Biggest Loser Then and Now: Have Former Winners Kept the Weight Off?

I wonder if most people who watch The Biggest Loser think, “I wish I could do that” -or- “If they can do it, so can I”?

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The contestants are luckily surrounded by all the tools and support they need to lose weight, BUT reality is much different and most people don’t have a multi-million dollar production budget at their disposal.

Season after season the show continues to wow its viewers, but is the dramatic weight loss permanent after the show is over?

How do these contestants fair when they return to the reality of normal life?

Original Biggest Loser Ryan Benson

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In one season, he was able to lose a staggering 122 pounds!

So how is Ryan Benson doing these days?

An article in Time magazine checked in with some of the former “Biggest Loser” winners, including Benson who has gained back roughly 90 pounds after the show was over.

He claims that as soon as the show was over, he regained “32 pounds in 5 days simply by drinking water.” This is incredible and points to the fact that when any person loses weight rapidly, (faster than 1-2 pounds a week) normally the weight loss is mostly due to water loss.

At last report Ryan now weighs 300 pounds.

Kelly Miner: Season 1 Runner Up

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Kelly lost 79 pounds during the show.

Where is Kelly Minner Now?

One former participant who is still losing weight after losing the show is Kelly Minner.

The first-season runner-up went from “242 lbs. to 163 lbs. by the finale and now weighs 140 lbs.”

Matt and Suzy Hoover: Season 2

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He lost 157 pounds and she lost 95 pounds but have since gained some of the weight back.

They aren’t giving up though and are continuing on the weight loss journey.

Matt now weighs 237 and Suzy weighs 175.

Erik Chopin: Season 3

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Although he had one of the most dramatic weight losses in the show’s history, he gained most of the weight back.

He weighed 407 pounds before the show and returned to 368 pounds after the show.

He ended his weight rebound after a 2010 documentary featured his story.

He now weighs 245 pounds.

Bill Germanakos: Season 4

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He lost 164 pounds on The Biggest Loser and only gained 37 pounds back after the show.

He’s now a spinning instructor and weighs 207 pounds.

Ali Vincent: Season 5

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She was the first female to win on the show with a 112 pound weight loss. She managed to maintain the weight after the show.

This weight loss launched her new career with her own book and website.

Update: Ali reveals, “It’s been 5 years since I won (The Biggest Loser) and I’ve seen myself gain at least 5 pounds a year. I’m stuck in the middle.”

She has a new show: Live Big with Ali Vincent where she gets back on the scale and intends to get back on track. It airs on The Live Well Network.

Michelle Aguilar: Season 6

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She weighed 242 pounds at the beginning of the show and 132 pounds at the end to claim the prize.

However, she doesn’t disclose what she now weighs. Never ask a woman her weight, I guess.

From pictures and current videos it looks like she has kept most of the weight off.

Helen Phillips: Season 7

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Helen lost 140 pounds on the show and only gained back 18 pounds.

She is the oldest Biggest Loser and has the record for losing the most weight.

She now works to end childhood obesity and she speaks candidly about her plastic surgery to remove excess skin in this video.

Danny Cahill: Season 8

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Danny lost a whopping 239 pounds to win season 8 and he has kept most of the weight off since.

He is now a motivational weight loss speaker and singer that travels the country. Here’s his website.

Danny currently weighs 215 pounds

Michael Ventrella: Season 9

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He started at 526 pounds and weighed 262 pounds at the show’s finale.

After the show he became a trainer and professional public speaker.

He now weighs 289 pounds, but says he no longer focuses of the scale but his measurements.

Patrick House: Season 10

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Patrick only weighs 16 pounds more than he did when he won The Biggest Loser and has been working on building muscle.

He now works with overweight teens and completed his 3rd Boston Marathon.

He also wrote a book is called “As Big as a House”.

Patrick’s current weight is 235 pounds.

Olivia Ward: Season 11

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She started The Biggest Loser weighing 261 pounds and then dropped to 132 to claim the show’s title.

Now she’s just 10 pounds heavier and appears regularly on the Dr. Drew Show as a weight loss guru along with her sister Hannah. Here’s their website.

It looks like she has kept the weight off.

John Rhode: Season 12

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John was a 40 year old teacher and coach when he entered the Biggest Loser Ranch and weighed 445 pounds.

He dropped an amazing 220 pounds and won season 12 weighing 225 pounds.

It looks like John has gained a little of the weight back, but is active running marathons and doing Crossfit, while inspiring others to get fit and live healthier.

