Discouraged by The Biggest Loser outcomes?

Discouraged by The Biggest Loser outcomes?


Based on the recent media coverage of The Biggest Loser (TBL) study results, you might be discouraged, thinking “why should I bother, if my metabolism will just end up being lower?”

Bariatric physicians across the nation reacted with insight and far more positive statements:

Dr. Barbara Berkeley, a long time bariatrician and author of “Refuse to Regain,” states that maintenance is probably the most important part of weight loss, and little has been done to help people achieve it.  If you read only the New York Times article, you might believe that it is inevitable that you will gain your weight back, and you should give up on any efforts to get healthier.  According to Dr. Berkeley, there are some major flaws in the article, and she details the following:

Danny Cahill, portrayed in the article as a failure, started at 430 pounds, and his current weight of 295 is still 130 pounds below starting.

Amanda Arlauskas had a starting weight of 250, and she’s keeping off 74 pounds with her current weight of 176.

Tracy Yukich started at 250 amd os mpw 178, 72 pounds lighter.

Two others were cited:  Rudy Pauls started at 442 and had bariatric surgery because of his weight regain.  Sean Algaier started at 444 and gained all of it back, but he is 450 now, not grossly heavier than he started.

Medical guidelines for weight loss state that a loss of as little as 10% of body weight improves health and risk factors.  Bariatric surgeons define successful surgical weight loss as loss that is equal to or greater than 50% of excess body weight, which means that if a person is 100 pounds over desirable body weight, a 50 pound loss is considered success.

Bariatric physician Dr. Linda Anegawa pointed out a number of issues from the study:  the dieters’ insulin resistance/ metabolic syndrome tendencies; body image and admustment to a new frame size; prevalence of eating disorders undetected; and there was no reference made to any kind of weight maintenance protocol for TBL alumni.

Dr. Claudia Huegel agrees with the points mentioned above, but she added that the article did talk about obesity as a complex disease, and the more publicity it gets, the more possibility that research dollars will go into treatment developments.  She pointed out that bariatric physicians have many success stories, despite the challenges of the complex disease.


Dr. Berkeley summed it up this way:  If our patients do have a slower metabolism, a significant decrease in carbohydrate consumption during weight maintenance makes the difference.  “Weight gain and hunger are modulated by a number of factors, but insulin--the hormone that pours forth in response to carbohydrate-- is a major player.  Keeping insulin at bay with a lower carb diet depresses hunger and fat storage.  Our patients who adopt a more primal diet which is low in sugars and starches do well in maintenance.  Combined with behavioral strategies to reverse small regains, a good amount of physical activity, ongoing support and an assiduous avoidance of addictive foods, we have a good recipe for successful maintenance without ever worrying about metabolic rate.”

At Medical Weight Management Center, we help you lose weight, and we have continuous support to help you keep it off .  Call 952-835-2132 or go to our website, www.medicalweightcenter.com to contact our Registered Dietitian.  You can get complete details of our plan. 




Success Stories

Tim's OPTIFAST® success story

Photos of Tim before (left) and after (right) joining the OPTIFAST® program
through Medical Weight Management Center


"The best part of my physical change? For the first time in 16 years I've known my wife, she can give me a complete hug. She was never able to clasp her hands around me before.”

My Weight Loss Journey – Tim of Minnesota

"The New You contest is perfectly named because after following the OPTIFAST program for 17 weeks, I lost 101.3 pounds. I feel completely transformed in body, mind and soul.

Let's start with the body. When I got on the scale on December 27th, 2013, I weighed 390 pounds. If I didn't do something, the Old Me was going to flip my weight odometer past 400 by Valentine's Day. The New Me was not in love with that idea.

So I reached out to Karen Holtmeier of the Medical Weight Management Center in Edina, MN. I told her how everyone had been telling me to just get gastric bypass surgery and that I thought re-arranging my plumbing probably wasn't a good long-term solution for me. I needed mental readjustment too. When she explained the simplicity of the meal replacement plan, I felt free already. It was like a food-intervention. My diet was a no-brainer: 7 shakes a day.

Now I'm walking at least 7K (4.35 miles) 4 to 6 days a week. Exercise used to make me sick. Now I don't feel well unless I get my workout in. Talk about a New Me!That allowed me to put more focus on starting an exercise program, which I knew was equally important to succeed. I started walking on the treadmill and the first week I worked out 6 days and went 9.84 miles. It was very difficult, but at least I was moving towards the New Me.

They took measurements at Medical Weight Management Center to remind me of how my hard work was paying off. My waist went from 63 inches to 50, my hips from 55 to 46, my chest from 56 to 47, my neck from 18 to 15.25, my thigh from 23 to 21, my calf from 20 to 18. I dropped from a 5XL shirt size to a 3XL. My pants size dropped from a 48 to a 38. But the best part of my physical change? For the first time in 16 years I've known my wife, she can give me a complete hug. She was never able to clasp her hands around me before.

