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'Biggest Loser' sidesteps weight-loss critics; her trainer responds

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The trainer of the winner of "The Biggest Loser" is responding to critics who said Minnesota native Rachel Frederickson lost too much weight on the NBC reality show.

"Last night's Biggest Loser Finale has sparked a huge reaction and I do not want the day to end without addressing it," Dolvett Quince wrote in a Facebook message posted Wednesday night. "Biggest Loser is a journey which has its ups and downs. Please try not to look at one slice of Rachel's journey and come to broad conclusions. Rachel's health is and always has been my main concern and her journey to good health has not yet ended!"

The 5-foot-4 Frederickson, 24, had dropped 155 pounds to win the show's $250,000 top prize. Viewers had gotten to know Frederickson, who now lives in Los Angeles, as a former Stillwater, Minnesota, swim team champion who had steadily gained weight and tipped the scales at 260 pounds at the beginning of the show.

After Frederickson's big reveal on Tuesday night's finale, social media exploded (Twitter reaction here) with chatter about her dramatic transformation. Many viewers said she had gone too far.

Frederickson herself has thus far sidestepped questions about what she thinks of the criticism, E!online reported.

Asked Wednesday if she'd read reports that she looked "too skinny," Frederickson said, "You know, I think I have been on this seven-and-a-half month journey on The Biggest Loser and I went to The Biggest Loser to find that confident girl again. I was that national-level athlete and I lost her and I missed her and, little by little, competition by competition, I saw her come out and I loved being in that triathlon and win that to be in the finale."

Frederickson also said, "Oh gosh, I just see a strong, confident woman, and I feel great. I’ve never felt this great, and it’s very exciting!"

Another trainer on the show, Jillian Michaels, issued a statement, also declining to comment on Frederickson's weight loss. "[Trainer] Bob [Harper] and I want to take a moment to congratulate all of the BL contestants on their hard work. We're not comfortable commenting on Rachel's journey because we weren't her trainers and weren't given an opportunity to work with her at any point."

Buzzfeed questions why NBC's "Today" show did not address the controversy when it interviewed Frederickson the day after the finale.

NBC and producer Shine America said in a statement: "We support Rachel and all of the Biggest Loser contestants who have shared their journeys over the past 15 seasons. We remain committed to helping contestants achieve healthy weight loss and live healthier lifestyles, and to inspiring viewers to do the same."

Chris Powell, a host and trainer on rival ABC program "Extreme Weight Loss," told ABC News that Frederickson did what she set out to do. "To lose as much as you can in as short a time as you can ... she's playing a game. You need to keep that in mind."

What do experts think of the weight loss?

Several said viewers should cut Frederickson a break and give her time to find her groove in maintaining a healthy weight, USA Today reported. Experts said that it can be unhealthy to lose 60 percent of your body weight so quickly – but viewers are being too quick to judge her.

Criticism of Frederickson's weight loss is not helpful, and a more constructive message that focuses on body image and healthy living would be more constructive, Jillian Lampert, senior director of the Emily Program, an eating disorder treatment program based in St. Paul, told the Associated Press.

"As a society we often criticize people for being at higher weights — that's part of why we have the TV show 'The Biggest Loser' — and then we feel free to criticize lower weight," Lampert told the AP.

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