Kai Hibbard was a participant on The Biggest Loser in 2006. When the 5 foot 6 inch tall 26-year-old went on the show she weighed 265 pounds (left). By the time the show’s trainers had finished, she weighed 144 lbs (right). For a total 121 lbs loss.
However, she says, the show is unethical in every way so she’s spilling its secrets.
She auditioned for the show after a close friend called her out on her weight gain. “[The friend] said, ‘Hey, I love you, but you’re super-fat right now,’” recalled Kai in an interview with the New York Post. So she decided to go on The Biggest Loser to get her weight under control. “I made a videotape,” Kai says, “and the next thing I know, I’m on a reality TV show.”
However, her experience was not a positive one. ‘The whole f**king show is a fat-shaming disaster that I’m embarrassed to have participated in” she exclaims.
She recalls how, upon arriving in Los Angeles ahead of filming, the production assistant who greeted her at the hotel promptly confiscated her key card. Kai and the other contestants were not allowed to leave the hotel when they were not filming. “The hotel will report to them if you leave your room,” Kai reveals. “They assume you’re going to talk to other contestants.”
Another, unnamed, contestant reveals her cell phone and laptop were confiscated for the first 24 hours and she suspects her devices were bugged. “The camera light on my MacBook would sometimes come on when I hadn’t checked in,” said the unnamed female former contestant. “It was like Big Brother was always watching you.”
Once production started, they were not allowed to phone home. Except six weeks in when they could make a five-minute call monitored by producers. Or else “You might give away show secrets,” Kai said.
At first, she didn’t complain. “You just think you’re so lucky to be there,” Kai admits, “that you don’t think to question or complain about anything.” She reveals she signed a contract that surrendered her rights to control her story arc on the show or badmouth the show afterward.
They immediately started doing overlong workouts. For example, five to eight hours straight. “There was no easing into it,” Kai says. “That doesn’t make for good TV. My feet were bleeding through my shoes for the first three weeks.” When contestants complained of pain, illness or not being able to continue, they were berated into working out some more. Trainers allegedly enjoyed watching people suffer and told contestants to keep smoking to suppress their appetites or else they might die of obesity before their kids grow up.
Contestants who dropped out due to serious injury or illness were edited to look bad. Ordered to rest by doctors, others would continue to work out or risk being dropped from the show.
Her health has not recovered since being on the show. After all, “My hair was falling out,” recalls Kai. “My period stopped. I was only sleeping three hours a night.”