"The Biggest Loser" winner Rachel Frederickson feels fantastic after her 155-pound weight loss, and dismissed reports that she's suffering from the eating disorders anorexia or bulimia.
"It was absolutely healthy weight loss," Frederickson told the Today Show Feb. 26. "I dieted and exercised and did it healthy the whole way."
Rachel looked healthier on her "Today Show" interview, and sported a fuller face than the gaunt, drawn appearance she had on "The Biggest Loser" finale Feb. 5. She appears to have gained a few pounds, and looks a lot better.
The 5-foot-4 Frederickson, who previously weighed 260 pounds, slimmed down to 105 pounds and was named the winner of season 15 of "The Biggest Loser."
According to the body mass index chart, Rachel is technically underweight. Her emaciated body on finale night fueled rumors her extreme weight loss was due to the eating disorders anorexia or bulimia.
Frederickson's skeletal appearance even drew alarmed gasps from trainers Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper on finale night. Harper later confessed he was "stunned" by Rachel's drastic weight loss. Jillian called her weight loss extreme and "too much."
Meanwhile, Frederickson's trainer, Dolvett Quince, author of The 3-1-2-1 Diet, said Rachel lost weight the healthy way, and asked fans not to jump to conclusions.
Frederickson has insisted all along that she did not resort to starvation or excessive exercise, saying she followed a 1,600-calorie-a-day diet and worked out up to 8 hours a day. The former competitive swimmer said she walked for hours every day at a treadmill desk, squeezed in daily gym workouts, and took Zumba and spinning classes.
Looking back, she understands people's concerns, but insists she was — and remains — perfectly healthy. "I appreciate all the concern, and I can see where it comes from," said Frederickson. "There is the 'movie magic.' It was over the course of seven months. I was very unhealthy at 260 pounds. Now, post-finale, I'm the healthiest, most alive I've ever felt."
Rachel's super-skinny appearance has 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 saying they will tweak the weight-loss competition to provide more support and check-ins for the contestants after they leave the Biggest Loser ranch.