Lessons Learned from the Biggest Loser

Millions of us abuse our bodies emotionally and physically every day.  The fact is we engage in harsh self talk, radical strategies, or strategies that work for someone else and at the end of the day end up frustrated and feeling hopeless in the war against weight loss.  This is happening all across America.  A recent article from the New York Times shed light on The Biggest Loser Contestants and the problems that resulted following their radical experiences on the show.

Kevin Hall, a scientist at a federal research center followed the Biggest Loser contestants for six years after their journey with the goal of measuring what happened to them after they lost enormous amounts of weight quickly.  Today we’re going to look at lessons learned from the research and how you can apply it to your own life.

Since we here at Canyon Hoops make dance and fitness hula hoops, you may be wondering how this is all going to tie in with hooping.  There are important lessons learned that you can take and apply today to help you in your own wellness journey…AND how your decision to hula hoop either for dance or fitness is a VERY smart strategy, both short and long term in the battle against obesity.

Let’s first take a look at the recent New York Times Article that led many people to throw up their hands and say “Why Bother?”  After all, the article reported that 13 of the 14 contestants studied regained weight in the six years after the competition.  And these were individuals with nutritionists, trainers, and doctors at their disposal.  Four contestants are heavier now than before the competition.  And while these statistics are startling, they aren’t SURPRISING given the extreme nature of their weight loss.  These were severely obese individuals that were put on very restrictive diets and engaged in hours upon hours of intense exercise every day.

And truthfully, that’s not far off from how most of us approach the war on weight loss, right?  It begins with the “I need to eat less and move more mentality”.  Unfortunately, this can lead to the exact opposite on the scale. Your body is very adaptive, and even though YOU KNOW what you’re trying to accomplish, your body is simply trying to maintain the status quo – hold on to the fat and don’t let go.

So when you begin a weight loss program centered around an eat less and exercise more strategy, this combination kicks off a host of hormonal and brain changes that make you crave more, eat more, and drop how many calories you burn overall, so that you will maintain your fat stores.   Exactly what the Biggest Loser contestants experienced after they left the show.

Even if you are successful at losing weight using an eat less exercise more strategy, the rebound effect works against you.  In fact by some estimates, more than 80 percent of people who have lost weight regain it within two years.  Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles analyzed 31 long-term diet studies and found that about two-thirds of dieters regained more weight within four or five years than they initially lost.  Also what the Biggest Loser contestants experienced after they left the show.

Not only does eating less and exercising more backfire over the long term, but the TYPE of exercise you choose greatly impacts your overall mood, cravings, energy and hunger – all of which are major overlooked players in the weight loss game.


Traditional cardio workouts have been the gold standard of weight loss and are where most people will start on a weight loss plan.  These types of longer duration exercises can increase both your hunger and cravings, and unfortunately put the brakes on fat burning.

This type of cardio can create both psychological and physiological traps.   Because you spend an hour exercising, subconsciously you overestimate the importance of your workout and can overeat.  In addition, these types of workouts can trigger hunger and cravings which can show up hours after your workout.

Examples of these types of exercises include:

  • Running
  • Biking
  • Elliptical Workouts
  • Group Fitness Classes
  • Jogging
  • Walking at a Faced Pace

Adding insult to injury, if you are already overweight, you likely have some metabolic damage that can increase cravings and hunger on a daily basis.  When you add in traditional cardio, it can amplify the effect.  Is this affecting you?  You need to become a Sherlock Holmes of sorts to monitor and see if this is impacting your hunger your cravings and slowing your results.

POPULAR INTERVAL TRAINING, OR HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

High intensity interval training is very trendy right now.  You might think of workouts like:

  • Metabolic conditioning,
  • Cross Fit,
  • Interval Training,
  • Sprint conditioning,
  • Intense Bodyweight training programs

These types of workouts are typically done through quick intense burst of exercise, followed by short recovery periods.

This type of training has become very popular in the past couple of years for its efficiency, by increasing heart rate quickly and burning more fat in less time.  In the short term, these workouts can decrease your hunger and cravings, but can INCREASE them later in the day.  If afternoon cravings are particularly troublesome, this is an area to pay attention to.


