If you’ve been on a weight loss program or are trying to manage your weight on an ongoing basis, you’ve probably seen the recent publicity surrounding a study of contestants from the TV show “The Biggest Loser”. The study followed contestants from Season 8 for six years after the season ended. In a nutshell, the study found that the majority of the contestants gained back much, if not all the weight they lost and some weigh even more now than they did before the show. But the surprising results are not necessarily because the contestants fell back into old habits. In fact, many must now fight harder than the rest of us just to keep their weight stable. The reason has to do with their metabolism and how it is affected by the extreme weight loss that many Biggest Loser contestants experience. What happened to them is nicely explained in a recent article in the New York Times: “Researchers knew that just about anyone who deliberately loses weight — even if they start at a normal weight or even underweight — will have a slower metabolism when the diet ends. What shocked the researchers was what happened (after the show): As the years went by and the numbers on the scale climbed, the contestants’ metabolisms did not recover. They became even slower, and the pounds kept piling on. It was as if their bodies were intensifying their effort to pull the contestants back to their original weight.” This is one of the first long-term studies of the effects of major weight loss in a short time. As such, conclusions are difficult to make until the results are studied and other research is conducted. But that hasn’t stopped a deluge of articles and reports in the media stating that exercising for weight loss doesn’t work and long-term weight loss is impossible.