He now weighs between 225 and 230 pounds depending on what he’s training for.

Jeremy Britt: Season 13

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22 year old Jeremy was 389 pounds when he joined the competition and had been overweight most of his life.

He won season 13 by losing 190 pounds weighing just 190 at the finale.

Since winning Jeremy is working on maintaining his weight loss.

Danni Allen: Season 14

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The newest winner is Danni Allen. She started the competition at 258 pounds and finished at 137 for a loss of 121 pounds.

She is now enjoying her win and is doing the talk show circuit talking about her experience on The Biggest Loser.

She recently shot a commercial for Subway restaurants

Rachel Fredrickson: Season 15

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Rachel Fredrickson recently became the Biggest Loser in the show’s history with an astounding 60% weight loss for a total of 155 pounds shed.

Some of the show’s fans on twitter expressed concerns that she actually looks too thin at 105 pounds.


Based on the previous Biggest Loser contestants, do you think the show promotes long term weight loss success or just short term benefits?

Season 16: TBD

This current season of NBC’s Biggest Loser features former star athletes who had let their once fit bodies decline after they quit playing their sport.

It shows us all just how easy it is to put on weight when being fit no longer becomes a priority. 

We’ll post the newest winner as soon as it’s announced.

Credit: Thanks to NBC for the images.

  • Mini Devil Girl

    First comment! Anyway, awesome job to everyone who kept the weight off!

    • Alice Huntsha

      I always considered that THe Biggest Loser paid for skin removal surgery. Didn’t they and the surgeon join in on the coasts?

      • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

        It does seem logical to think that since skin just doesn’t just disappear once it’s been stretched that much. If they didn’t get surgery I would say they are definitely wearing Spanks. Have you noticed that after a certain point they stop weighing the contestants with their bellies showing? Guys get to keep shirts on and women have full length shirts. This is probably to hide loose skin and/or Spanks.

        • Dianne

          I lost 90lbs at one point surprisingly the skin does shrink back. Exercise helps it tighten up as well. I just wish stretch marks from baby’s would disappear the same way.

          • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

            Great job on the weight loss! And you are lucky that your skin shrank back. Some people really have a problem with loose skin that really only surgery can fix. This is probably more common in people who have lost 200+ pounds. Would you want to share your story with us?

        • mindy

          Excess skin depends on how obese you were, how old you are and how many years you were obese. A lot of people are able to get their skin to snap back (mostly) if they exercised the entire time they were losing weight. Exercising is so hard for obese people (I know from experience), so many wait until they have the last 30-50 lbs left and by then its too late.

          • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

            Thanks for sharing your insight and experience.

  • mommy.fish123

    It promotes a longer life than any of them would have had. What kind of question is that? They are all human and make human choices to return to bad habits or continue with what they know to be healthy choices. I love this show because it people choosing to make a change in their life for the better. And without drugs or surgery!

  • A

    There is no way Ryan gained “32 pounds in 5 days” by drinking water. Staying properly hydrated reduces the body’s tendency for water retention, so it was not water weight that he gained. He clearly went back to his old ways for a week and realized it was a misstep, which is understandable since he spent the entire season in a controlled environment. His new 300 pound body did not expand with water.

    The problem with this show is that they can dedicate their entire day to working out and be offered the proper food. Doing that for many months led to massive weight loss, but doesn’t carry over into the real world.

    Overall I’m still addicted to Biggest Loser. I love tuning in every week.

    • Smarter than that guy^

      Clearly you’ve never seen what happens to athletes in weight-class sports following competition weigh-ins.

      • anon

        That’s completely different. They cut weight by deliberate dehydration

        • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

          We may not be aware of what goes on behind the scenes during weigh in days either. They could be deliberately dehydrating themselves to achieve a lower weight.

          • Maxtrong

            That is exactly what I’ve read that they do. They also carb and sodium load for something like 2 weeks before the first weigh ins to have a high first weight.

    • PlayLoud

      Seriously? You think he gained 32 pounds in 5 days by returning to his old eating habits? In order to gain 32 pounds in 5 days without it being hydration related, you would have to eat an extra 22,400 calories per day! That’s 29.87 Double Quarter Pounder Cheeseburgers from McDonalds every day (on top of your normal daily calories).

      I would be much quicker to believe he was dehydrated during his last (and every) weight-in. His urine probably came out like toothpaste. Then he chugged a bunch of water (since he had no more weigh-ins), and his dehydrated body absorbed it all.

