Matt Hover and the biggest loser — The Re-engineered You

Todd Lemense
7 min readSep 16, 2020

We’re going to talk about why theBut keep in mind, by the end of this episode, we’re going to tell you how to make a significant change. So, don’t feel bad as we get into science because there’s going to be a light at the end of the tunnel. American Journal of Public Health declared that obesity is incurable, and we want to start with a little bit of a warning for our episode. A lot of this is going to sound like we’re saying weight loss permanently is hopeless. That real significant change is near impossible, and we will be throwing around some statistics at you that will sound a little scary.

In 2004, Matt Hoover was overweight. He watched the first-ever season of the big hit show The Biggest Loser from his couch with a bag of chips on his gut and a beer in his hand at the time. He weighed 339 pounds.

During an interview, Matt said he made fun of season one contestants who cried on the scale. He made fun of them for being sensitive and caving to the pressure. But when he became a contestant on season 2, he cried more than anyone. Now, Matt Hoover worked hard, showed determination and grit, and is an ex-wrestler who had won two state championships.

Matt knew what struggle was, and he knew how to put in the time and the Reps. By the end of the season, Matt stepped on the final scale at 182 pounds, winning the title of The Biggest Loser and the grand prize of a quarter-million dollars. Even sweeter, Matt met and married a fellow contestant, Suzy Preston, who he fell in love with on the show. Together, the two hit the talk show circuit to celebrate their new bodies and their new love.

Myth 1: Weight Loss Is Just a Simple Equation

Today, Matt weighs 237 pounds, and he’s distanced himself from the talk show circuit. Suzy weighs 175 pounds and says she’s continuing her weight-loss Journey. These are two contestants who had every incentive in life to keep the weight off. Yet, they just couldn’t manage it. But, we’re not here to turn our backs on Matt and Suzy for failing in their weight loss goals. In fact, on the Re-Engineered, we’re going to do the opposite. We are here to find answers.

So, what can we learn from Suzy and Matt Hoover today? We’re looking at a study that came out after our power couple won their season. In fact, the research we’re looking at comes from season 8 and the National Institute of Health, and we’re hoping to answer some of your biggest questions in weight loss and dispel a few bloated myths about weight loss that we just can’t seem to shed.

The vast majority who have had a significant weight loss of over a hundred pounds will probably all put it back on. Part of that isn’t because of a lack of will or that they were broken as people. It’s because, as a culture, we don’t accurately look at this. We skewed toward blaming the people and not how we associate weight loss or the process of it.

The American Journal of Public Health says that the failure rate for people who have become obese to reach a healthy weight gain is 98.3% in men and 97.8% in women. This means only 2% succeed. This is why, according to the American Journal, obesity is now classified as incurable.

Myth 2: If Fat People Won’t Get into Shape for Their Own Sake, Then It’s Perfectly Okay to Call Them Out for Their Eating Habits

Landsat: “Once obesity is established, body weight seems to become biologically stamped and defended. Therefore, the recommendation to avoid calorically dense foods might be no more effective for the typical patient seeking weight reduction.”

80% of your calories are burned at a metabolic base and resting burn rate. And that’s why all of these Biggest Losers gained the weight back. It’s their resting rate that changed, and that’s the curse part.

Fat hate is a real thing. If you spend more than 20 minutes online, it’s very easy to find fat hate groups. There are whole YouTube channels devoted toward fat hate.

Myth 3: After Your Shed the Weight Off, The Rest Is Just Maintaining A Steady Calorie Intake

They say it’s because they’re trying to shame fat people into weight loss, and if they shame them enough, they’ll realize that they’re in error to lose weight. But we know that just isn’t the case; It’s just cruel. It also increases risks of suicide, depression, and increases the likelihood that they will overeat. So, for one thing, fat hate does not help anybody.

Dr. Jason Pardon, a writer for, says that hate is pretty easy to join or fall into. They’re doing it because if you hate somebody of another race or if you hate fat people and you yourself are not overweight, then all you have to do is wake up in the morning and you’ve already accomplished something. It is thinking, as long as I’m a skinny guy, I can wake up already achieving something by not being fat. They feel morally justified because of that.

