Rachel Frederickson, who won season 15 of “The Biggest Loser” after losing 155 pounds, says life is great now that she has gained 20 pounds and some much-needed perspective following her controversial win.
Frederickson, who was besieged with rumors that she was suffering from the eating disorders anorexia or bulimia following her “Biggest Loser” victory, said the backlash made her tougher and stronger, Examiner reported.
“Comments during the controversial storm following my weight loss were hurtful,” said Rachel. “My self-esteem once again was affected by other people’s voices — this time, the kind that live forever in Facebook posts or written in the pages of magazines. People tried to bring me down and (privately) succeeded. To the voices of those who tried to lift me up after the finale, I thank you!”
Frederickson said being accused of being anorexic when she wasn’t made her dig deep to overcome the barrage of negative press, and she hopes to encourage other people to listen to their own inner voices when they feel pressure from outside.
“There will always be other voices in life,” said Rachel. “The trouble comes when you stop listening to your own. I am committed to trusting my decisions and standing strong behind them. I found strength in this struggle and I am listening to my own voice again!”
Frederickson added: “2014 has been a year full of learning, changing and growing for me. I’ve been taking college classes, working in voice-over, walking dogs at the local shelter, training for my first marathon, and through my new career at DreamJobbing [a website that aids job search], I’m helping others change their story.”
The 5-foot-4 Rachel, who previously weighed 260 pounds, slimmed down to 105 pounds and was named the winner of season 15 of “The Biggest Loser” in February 2014.
Frederickson’s emaciated body on finale night immediately fueled rumors she was suffering from anorexia or bulimia, but she vehemently insisted that her weight loss was healthy, and she did not starve herself.
Rachel said she had followed a 1,600-calorie-a-day diet and worked out up to seven hours a day in the weeks leading up to the “Biggest Loser” finale.
Frederickson’s skeletal appearance drew alarmed reactions from longtime “Biggest Loser” trainers Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper. Jillian blamed Frederickson’s trainer, Dolvett Quince, for letting Rachel to go too far with her weight loss.
“I look to Dolvett to really answer to this,” said Michaels, author of the bestseller, Slim For Life. “I was shocked because no one told me or Bob, ‘Hey, Rachel’s 105 pounds.'”
Quince, author of the bestselling The 3-1-2-1 Diet, insisted that Rachel had lost weight the healthy way, and asked fans not to jump to conclusions.
Rachel’s super-skinny appearance caused outrage among “Biggest Loser” fans, who said selecting someone who looks unhealthy as the winner sends the wrong message.
Show executives responded to the criticism by tweaking the weight loss competition to provide more support and check-ins for the contestants after they leave the Biggest Loser ranch.