According to a Federal Trade Commission survey, an estimated 4.8 million consumers in the United States were victims of fraudulent weight loss products, and new research suggests that “The Biggest Loser” could be one of them.
Armando Gonzalez, who offers weight-loss counseling under the name Dr. Mondo, spoke just weeks after the release of new research about NBC reality show “The Biggest Loser.” The study had revealed that the majority of contestants who shed serious pounds during the program gained most or all of it back after returning home.
A New York Times article on the finding has caused outcry among viewers, leaving many weight loss hopefuls to wonder if they’re fighting a losing battle.
Gonzalez was not part of the recent study, but he conducted his own research on “Biggest Loser” contestants while writing his graduate dissertation in 2009. He conducted interviews with “Biggest Loser” participants and found that approximately 50% of people kept the weight off, while the other 50% gain it back.
While the new study focused on the physiological factors that follow drastic weight loss and make maintenance difficult, such as sluggish metabolisms and low levels of leptin, Gonzalez’s work since has revolved around the psychological struggles of people who experience the “yo-yo effect” of weight cycling.
While Gonzalez continues his research, another Sacramento institution is bringing a whole new perspective to exercise and weight loss.
Most people go to the gym to work off the pizza and beer. But at the Sacramento rock climbing gym Pipeworks, they’ll soon be able to climb and indulge in a slice and a pint all in the same place.
“People won’t leave me alone about it. They’re really excited. I probably answer the question, when are you guys going to open the brewery 20 times a day,” Pipeworks manager Vaughn Medford said.
Medford says the idea started years ago, but at the time it seemed more like a pipe dream for Pipeworks. The company, however, now has 41,000 square feet of space in Sacramento’s River District, where dining is sparse. That made the idea of a pizza-and-beer spot all the more appetizing.
“It’s kind of the black hole for food — that’s my joke that I normally tell people. There’s not a lot of services here,” Medford said.
Ultimately, though, the goal is that Pintworks will bring gym members and climbers closer together.
While Medford is bringing people together with food, Gonzalez hopes to bring Americans together to combat the ever-present issue of obesity.
“The current weight-loss conversation in America is too much about self-control and not enough about motivation,” he said.
Gonzalez said bringing psychological support to Sacramento organizations that help people lose weight is one of his main goals going forward.
“We have confetti and streamers, like on ‘The Biggest Loser,’ come down from the ceiling when you lose weight and we think, okay, great, see you later,” he said. “But the reality is there’s more than meets the eye from that transition. And there’s a problem with us not viewing weight loss as a life transition.”