First Lady Michelle Obama & The Biggest Loser

First Lady Michelle Obama: Please Do Not Appear on the Biggest Loser and Instead Engage with the Advocacy Communities Specializing in Weight Stigma

Several months ago I wrote a blog post about why I am not a fan of the TV show The Biggest Loser (TBL). Last week I heard that first lady Michelle Obama might make an appearance on the show to promote her (in my opinion) misguided but well-intended Let’s Move campaign. And when I heard this news, my heart broke.

I’m going to get right to the point. TBL stigmatizes fat people. Stigmatization leads to discrimination. And when people feel stigmatized their physical, mental, and emotional health declines. Just to prevent any confusion, I want to clarify a couple of things:

  • I support the pursuit of health
  • I support making lifestyle modifications that lead to more nutritious eating and physical activity
  • And most importantly- I support behavioral changes that are EFFECTIVE and not harmful.

And this is why I cannot support TBL. It is entertainment that is harmful because:

  • Research is clear, TBL increases anti-fat attitudes and weight stigma
  • All the research we have indicates that when viewers watch TBL it doesn’t actually lead to positive behavior change such as increased exercise
  • Contestants on TBL actually experience a severe drop in metabolism, burning fewer than 504 calories on average.
  • A recent study showed that as many as 90% of contestants on the show purportedly regain all their lost weight
  • Contestants on the show are at risk of developing eating disorders since they are asked to engage in severe over-exercise while consuming a semi-starvation diet
  • TBL advocates for such extreme behaviors that actually put people at risk for future weight gain

Please consider joining with me to oppose the first lady, Michelle Obama, from appearing on TBL. You can:


  1. Excellent petition it is absolutely disgraceful as a mother of two daughters that she would consider supporting that show.

  2. It’s a nice thought to stop this, but she has already been actively involved in the show (having contestants visit the White House and their personal vegetable garden… I think they worked out together). She has already wholeheartedly endorsed the TBL’s methods.

  3. Hate the show and concept of it and love your post wish mrs Obama could see it. It really hits me more now than ever before how tragic life can be with an eating disorder and society promotes them with reality shows like biggest loser. I would love to share my horror story with mrs Obama in front of her daughters!!!

  4. Totally valid point Tempest. The very large network of people trying to dissuade the 1st Lady’s support of TBL are aware of her previous and what looks like continued involvement. But the cause we believe still feels worthwhile!

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