Super intensive exercise-based weight loss programs shed pounds and reduce the risk (and sometimes cure) diabetes and other cardiovascular risk factors like blood pressure and cholesterol.

But is this intense of a program, as seen on ‘The Biggest Loser’, practical for the obese patient who presents to their Primary Care Doctor?

This reality TV exercise-centric program with only minor dietary restrictions resulted in a mean weight loss of 36% of starting body weight at 29 weeks.

The current belief of experts in this country is to recommend an attainable weight loss goal of only 5-10% for patients presenting to their Doctor for help.

After analyzing the results of 35 contestants from the show that elevated their usual work out times of 20 minutes per day to work outs consuming 3.7 hours per day the results are impressive:

  • 50% of the participants were prediabetic or diabetic at baseline and by 5 weeks all criteria for this had disappeared.
  • 77% were hypertensive (high blood pressure) and 46% on antihypertensive medications and by week 2 all participants were off the medications and normal blood pressures.
  • A mean weight loss of 51.8 kg (109 pounds) from baseline was seen at 29 weeks.

Contestants on the show received multidisciplinary support that is far from reality for the average obese American.

There is not a system in this country that can duplicate what is done on this ‘reality show’.

Can we afford this “Team” approach in the US? Or can we afford not to create a “Team” of allied health professionals to stop an epidemic of obesity that carries the biggest price tag of any other health condition.

There needs to be the development, implementation, and payer coverage of aggressive exercise-centric programs ‘as seen on TV’.

How can you start helping yourself before this “Team” is a reality?

  • Partner up with others to commit to daily exercise. There is always better success in numbers. Make it intense exercise.
  • Calorie count by showing accountability for everything you eat to maintain a reduced calorie diet. Always have calories in less than calories out. No processed foods.
  • Set weight loss goals that are challenging but realistic.
  • Be disciplined. This should be a permanent lifestyle change, not a temporary commitment.
  • Consult your Physician and have regular follow up appointments to assess your success and deal with injuries or issues that arise.