Created by Ben Silverman, Dave Broome, and Mark Hoops, The Biggest Loser is an American reality TV show that pits obese contestants against each other over to see who can lose the most weight as a percentage of how much they weighed when they began. The show first aired on NBC in 2004, and after completing 17 seasons on the network, it started airing on the USA network.
With 18 seasons spanning a total of 248 episodes, The Biggest Loser remains an audience favourite. Many claim the show will remain popular in the US as obesity is a common problem here. With more than two-thirds of the country’s population struggling from it, the show remains relevant and relatable all these years later as well.
Despite immense popularity, The Biggest Loser has faced harsh criticism over the years. Primarily because contestants on the show often follow unhealthy and unsustainable practices to lose weight fast. Viewers gain inspiration from these weight loss stories, only to be disheartened later. The biggest flaw is the number of weight contestants lose every week, which is usually more than 10 pounds, whereas heath guidelines indicate a healthy amount of weight loss is only 1-2 pounds per week.
While unsustainable weight loss methods help contestants lose weight, they don’t help them keep it off. This is one of the main reasons why many ex-contestants have seen the weight bounce back shortly after the season ended. Let’s go over how much weight the winner of each season lost and how much of it they could keep off in the long run.
Season 1 Winner: Ryan Benson
Ryan Benson was the original ‘Biggest Loser.’ In the show’s first season, Benson beat nine contestants over 10 weeks by losing 122 pounds, which was about 37% of his total weight, to claim the cash prize of $250,000. Fast forward to the year 2020, Benson has gained about 90 pounds back. Effectively, today Benson is only 30 pounds lighter than he was when he joined The Biggest Loser.
In his case, it’s been a long time since then, so one may assume the weight gain is acceptable. But shockingly, Benson claims he gained 35 pounds back within five days of leaving the show – and that too only by drinking water! Well, we all talk about water loss when we’re trying to lose weight, but we bet you didn’t realize it could be that much.
Season 2 Winner: Matt Hoover
Matt Hoover won the second season of The Biggest Loser by losing an unbelievable 157 pounds, which was roughly 46% of his body weight when he started. Hoover beat 13 other contestants over a period of 12 weeks and claim the grand prize of $250,000.
Hoover did much better than his predecessor Benson in terms of keeping the weight off. At present, Hoover weighs 237 pounds, almost 100 pounds lighter than the 339 pounds he weighed when he joined The Biggest Loser.
Season 3 Winner: Erik Chopin
35-year old Erik Chopin won the grand prize for the third season of The Biggest Loser by beating 15 other contestants. Chopin lost a staggering 214 pounds over a period of 12 weeks to emerge victoriously. What’s interesting is if you disregard the percentage values and look at the number of pounds the contests lost, Chopin beat the second Biggest Loser by an unbelievable 63 pounds.
Unfortunately, Chopin’s transformation was not a long-lasting one. About a year a half after Chopin won, he started gaining weight, and only six months later, he had almost gained it all back. When Chopin joined The Biggest Loser, he weighed 407 pounds, which came down to 193 points during the finale; and two years later, he weighed 368 pounds.
Season 4 Winner: Bill Germanakos
The fourth season of The Biggest Loser had 18 contestants, and Bill Germanakos emerged as the winner by losing 164 pounds, which was a little less than half his body weight when he joined the show. Germanakos even did an incredible job keeping the weight off; he gained only 37 pounds back after the show. At present, Germanakos weighs 207 pounds compared to 334 pounds when he joined the show.
Season 5 Winner: Ali Vincent (2008)
Season 5 of The Biggest Loser saw a woman take the grand prize. Ali Vincent beat 19 other contestants by losing 112 pounds, or 47% of her body weight, over 16 weeks. Vincent has more or less managed to keep the weight off ever since. She did accept that she was gaining about 5 pounds a year for a while, which she couldn’t avoid. Vincent became so passionate about health and weight loss that she carried that passion into her career with a book and website.
Season 6 Winner: Michelle Aguilar
Vincent’s victory gave women the confidence that winning was a real possibility. The Biggest Loser’s season six saw another female winner, Michelle Aguilar. Aguilar beat 15 other contestants by losing 110 pounds, or 45% of her body weight, over a period of 13 weeks.
We can’t exactly say how much weight Aguilar has managed to keep off since then as she refuses to disclose her weight. But recent pictures indicate she’s managed to maintain the weight loss to a great extent. In an interview, she commented on the difficulty of losing weight and keeping it off by talking about how you’re just one candy bar away from stepping back.
Season 7 Winner: Helen Phillips
Season seven of The Biggest Loser saw another woman take the grand prize, Helen Phillips. Phillips beat 21 other contestants by losing 140 pounds over a period of 19 weeks. While the number may seem average among the list of winners on The Biggest Loser, Phillips achieved something amazing as her net loss was almost 55% of her body weight when she started. Another interesting fact is Phillips is the oldest winner of The Biggest Loser. Phillips was also quite successful in keeping the weight off as she only gained 18 pounds back.