The good news is that you can become smarter, more efficient with your time, and more effective with your workouts so that your body can burn fat efficiently without causing you to constantly crave and burn through your willpower.

In the past few years, we’ve seen a resurgence in hula hooping as a popular form of exercise, and there’s good reason.  Few workouts can deliver the benefits that hooping can.  Waist hooping and basic hoop dance is both low in intensity and relaxing.  And this combination is ideal to shut down your hunger and cravings, in combination with smart nutrition strategies.  Hula hooping does this in a few surprising ways:

  1. Lowers Cortisol:

Because hula hooping increases the feel good neurochemicals in your brain and decreases your stress hormone cortisol (this hormone plays a role in women’s belly fat), it’s particularly effective in a weight loss strategy.

If you are battling chronic daily stress (job, financial, marriage, move, etc) and/or are post menopausal, then you might just be familiar with cortisol’s effect on the body.  Cortisol is a hormone that when chronically elevated, can disrupt how your body should function.  It can reduce sleep quality, duration, create more stress, cause overeating, and increased fat deposits around the middle in both pre and post menopausal women.

  1. Burns Calories Effectively

There’s no doubt that hooping burns calories – The American Council on Exercise conducted a study to determine cardio and calorie burning effects of hooping.  The study used 16 women between the ages of 16 and 59, all of whom were intermediate to advanced level hoopers (read the study here).  The average calorie burn for this group in a 30 minute session was 210.  Think 210 calories won’t produce results?  If you hooped every day for half an hour that’s the equivalent of 21 pounds lost!

The study is interesting because it used a group of intermediate to advanced level hoopers, which means their bodies had already acclimated to the exercise.  Think in these terms.  Have you ever tried doing something active for the first few times – a new workout program, going from walking to jogging, swimming?  Your body works very hard because it’s not efficient at the movement.  What that means is you are working harder and that translates into MORE calorie burn.  As you become better at the movement, your body becomes more efficient which equals LESS calorie burn.

  1. Boosts Mood

Weight loss isn’t just a product of calories in versus calories out.  If it was that simple, we wouldn’t be struggling to lose weight and have climbing obesity rates.  Brain chemistry plays a big role in the fight against weight loss and belly fat. Two neurochemicals that play a big role are dopamine, and serotonin.  Dopamine reinforces behaviors that make you feel good. In contrast, serotonin is important for calmness and emotional well-being.

When dopamine is low, it can stimulate cravings in the form of caffeine and sugar.  Over time this can lead to problems with uncontrollable cravings.  When serotonin is low, it can cause problems sleeping, problems with depression and often manifests as cravings for bread, pasta, starches and salty foods.

Hula hooping stimulates both dopamine and serotonin in our brains that contribute to a feel good high much like a “runners high”.

Try this strategy below to boost results:


  1. In the evening, try incorporating deep breathing with abdominal hooping. Slow, rhythmic movements along with even breathing can help.
  2. Include 2 days of strength training, along with 2-3 days of hooping. Aim for 15 minutes of hula hooping to start.
  3. Make sure that sleep is a priority. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep.


So many of you have written in and asked for help with a comprehensive weight loss strategy centered around hula hooping, we listened!  We are super excited to tell you that we are releasing a comprehensive Hoop Fitness Weight Loss course combining nutrition and hula hoop exercise that’s specifically designed to:

  • Teach You to Master Your Hormones for Fat Loss
  • Why 20 Percent of Your Effort Will Yield Most of Your Results and How to Find What Your 20% Is
  • What One Habit You Need to Master To Produce Results
  • The 3 Step Formula for Lasting Weight Loss
  • How to Truly Activate Your Abdominals While Hooping to Tighten Your Deep Core Muscles Like a Girdle
  • The Exact Sequence of Hooping Exercises to Jump Start Fat Burning
  • Guided Video Workouts
  • 30 Day Workout Calendar to Jump Start Fat Loss Without Creating Overeating and Shutting Down Your Weight Loss
  • And More!

Want to stay in the loop when we release the course?  Click HERE to make sure you are added to our early release VIP list!

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