Anyone who has struggled to lose weight knows the only thing harder than shedding the pounds is keeping them off.
Still, on reality TV shows like NBC's The Biggest Loser, contestants drop hundreds of pounds and seem to totally transform their bodies.
But what happens after?
Just ask the show's first winner, Ryan Benson, who admits he gained back the weight he lost until he was heavier than when the show started.
The Biggest Loser
Benson in 2010. The contestant says he gained back all the weight he lost on the show.NBC
Benson earned himself $250,000 and the title "the Biggest Loser" in 2005, when he dropped 112 pounds in just five months on the show.
Benson admits the show taught him a lot about himself, including "what motivates me and what triggers me to slip back into old, bad habits."
But the contestant says he was never able to maintain his weight "for more than a few days" after leaving the reality show.
He even says he was haunted by his experience on the show, where everything he ate was carefully monitored.
"For the next year or so, every time I’d go out to eat, or was in the grocery store, I’d feel like people were watching everything I ate, or watching what I put in my shopping cart," he said.
Tipping the Scale
After his rapid weight loss on the show, the weight started to pile back on after Benson returned home.
“I was eating a cheeseburger, fries and ribs right after the final weigh in,” he admits.
"Within the next year or two and in about four or five years I had put back on all of the weight."
Benson revealed he eventually reached 345 pounds, which is 15 pounds heavier than his starting weight of 330 on the show.
And the original "Biggest Loser" isn't the only contestant who says the reality show's results don't last.
As Seen on Tv
The National Institute of Health actually studied Biggest Loser contestants in 2016, to see how many managed to keep the weight off.
Incredibly, 13 of the study's 14 subjects had gained all the weight back, and four were heavier than before the show began.
Tests on the contestants revealed they were also suffering from hormone and metabolism changes that were almost definitely caused by the rapid weight loss.
NBC
Doctors say losing more than two pounds each week can be unsafe.
That would only total 30 pounds by the end of the competition, instead of the hundreds that contestants regularly drop.
But one of the show's producers says the contestants themselves are to blame.
"Bad Behaviors"
After facing criticism for his show, Biggest Loser producer JD Roth created a spin-off called The Big Fat Truth.
The show featured former Loser contestants, including Benson, and set out to prove that their "bad behaviors" (in Roth's words) were to blame for their weight gain.
Lately, Benson has seemed to change his lifestyle, announcing that he would be training for a triathlon and watching his diet.
"The best piece of advice I can offer is to remember that nothing happens overnight," he wrote.
"It’s a process. Sometimes it can be hard to enjoy the process - we want immediate results - but when we can learn to enjoy the journey a little bit, it’s easier to be healthy and happy."
What do you think about the show, and Roth's excuses about the contestants?

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