The Biggest Loser trainers looked aghast when an emaciated Rachel Frederickson took the stage in this season’s finale. The winner of the show had lost a record 60 percent of her body weight (155 pounds), putting her BMI below a level that doctors consider healthy. Now, in a new interview with People magazine, Frederickson concedes she may have taken her training regimen too far.
“Maybe I was a little too enthusiastic in my training to get to the finale,” she says in the interview published Wednesday. Frederickson is now 5’4″ and 105 pounds (down from 260), putting her BMI at 18.0. Doctors consider below 18.5 BMI to be underweight, and the fashion industry in places like Israel and Madrid forbid models with a BMI under 18.5 from walking the runway.
Frederickson told People that for three months before the show’s finale, she worked out for six hours every day and stuck to a 1,600 calories-per-day diet.
When Frederickson revealed her new figure in the final episode of this season, fans took to social media to complain that the show had pushed her too far. Frederickson didn’t look healthy but dangerously skinny, they said. Twitter and health blogs speculated that Frederickson had likely developed an eating disorder in trying to win the $250,000 prize money. It wouldn’t be the first time: Kai Hibbard, who was a finalist on the show’s third season, told Jezebel that competing on the show had given her an eating disorder.
But when People asked Frederickson if she had an eating disorder, she just said, “I am very, very healthy.”
The show’s producers are backing up up Frederickson. “Rachel passed all the required medical tests ensuring she was healthy,” said Dave Broome, the show’s executive producer. The production team closely monitors contestants throughout their time on the show to ensure that they don’t go to extreme measures to win, Broome said.
Still, Frederickson’s trainer Dolvett Quince said he was “shocked” when he saw her on stage. “The first thing that went through my mind was, ‘That’s just too much,'” he said.