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Bob Harper: 'Biggest Loser' will change rules after Rachel's anorexia scandal

Bob Harper: 'Biggest Loser' will change after Rachel's anorexia scandal
Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

Bob Harper said "The Biggest Loser" will revamp its rules following the anorexia backlash caused by season 15 winner Rachel Frederickson. Harper, who has been a trainer on "The Biggest Loser" for the past 15 seasons, said producers want to avoid another extreme weight loss controversy.

“After the shock of that weight loss, the producers are in meetings right now trying to figure out how it can be regulated more,” Bob told the NYPost. “I think you are going to be seeing new rule. I hope Rachel is good, I hope she is happy.”

Rachel Denied Anorexia, Regained 20 Pounds

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."

Rachel's emaciated body on finale night (Feb. 5) stirred rumors that she was suffering from the eating disorder anorexia or bulimia, but she insisted her weight loss was healthy, and she did not starve herself.

Frederickson has since regained 20 pounds and now weighs a healthy 125 pounds. Rachel, 24, was stunned by the onslaught of criticism surrounding her extreme weight loss, but said the backlash has made her more self-confident.

"That's what I wanted to go on the 'Biggest Loser' for, to find my confidence and my self-worth, and I have found it!" she said. "I found it when I stepped on that stage. And through the backlash and the controversy, I'm helping others find theirs, too."

Frederickson's skeletal appearance on finale night drew stunned gasps 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 Slim For Life. "We, as trainers, are allowed to talk to our contestants when they go home. Rachel [was] Dolvett's contestant."

Jillian said she stays in touch with her contestants after they leave the Biggest Loser ranch to monitor their progress, so Quince should have kept tabs to make sure that Frederickson's weight loss wasn't extreme or unhealthy.

Meanwhile, Quince, the author of the bestselling The 3-1-2-1 Diet, insisted Rachel lost weight the healthy way and asked fans not to jump to conclusions.

Bob: Extreme Diets and Weight Loss Are Hard to Maintain

Harper said while it's important for contestants to lose weight, it's equally important to be healthy and be able to maintain their weight loss permanently.

“You don’t want to ever go too extreme, because what’s going to happen? You’re going to get burned out," said Bob, author of Skinny Meals: Everything You Need to Lose Weight Fast! "So you find a certain amount of balance to be able to sustain this lifestyle.”

Frederickson's super-skinny appearance caused outrage among "Biggest Loser" fans, who said selecting a winner who looked unhealthy sends the wrong message. In response, show executives said they will tweak the weight-loss competition to provide more support and check-ins for the contestants after they leave the Biggest Loser ranch.

Despite the avalanche of criticism she has faced, Rachel is glad to have opened up a debate on body image and healthy weight loss. "It started a discussion about body image," she said.

"I have so many people who will come up to me and say, 'Thank you. I've been criticized for being too thin or too tall or whatever — and now I can stand up and be proud and not let that affect me. Now I can really love myself. I think that's pretty powerful."

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