Season 8 Winner: Danny Cahill (2009)
In 2011, Danny Cahill won the eighth season of The Biggest Loser by shedding 239 pounds, which was more than 55% of his body weight – impressive indeed! Cahill competed against 15 other contestants over a period of 13 weeks to emerge victoriously.
At present, Cahill weighs 295 pounds compared to the 430 pounds he weighed when he joined The Biggest Loser, so he’s managed to keep a good amount of that weight off. Cahill was so passionate about weight loss that he became a motivational weight loss speaker after the show ended.
Season 9 Winner: Michael Ventrella (2010)
Micheal Ventrella accomplished something extraordinary on The Biggest Loser – that is something more extraordinary than the usual. Ventrella was the heaviest of all contestants to have ever participated in the show, and yes, he won the ninth season.
Ventrella weighed a whopping 526 pounds when he joined The Biggest Loser, and during the finale, he weighed only 262 pounds. He lost more than 50% of his body weight over 19 weeks, beating 21 contestants to emerge victoriously.
An interesting fact is NBC discontinued The Biggest Loser in 2017, and the show only resumed this year on USA Network. Some rules changed in the new format, especially one that left the winner disappointed – continue watching to know what it was. Also, don’t forget to hit the like and subscribe button if you’re enjoying this video. Also, hit the bell icon to stay updated with our latest content.
Season 10 Winner: Patrick House
Patrick House won the tenth season of The Biggest Loser by losing 181 pounds, or 45% of his body weight over 12 weeks, beating21 contestants. At present, House weighs 235 pounds compared to his initial 400 pounds, and he’s only gained 16 pounds since he won the show. House continues to be passionate about weight loss and has even written a book about his journey.
Season 11 Winner: Olivia Ward
Olivia Ward claimed the grand prize of $250,000 as of the winner of the eleventh season of The Biggest Loser. Ward beat 23 contestants by losing 129 pounds, almost half her body weight, over a period of 21 weeks.
Ward weighs about the same almost a decade later, so she’s managed to keep off the weight entirely -something almost none of the other contestants can claim to have done.
Season 12 Winner: John Rhode
The Biggest Loser’s twelfth seasonsaw 15 contestants battle it out over 13 weeks for the grand prize. John Rode emerged as the winner, having lost a shocking 220 pounds, which was roughly half his body weight when he joined. Rhode hasn’t disclosed his weight in many years, but from pictures, he seems to have maintained the weight loss. Rhode is still passionate about fitness and health.
Season 13 Winner: Jeremy Britt
Jeremy Britt won the thirteenth season of The Biggest Loser by losing almost 200 pounds over 16 weeks. By successfully losing more than half his body weight, Britt was able to beat 19 contestants for the grand prize.
Britt claims he has been working to maintain his weight loss since then. Since he chooses to remain quiet and maintain a low profile, one can only guess how successful he’s been at it.
Season 14 Winner: Danni Allen
Danni Allen won the fourteenth season of The Biggest Loser by losing 121 pounds over 12 weeks. Allen beat 14 other contestants by shedding a little less than half her body weight. Allen’s apparently gained some 10 pounds back since then, but she seems to be in great shape. She remains passionate about fitness and weight loss and even has her own yoga studio.
Season 15 Winner: Rachel Fredrickson
The Biggest Loser’s fifteenth season saw 15 contestants battle it out in a fierce weight loss competition that lasted 15 weeks. Rachel Fredrickson emerged victorious after losing 155 pounds or almost 60% of her body weight – a figure that’s almost unheard of! Fredrickson has apparently gained 20 pounds since then, but she’s in great shape since she had anyway lost too much during the show.
Season 16 Winner: Toma Dobrosavljevil
Toma Dobrosavljevil won the grand prize for the six teeth season of The Biggest Loser by beating 19 contestants. Dobrosavljevil lost 171 pounds, which was more than half her body weight, over a period of 18 weeks. At present, it seems Dobrosavljevil has managed to keep the pounds off even five years later.
Season 17 Winner: Roberto Hernandez
The seventeenth season of The Biggest Loser saw 16 contestants fight for the grand prize, with a live finale. Roberto Hernandez beat the competition by losing 160 pounds, or 45% of his body weight, over a period of 13 weeks.
Hernandez said he’d gained 40 pounds only six months after the show ended, but he claimed to be alright with the weight gain since he was trying to build muscle. At present, he’s still struggling to keep the pounds off. Unlike others who fault the show, Hernandez blames the weight back on his lack of control.
Season 18 Winner: Jim DiBattista
The reigning Biggest Loser is Jim DiBattista, who beat 11 contestants by losing 144 pounds, or 37% of his body weight, over a period of 10 weeks. The eighteenth season switched from NBC to USA Network, along with a bunch of other changes, one of which was a smaller grand prize. DiBattista only took home $100,000 compared to the $250,000 his predecessors took.
So there you have it, a look back on the winners of The Biggest Loser over the years and how they’re doing today. While losing those many pounds is impressive, to begin with, those who’ve actually managed to keep them off over the years are truly inspirational.
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