  • ayanow

    Keeping it off is the hardest part. I hate to liken it to drug addiction, but there are some foods I just cannot eat. They are gateways to obesity. For instance, anything resembling a donut, cupcake, etc. I’ve been obese three times. Finally kicked it 9 years ago and am a healthy weight but every day is a struggle and unlike a drug addict, I have to eat to stay alive, but the gateway foods are everywhere. Every holiday, even Valentines, I dread. People give chocolate candies and things. My drug of choice is sugar and like a junkie, I’ll binge if it’s in the house. I will be fighting this until the day I die and that’s the reality for food addicts. Every person who’s been fat will have to fight to remain healthy in a world full of temptation. As I said, keeping it off is the hardest part. I learned years ago to not let sweets in the house. Even this Christmas a relative brought me fudge and I told her I can’t have that in the house. She forced me to accept it, so when she left, I walked over to the trash, opened the box and poured the fudge pieces into the trash. She came by the next day looking if I had any fudge left. I told her I put it in the trash as I cannot have sugar in the house. She said I hurt her feelings. People just don’t understand food/sugar addiction. Maybe one day food addiction will be recognized and treated more like drug addiction.

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      Excellent comment.

      With alcohol, you can stay away from bars, bottle shops, and keep the house alcohol-free.

      Food? Not like you can stay away from a food store or you’ll starve to death.

      Our modern environment is truly ‘obesogenic’ with challenges everywhere. Combine that with a genetic predisposition toward addictive behavior – no wonder it’s so very difficult for some.

      Well done, keep on, and don’t ever give up.

    • Tresha Corso

      Thank you! You have put my feelings into words!

    • Gordon Sims

      Your completely Right. Good on you for throwing away those drugs. I do the same exact thing when people bring drugs into my house.

    • mindy

      I have the same problem, but my triggers are starches. No one understands how hard it is. I have yo-yoed since I was 14 by 40, 60 n now 80 lbs. I’m determined to take it off this time n I keep saying this is the last time. If I can’t keep it off, I’ll just give up and accept I’m not meant to be thin. I’ve tried everything but surgery. Even at 80 lbs overweight I’m still not heavy enough n don’t have enough health problems to qualify. I refuse to gain weight just to qualify.

  • imaro

    The show does promote long term weight loss. The learn how to eat healthier, how to work out, what are their weaknesses and all they need to keep lossing weight and to keep it where they want. But if they dont train their minds in order to help their bodys, they wont be able to do it. So, the ones who gained weight back forgot all the strength they had before. And what health concerns,the last you can do is to ignore what harms you

  • Maxtrong

    What I don’t get is the people spend such little time on the ranch, piss and moan the entire time and come out as “experts” and start training people. Yeah, you lost weight, but you didn’t go through the processes of learning that Bob, Jillian etc. did and the likelihood that they will hurt someone is pretty high if they try to train someone the way they trained on the ranch.

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      Good point and they had so much more support than a typical person would have.

    • Tricia

      I’m sure they have to take classes or something first.

  • tara

    a healthier lifestyle for sure

  • newstradomus

    This 16 out of how many contestants, 225? What about the contestants who didn’t win? A lot of these people have established a career in weight loss, so there’s an occupational incentive to keep the weight off.

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      Yes, that’s very true. We never hear anything about the others. My guess is that the majority gained the weight back.

      • newstradomus

        Of course BL wants to showcase their most successful clients because it has become a “brand”. That might be an interesting subject for an article, how a reality show transitions into a marketable product. I wonder how many $$$ the show has ultimately generated?

        • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

          yes, good point. I also laugh at their product placements during the show. It’s usually some unhealthy “diet” product with all the contestants eating them and saying how yummy they are. I actually like Chis Powell’s show Extreme Weight Loss much better.

          • newstradomus

            Yeah, like walking 10 miles to go to a Subway and eat a “healthy” sandwich. If I walk 10 miles, I’m getting more than a 6″ sub. I like EWL too, definitely more realistic, but the drama and the phony reveal doesn’t indicate if these people really get “it”, only that they get a bunch of free stuff, free travel, and free plastic surgery.

          • Zorro75

            Agreed. At least Powell has his “clients” function in real life where BL does rapid weight loss in 3 months and then see ya! Powell’s approach is much better and works over the longer term. Sorry BL your show is a BL.

          • Siren

            FYI, Jessie Pavelka (the new BL trainer) did the show before Chris Powell took over. He then did a second similar show before moving on to BL.

