better," she insisted. "I keep saying it: I am healthy." The show's executive producer, Dave Broome, backed her up, assuring that she "passed all the required medical tests ensuring she was healthy."

What other people are saying

Naturally, there has been no shortage of people eager to weigh in on Frederickson's win. Some, like Biggest Loser's own Bob Harper, Jillian Michaels and host Alison Sweeney, have shared shock and concern, but also genuine support, for the 24-year-old.

Former contestants like Season 10's Patrick House, Season 11's Olivia Ward, and Season 5's Ali Vincent empathized with Frederickson, saying it's unfair for the public to make hasty assumptions.

"Rachel chose to win," Vincent told People. "I know what it's like. I gave it every single thing I had. I was working out from 10 in the morning to 2 in the morning. Is that healthy? No! But it's a conscious, adult decision to win. I weighed 122 pounds at the finale. I took a drink of water and I gained weight back."

Others have come forth, not in criticism of Frederickson, but rather in criticism of the show that drove her to such dramatic results. Season 3 finalist Kai Hibbard opened up to holistic health counselor and Body Love Wellness blogger Golda Poretsky, claiming her time on The Biggest Loser left her with an eating disorder (read Hibbard's other claims here).

What it might mean

Could Frederickson's contradictory comments be indicative of a bigger problem, though?

When People asked the skinny Minnesota native point-blank if she had an eating disorder, she replied, "I am very, very healthy." Is it worth mentioning that her response did not include an emphatic no?

American Idol winner Ruben Studdard now a loser

Furthermore, Frederickson's past — giving up her swimming scholarship to follow her boyfriend to Germany, moving back to Minnesota when her parents got divorced — could suggest that she is a people pleaser… not a bad trait, by any means, but one we imagine could be problematic for people prone to eating disorders.

Could the fact that she is backpedaling about her weight loss after receiving so much negative feedback be another example of her need to please others? Or is she simply cracking under the pressure?

Whatever the case may be, Frederickson's Biggest Loser journey has proven one thing for certain: She's brave. It's incredibly difficult to put yourself out there, particularly in the Goldilocks society we live in where everything is either too much or not enough. Here's hoping Frederickson continues to seek health and strikes a balance that is just right for her.


Recommended for you


Comments on "Biggest Loser 's Rachel Frederickson contradicts herself: I took it too far"

Anonymous February 19, 2014 | 4:26 PM

Each person has a different healthy weight for their body. The fact that she was able to sustain so much exercise suggests that she has a lot of energy, and she looks thin but not too thin.

Eve February 17, 2014 | 11:58 PM

She looks very unhealthy and as the article states she is below the healthy body mass index. The show is making weight loss the priority for contestants by offering that much money, now wonder Fredrickson took it so far. Jillian looks healthy and is toned while Rachel looks scrawny. Hope she gets back to being healthy.

candyapple5 February 16, 2014 | 7:05 PM

Anyone who actually believes she looks good is just as delusional as Rachel! She looks 35 years old and haggard to boot! She is anorexic now for the love of money! So sad....

Pamela February 14, 2014 | 12:25 PM

She looks exactly like anyone else who is or aspires to be an actress/model or whatever. She played to win. Good for her. I think she looks great and she accomplished reaching a goal that most people would fail to achieve.

Vicky February 13, 2014 | 3:53 PM

I guess the blog title was meant to grab attention and it succeeded at doing that. However, it's rather unfair to say she's contradicting herself. That suggests to me that she waffled back and forth. She may have realized she went too far and that's the end of the story.

Kate February 13, 2014 | 11:28 AM

I think people are only shocked because they "knew" Rachel as a big person, and this is a dramatic change. However, if you try to look at her without the image of her before, and compare her to nearly every other person on TV, she looks pretty normal. Look at Jillian Michaels. She's about the same size. But people aren't freaking out over it.

Jon February 13, 2014 | 10:18 AM

Calm down everyone, weight manipulation is nothing new. What would you do for $250K? She worked out hard for the finale to win that prize, and the fact that she is able to manipulate her body weight tells me how far she has come in understanding her body, and the role food and exercise play. It is not difficult to cut 10-30 lbs of weight (water and food weight) in the course of a week or two, and gain it all back in short order. I'm sure she'll increase her weight to a proper BMI now that she's won.

Julie Sprankles February 13, 2014 | 10:03 AM

Thanks for sharing, Kristina and Terresa... and thanks for the compliment, Kristina :)John, those are great points you bring up. In the People interview, I think that's what the former contestants (the supportive ones) were trying to say too -- that it's just unfair to be making judgments so soon. Thanks for your candor!

John February 13, 2014 | 9:39 AM

Do people with eating disorders admit that easily to taking it too far? Do anorexics ever talk about putting weight back on? Can you diagnose someone as being anorexic based on their being under an 18.5 BMI for maybe 2 weeks at most? She seems rational to me. She's in control and making adjustments. Everyone else needs to chill the ---- out.

Kristina February 13, 2014 | 7:55 AM

I agree with Liz too! That was a lot of money and she had gotten that far, why not take it as far as she could. I'm sure she will get to her healthiest weight now that the show is over. Julie - I love your "Goldilocks society" comment. Very true!

Julie Sprankles February 13, 2014 | 7:37 AM

Thanks for the feedback, Liz! I agree with you... I think it would be hard for anyone not to get caught up in the competition. She seems like such a sweet girl; I hope she finds that happy medium, too. She deserves to enjoy her new life!

Liz February 13, 2014 | 6:57 AM

If it meant winning THAT much money, then I'd do the same. But, she does look a bit unhealthy... I'm sure she'll find a happy medium.

+ Add Comment

(required - not published)