My mindset and confidence has completely changed. I used to give up quickly on diets and go back to my Old Me way. Not this time. I set weight loss and fitness goals to keep myself motivated. The weekly OPTIFAST group meetings helped me understand what other people's experiences were in the program, and dietary education with the nutritionist will help me maintain my new lifestyle by making better choices.

All the medical issues I had before I started OPTIFAST like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, kidney stones, low energy, being on the brink of weight-induced diabetes, were gone or greatly diminished. My blood pressure went from 176/107 to 102/70. Because of that, my blood pressure medication was cut in half. My LDL Cholesterol dropped by 44 points. I don't snore anymore, (probably from that 2-inch neck fat loss), and I sleep so much better. And so does my wife!

OPTIFAST not only saved my life, it enhanced it. Even though I am almost 26% smaller, I feel like 10 times the person I was. I am actually inspiring others with my diet and exercise! What? Talk about a New Me. That would have never happened to the Old Me.

The best part is my OPTIFAST journey is not even complete. I want to lose 50 more pounds by the end of the year. So I look forward to meeting the Newer Me soon!"

Deb's OPTIFAST® success story

Photos of Deb after (TOP) and before (BOTTOM PHOTO) joining the OPTIFAST® program
through Medical Weight Management Center

Deb after weight loss with OPTIFAST

Deb before



My Weight Loss Journey – Deb P. of Bloomington, MN

I was lucky: I was a relatively healthy overweight person but concerned about my future health as well as increasing my mobility.

As a result of having had childhood polio, I use a wheelchair to get around, paired with forearm crutches. I do upper body exercises (weight training and archery) to maintain strength, but I just couldn’t burn enough calories to lose the fat. On top of that, I am less than five feet tall. I regularly lost — and then gained — the same 10 pounds! I have had weight challenges most of my life.

My annual physical resulted in normal cholesterol levels and good blood pressure readings. Phew! But my health was changing: My blood sugar levels were into the pre-diabetic range, and I just couldn’t change them. Fortunately they weren’t bad enough to need medications, but it was a concern and I wanted to be able to get around easier. I really needed to get the weight off!

In 2010 I decided to try it on my own, once again. Even with a personal exercise trainer, watching my calories and eating more protein I still wasn’t losing the weight.

Before Labor Day 2011 I got an email from OPTIFAST®, encouraging me to join. I talked with my husband; we decided to see if OPTIFAST® could help me.

During my first visit I could tell OPTIFAST® was going to be different than my previous diet experiences. In those early weeks, the support, education, medical evaluation and positive attitude I received from the clinic staff allowed me to really trust them with my health. I love the nutrition support they give: I thought I was carb sensitive and in fact I’m ‘insulin resistant’ (carbs are not broken down well and are turn into fat). It made so much sense! They help me make wise choices when difficult social eating situations come up, as well as teaching how to maintain weight loss once goals are met.

I am happy to say that all my lab tests are now in the normal range (or better!). As a result of losing 75 pounds – and 45 inches – I get around with greater ease. And — as a bonus — although I am over 40, people tell me that I am looking younger!

UPDATE From Deb: 

“October 2013… Here I am, at a little over 2 years on my journey. 20+ pounds lighter than when I last ‘checked in’ for a total of 94 pounds lost and aiming to get to 105 pounds lost so I will be at my high school weight. 

“Thank you to the team at Medical Weight Management Center and OPTIFAST® for their support. By having registered dietitians to share how the science influences our nutritional choices, and to educate us on the right foods, I know I can maintain this for life.

“I have lost 6.6 pounds since July, and even better--two inches off my waist and two inches off my hips. My lab results are good too!! I am more active than ever, working out at the gym 3-5 times a week, and it’s also been fun trying other activities. I can now do things I never would have tried since I have more mobility! (See picture of Deb on the three-wheeled, Can-Am she rode recently). From my full story above, you see I have physical challenges.”

 Deb at Can-Am ride


David's Success Story

Bob's Success Story

OPTIFAST® success story in the news!!

My name is Marsha G and this is my story.  In 2000 I was at what I thought was my heaviest weight ever.  I was desperate to lose weight... Read my weight loss story

My name is Jannette and I am 38 years old.  I have been struggling with my weight since I was a child.  I grew up watching my mother... Read my weight loss story

After I had quit drinking alcohol two years ago, I thought I had eliminated thousands of calories each week.  By adding exercise... Read my weight loss story

My name is Fran, and I started the Optifast program in January of 1998.  I lost 160 pounds and have maintained for eight years.  I'm five foot four and 124 pounds... Read my weight loss story

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Medical Weight Management Center is proud to serve Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and the entire Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. Lose pounds today using a safe, medically monitored program that fits your budget, your schedule and your goals.


Medical Weight Management Center
6009 Wayzata Blvd, Suite 116
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
(952) 835-2132


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