In February, Rachel Frederickson took the stage in The Biggest Loser finale, claiming the title of season 15 winner after shedding a shocking 155 pounds. Her celebration was short-lived, however, as fans and critics alike took to social media to express their concern over the dramatic weight loss.
Reflecting on the year filled with highs and lows in a new essay for the Today show’s “2014 Voices” series, Frederickson opened up about the painful post-finale backlash.
“When I stood on stage at the live finale, I had never felt stronger,” she writes. “I had accomplished everything I wanted to do. I was extremely proud of myself. That moment didn’t last long. Comments during the controversial storm following my weight loss were hurtful. My self-esteem once again was affected by other people's voices — this time, the kind that live forever in Facebook posts or written in the pages of magazines. People tried to bring me down and (privately) succeeded.”
The voice-over artist, 24, who revealed to Us Weekly in April that she had gained 20 pounds and was at her “perfect weight,” also relived her decision to move to Germany after high school, following her heart after falling in love with a foreign exchange student. The decision would ultimately lead to her initial weight gain.
“It didn’t take long before the voice of a boy I loved started diminishing my self-esteem,” she recalls. “His voice told me I wasn’t enough, and I believed it. I started listening to a louder voice than my own, and in turn, I lost the person I loved being. Fast forward to a lonely, overweight girl. I made a decision to start fighting for myself again and I was so excited and grateful to be chosen as one of the contestants on Season 15 of The Biggest Loser."