“The Biggest Loser” has become a reality show phenomenon; a competition that viewers can not only follow, but might be inspired by to begin their own weight loss journey. In recent years, the show has seen its share of drama, not just between the contestants but with the coaches as well. Late last year, celebrity contestant Ruben Studdard was brought back after being kicked off because of a misstep by coach Jillian Michaels.
But the show has never seen anything quite like the finale that aired on Tuesday night, when 24-year old Rachel Frederickson stepped out onto the stage to reveal a dramatic 155-pound weight loss. After losing almost 60% of her body weight–going from 260 lbs. to 105–Frederickson shocked the audience and the trainers, who couldn’t contain their expressions when they saw her thin frame. According to the National Institute of Health, Frederickson is now considered to be underweight due to her petite stature.
After the show aired, an immediate backlash began on the web regarding Frederickson’s extreme weight loss, with some calling her “anorexic” and urging her to get help. But when she appeared on “Access Hollywood Live” later, she explained that she feels she’s right where she needs to be.
“My journey was about finding that confident girl and little by little, challenge by challenge that athlete came out and it sparked inside that feeling that I can do anything,” she said of her record-breaking weight loss.
Frederickson says she lost herself because of a relationship, and now that she’s regained her athleticism, she doesn’t want to look back. After not going out on a date for six years, the time had come for a dramatic change.
“I used to be a swimmer and I was in a relationship and I stopped swimming for a relationship,” she said. “And I lost the self-confidence and self-worth…I feel so alive and energetic. You don’t ever have to hide that light, just let it shine.”
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