A former contestant on The Biggest Loser claims the show destroyed her life.
Suzanne Mendonca, who was on the weight loss show in the second season, revealed that trainers encouraged drug use and starved her prior to weigh-ins.
And she isn’t the only former contestant speaking out.
According to Breitbart, Mendonca has gained back all of the weight she lost on the show. Now that she is speaking out about what happened behind-the-scenes, Mendonca is preparing to take her case to court.
“[Producers] dehydrated us. They told us not to drink for 48 hours before weigh-in,” Mendonca shared. “We would only eat 800 calories a day, and we’d actually work out eight hours a day. And — if you were me — I vomited every day, and they didn’t seem to think that there was a problem with that.”
Jen Watts, another contestant from Season 2, supported Mendonca’s story.
Along with training eight hours a day, Watts claims that the pressure led her to abuse anti-anxiety and antidepressant medication. Eventually, her marriage crumbled.
During The Biggest Loser: Couples in 2008, Joelle Gwynn accused trainer Bob Harper of giving her yellow jacket pills to help lose weight fast.
“People would take amphetamines, water pills, diuretics, and throw up in the bathroom… They would take their spin bikes into the steam room to work up a sweat. I vomited every single day. Bob Harper tells people to throw up: ‘Good,’ he says. ‘You’ll lose more calories.’ “
When opening up to the NY Post, Mendonca went on to reveal that producers rigged weigh-ins to promote more interesting contestants.
Mendonca claims that doctors tried to get interesting contestants to drink baking soda to combat the effects of dehydration.
Baking soda causes the body to retain more water, which would add to the contestant’s weight.
“There are contestants who are more outspoken, cause more drama, are more exciting, so why not want to keep those contestants around,” Mendonca, who made it to the fifth week, said. “You’re going to go with who’s going to make a better TV show.”
Mendonca added that Harper is the driving force behind the show’s questionable tactics. In reply, Harper denied any and all of the allegations made against The Biggest Loser.
“These allegations are absolutely false and are also in direct conflict with my lifelong devotion to health and fitness,” Harper stated.
According to the NY Daily News, Mendonca is so upset with the show that she is ready to file a class-action lawsuit. “They discarded us like yesterday’s trash,” she stated. “They need to be responsible for this bull***t.”
Mendonca, along with the other contestants that have spoken out, believe that The Biggest Loser is responsible for their weight gain and addictions following their departure.
Dr. Robert Huizenga agreed with Mendonca’s assessment.
Huizenga, who has worked as a doctor on the show, explained how the show needs to give former contestants more guidance after each season. This includes helping them find good trainers, sleep specialists, exercise doctors, and psychologists.
Despite the allegations, Biggest Loser producers continue to deny the use of drugs on the show. Not only do producers discourage the use of weight loss drugs, but they assured fans that they follow a strict set of rules and guidelines for each contestant.
“The safety and well-being of our contestants is, and has always been, paramount. Contestants are told at the start of the show that there is zero tolerance for any weight loss drugs,” a joint statement read. “We prohibit the use of any illegal substances, in addition to the many other rules and procedures of the show that are designed to ensure safety.”
Tell us! Do you think Biggest Loser producers should give former contestants more guidance after the show to help them keep the weight off? Let us know in the comments below.
[Image via NBC Universal]