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How Exercise Affects Metabolism and Weight Loss - The New York Times

Phys Ed

A new analysis of data from “The Biggest Loser” highlights the complex ways the body compensates when we drop pounds.

A scene from Season 16 of the NBC reality show ldquo;The Biggest Loserrdquo; in 2014.
A scene from Season 16 of the NBC reality show “The Biggest Loser” in 2014. Credit... Trae Patton/NBC

Gretchen Reynolds

Published Dec. 15, 2021 Updated Dec. 20, 2021

Many of us remember “The Biggest Loser,” the somewhat notorious reality television show that ran for more than a decade starting in 2004, in which contestants competed feverishly to drop massive amounts of weight over a short period of time. One of the biggest lessons of the show appeared to be that extreme exercise, along with draconian calorie restriction, would lead to enormous weight loss.

Media coverage of the contestants years later, though, seemed to tell a different story, of weight regain and slowed metabolisms and the futility of attempting long-term weight loss.