Rachel Frederickson: The "controversial storm" after I won 'The Biggest Loser' was hurtful and I had low self-esteem
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/09/2014
Rachel Frederickson won The Biggest Loser's fifteenth season by dropping down to a controversial 105 pounds after which she dodged questions about taking things too far, and now, she's finally opening up about how the "too skinny" backlash affected her life.
Frederickson, 24, began The Biggest Loser at 260 pounds but lost 155 pounds -- nearly 60 percent of her body weight -- over the course of the show, shocking fans and her trainers. Although she told Us Weekly in April all the criticism following her transformation was "a gift" because "it started a discussion about body image," she apparently was sugarcoating her true feelings.
In an essay she wrote for the Today show, Frederickson discussed the painful post-finale backlash in tabloids and on social media.
"[At the ranch], it was hard listening to the voices that tried to bring me down, but I was determined to never give up. When I stood on stage at the live finale, I had never felt stronger. I had accomplished everything I wanted to do. I was extremely proud of myself. That moment didn't last long," the voiceover artist wrote.
"Comments during the controversial storm following my weight loss were hurtful. 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."
The Biggest Loser viewers weren't the only ones talking about Frederickson's drastic weight-loss earlier this year.
"I was furious on a bunch of different levels because I felt like, how did we not know?" trainer Jillian Michaels told The Tennessean newspaper in late February. "How did the show fail her? It's obvious we believe she's too thin. It's absurd on many levels."
Fellow The Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper agreed with Michaels, saying he was "stunned" by her slim appearance. Likewise, Dolvett Quince -- who worked closely with Frederickson during her experience on the show -- suggested at the time his client's "journey to good health has not yet ended."
As of early April, Frederickson had revealed she put on 20 more pounds and was very content at 125 pounds. She overcame most of the negativity in her life, including an ex-boyfriend who ruined her self-esteem and was mainly responsible for her initial weight gain prior to her stint on The Biggest Loser.
"To the voices of those who tried to lift me up after the finale, I thank you!... There will always be other voices in life. The trouble comes when you stop listening to your own," Frederickson said in her Today essay.
"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!"