We’re going to look at the primitive man and why we’re built this way. If you can imagine yourself being starved, once you start starvation, your body has this mechanism to adapt, and it might come down to epigenetics. Our genes are built to overcome anything. If there’s no food available to us in a part of the world, our bodies will start adapting. We can basically alter to almost anything.

So, if you lose weight from being obese, and you do it quickly, most people’s bodies perceive it as being starved. New York Times did a follow-up study for season 8 contestant Danny Cahill at the end of the season. He was weighed in at 191 down from 430. He lost the most of any Biggest Loser in history. But now he is back up to 295.

He’s back to being very large, and he’s restricted to eating a diet of 800 calories less than a normal human male. Now, I want to put that into perspective. So, when we talk about the human body’s ability to adapt to new environments, Danny Cahill eats 1,700 calories just to maintain his weight, whereas a normal human man eats 2,500. Overall, 13 out of 14 season 8 contestants regained their weight, and they went through this similar change. They all had their metabolism adjust permanently.

Another contestant, Sean Algarve, who was from the same season, went back up to 450 pounds after the show, and he said after he realized how fewer calories he burns per day. Today, he now Burns 400+ fewer calories per day and has to alter his diet less than average just to not gain weight.

Final Thoughts

In scientific terms, Leptin is a hormone that’s released from fat cells, and was permanently altered for the contestants as well. What this hormone does is tells your brain when you have enough energy stored up in your fat. Now, if you have a lot of fat stored up, Leptin will signal the brain and say you’re good; You don’t need anymore. When you gain weight, you are creating fat cells, and when you lose weight, you don’t get rid of them, you just shrink them down. They will stay there, continuing to signal to your brain for more energy, making you hungry and thus, making those who lost weight put it back on again. They took people from season 8 and checked their leptin levels, and they found that those clusters of hormones were still signaling, making them feel like they are essentially dying of starvation, making them want to eat again. The problem that I found in these studies is that a lot of the signaling cells are actually organ fat, so you can’t really remove them. And it is not just Leptin, there are about 4–5 other hormones that signal different types of hunger at other times.

When most people fail to lose weight, we fully blame willpower, but really those who try to lose weight are predisposed to gain it back unless they want to restrict for the rest of their lives.

We started this podcast saying that we are going to get into how do lose weight in a meaningful way, and what we found in our articles is rearranging your life. We’re talking like altering eating times and things like intermittent fasting. Recognizing that you won’t have a normal human metabolism anymore. If you lose weight too quickly, you will alter your metabolism permanently. You won’t burn as much at rest as someone who maintains a healthy weight their whole life.

So, focus on portion control, find natural appetite suppressants (almonds, water, yogurt avocados, eggs, spices, legumes, etc.) and get used to being a food investigator. Stay motivated and exercise regularly, and finally, there’s no shame in looking into surgery if you can’t keep the weight off. Overall, we do believe losing weight slowly, education and self-awareness works, but there’s looking into bariatric surgery is perfectly fine. According to the University of Iowa, their success rate is defined as 50% or more.

Suzy and Matt may have gained the weight back, but they have two beautiful children together, married, and they have a loving working relationship. As a champion wrestler, Matt knew about weight loss, and if anyone had the willpower and the monetary incentive to keep the weight off, it was him. Well, it was discovered today it all comes down to resting metabolism, how drastically you lose the weight, and how hard your body fights to get it back.

If you’re obese or just a little overweight, we don’t want you to walk away today feeling hopeless. You can improve your life. You can adjust your health and make lasting change, but you have to go into it knowing that drastic weight loss is permanent. Your body, hormones, and your environment at home all have to alter to defy the statistics.

In the end, shame does not work, set realistic expectations of yourself, and though you can wait for science to develop a powerful appetite suppressant, we at the re-engineered you believe you can make mindful, healthy choices every day.

Written by Todd Lemense presented by Joe Anthony

Originally published at on September 16, 2020.