Identity & Purpose

Biggest Loser Winner: the Truth about Yo-yo Weight Loss

Doug Bender

January 31, 2020 | 2 minute read

Tomorrow starts February, the month where 80% of us will drop the ball on our New Year’s resolutions. Here is some expert advice from Michelle Aguilar Whitehead, winner of the Biggest Loser, who struggled with weight gain after leaving the show. Whatever your goals for the new year, Michelle’s story will keep you going strong with the things that really matter.

“When you lose weight you don’t just become instantly happy.”

Goals are good. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, get up early, or stick to a budget, goals can help focus your energies into positive results. But don’t confuse self-improvement with true happiness. That’s the message that Michelle shares here in her new I Am Second film. Happiness must spring from something deeper than a new year’s resolution.


“It can cause you to become depressed after losing the amount [of weight] that I’ve lost to then put weight back on.”

Here’s why you can’t pin happiness on a goal: they don’t always work out. Michelle competed and won season 6 of The Biggest Loser. You might think that was all she needed to snap her back into the perfect body. But as anyone who has struggled with weight knows, losing weight and keeping trim are two separate battles. If you tie who you are and how you feel about yourself onto an outward goal, you’ll find yourself falling into a deep hole of depression.

(FYI: if you missed Michelle’s original story check it out HERE)


“The weight wasn’t the issue, it was all the issues on the inside.”

Michelle joined The Biggest Loser when the producers decided to do a season focused on family. Michelle and her mother hadn’t spoken for nearly six years. As she joined her mother in a weight loss journey in front of millions she quickly learned that most of life’s outward struggles grow out from inward issues. Before ever she could tackle her weight she’d have to tackle her bitterness towards her mother. You might find some of your own struggles have hidden roots deep in your own heart.


“Everyone’s story starts out the same, ‘I am alone.’ But you aren’t.”

Social media is littered with the perfect snaps of everyone’s not-so-perfect lives. Don’t let the standards you see online or on a magazine cover discourage or isolate you. You are not alone. Michelle has toured the country speaking at events everywhere sharing this very same truth. Everywhere she goes she hears people’s stories and everyone starts out feeling alone. You’ve heard that the first step to recovery is confession. But have you ever thought about why? It’s because when we all open up and share our stories and our struggles we realize we are not alone. So go ahead, open up with the people around you. You’ll realize what Michelle has been saying for fifteen years: You Are NOT Alone.


“You have to find your identity in Christ. It’s not defined by a magazine or a book cover. I know that God says that I am loved.”

This is what it all comes down to. You need a foundation. If you lost everything, would you still know who you are? If you never lose the weight, get that job, or revive that relationship, do you have a foundation that will still let you build a happy and fulfilled life? For Michelle, when everything else looks bleak, she can look to God and know that she is still loved. That’s what gives her strength in every situation.


Need someone to talk with? We’ve got coaches online who can help you discover God’s love. Talk to someone today.


Doug Bender

Doug Bender

Doug Bender is an I Am Second writer and small groups coach. He developed many of the small group tools found at and has coached churches, organizations, and individuals to use I Am Second groups to share the message of Jesus with their friends and family. He also works with I Am Second's parent organization, e3 Partners, as a church planter and pastor in countries such as Ethiopia, Colombia, and the US. Doug and his wife, Catherine, have four children: Bethany, Samuel, Isabella, and Jesse.

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