With the recent controversy surrounding Rachel Frederickson’s extreme weight loss on The Biggest Loser, it’s time to shed light on the proper (and safe) way to lose weight. For those unfamiliar with reality television, The Biggest Loser centers around overweight contestants attempting to lose weight to win a cash prize. The winner, whoever loses the highest percentage of weight, is given the title “the Biggest Loser,” along with a cool cash prize of a quarter million dollars. This past season’s winner, Rachel Frederickson, has stirred up much press when she dropped 60% of her bodyweight, going from an original weight of 260 lbs. down to a meager 105 in roughly 7 months—a new record for the show.

Rachel reportedly exercised for at least six hours a day and ate a diet of only 1,600 calories per day. Despite her claims that this workout/diet routine mimicked that of an athlete—did she go too far? Perhaps. This extreme decrease in weight certainly points to unhealthy habits. Each body is unique and it’s important to be aware of what you can and cannot handle when trying to lose some pounds. WebMD advises aiming to lose 1-2 pounds per week—if you’re looking to shed weight—anything extremely more can be too much, too fast. Fad diets are inadvisable, as they can often be unhealthy and don’t usually last. Burning 500 more calories than you eat every day for a week should be sufficient to help you lose 1-2 pounds safely. Doing slightly more to lose weight, such as eating 1,200 calories a day and exercising for one hour each day could help you lose 3 or more pounds a week—but this can be inadvisable for many people, depending on their unique health conditions.

Eating healthily is a key component to losing weight properly. Focusing on fruits, vegetables, egg whites, soy products, poultry, fish, nonfat dairy, and 95% lean meat is a great start. Drinking plenty of water, eradicating tempting foods from your home, not skipping meals, and staying busy are all other tips to help you reach your goal. While it is unclear if Rachel Frederickson lost weight healthily, it is important to monitor the limits of your body closely. Consulting with your doctor and devising a healthy weight loss or weight management plan will help ensure you’re losing the weight in a proper and safe way.

Sources: CBS News and WebMD

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