  • Zorro75

    I was a fan of BL until I saw Chris Powell’s show. His approach is better and his clients don’t get diddly squat for money at the end. He’s like “hey if you want to live, this is what you do” not “hey if you want 250k this is how you beat everyone else”.

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      I totally agree, I like his show much better AND I don’t have to listen to Jillian scream all the time.

  • bub

    I cannot endorse either the BIggest Loser or Extreme Weight loss. As far as EWL, look up James Garrison, he blew the whistle on EWL.

    TBL is SO toxic: pitting people against one another. Weight loss should ONLY be high stakes because your health is on the line. You have all of that backstabbing, fighting, bullying etc. I hate watching that stuff. YOu put any group of people in that situation and they are going to be fighting.

    And Olivia manipulated her way to the top spot. She said that she could not have children so she needed to stay and Moses got booted off. Please. She had lost enough weight at that point to have a baby. Were the other players really that stupid? Moses should have been the winner of that season. That was the first, and last season that I watched.

    And these shows DO pressure people to put in big numbers by dehydrating. You just mostly never hear about it because the contestants have to sign about four inches think worth of docs barring them from discussing it.

    The only weight loss show that is any good, that cares about its people, in the US at least, was A&E’s Heavy. No contest between participants, no stupid drama. Just real people working out with trainers and eating healthy food. May not turn in numbers as big, but it’s more real and honest and healthier. sadly, they cancelled it.

    • Siren

      Olivia has polycystic ovarian syndrome which potentially makes you infertile weight loss lessens the severity of her symptoms and makes it easier to treat her fertility issues. Do your research before badmouthing people you don’t even know.

  • ash

    Biggest Loser gives the contestants the tools to live a healthier lifestyle. Whether they go home and revert back to their bad habits is on them not the show IMO. Its a lifestyle change that you have to commit to it long term or it just won’t work. Losing weight is easy …. Keeping it off is what’s difficult.

  • Pat Hosey

    I think thé show is good its saving people life. the best part is some people like me get to thé point in life Where you have little motivation.just enough not to work out but When i see thé show im like Thats all i need to get my but off Where ever its at and get to work because its all me and no one that Can stop me

  • Tricia

    It cracks me up when people complain and say its wrong to make it a competition. I love competition, I’m a competitive person and do better with it, if you don’t like it don’t do it. It’s not wrong just because you don’t like it, they wouldn’t sign up for it if that bothered them.

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  • kathy

    From reading the comments it seems as though the show promotes short term weight loss due to the fact that the majority of the contestants put some of the weight back on.the truth of the matter the show inspires but how realistic is it if they don’t get to the real problem people face and why the weight was put on to begin with

  • I’m fat and I know it

    Can I just say. I like watching the biggest loser. I have only been a fan since season 14 which is when I first started watching. Love (Danni). But this damn show bugs me so much. With all that emotional BS. Yes there are those cases. But America is full of fat people (like me) who just like to eat. Who have no self control. It’s not cause my car is sick. Or cause i have to look at whats coludos or cause the aun decides to show is face today. Not everyone esta out of emotion or guilt. All the drama and repetitive fake caring……makes me sick. Maybe I will lose some weight after all

  • Brenda Skychic Starr

    I lost the weight with no surgery, no pills, no diet, no Fitness Coach or even any support from anyone. In fact, everyone I know was telling me I couldn’t do it. It was all up to me. I started in 2004. My BMI was 55, I was 5’3″, 500 lbs. I started by walking on a treadmill which made me feel like I was going to die after just 5 minutes. I slowly built up the time spent on the treadmill, adding incline & speed. Then, I graduated to the eliptical 30 minutes, the treadmill 30 minutes. Now, i change it up with the Stairmaster & the eliptical. In 2004, I started changing the way I eat. I had no help, no encouragement from anyone. My husband brought me buckets of fried chicken, then criticized me for eating it. After awhile, I refused to eat the greasy garbage he brought home. I started working out 2 hours a day, only eating natural, unprocessed foods. My husband felt threatened, jealous, heavily critcized me. We divorced in 2007. I continued to work out, eat more healthy all the time. As of August 2014, my BMI is 22, my weight is 145. Because I did it slowly, my skin has bounced back beautifully. I have started concentrating on strength training to build muscle. Yoga, Pilates and a minimum of 1 hour of intense cardio every day along with strength training is giving me a lean, toned athletic body, a happy, peaceful mind!

    I did it with no surgery or pills, so can others. The question to ask yourself is,
    “How bad do you want it?”