TODAY   |  February 26, 2014

‘Biggest Loser’ speaks out on dramatic weight loss

Rachel Frederickson, who has spurred controversy with her dramatic weight loss on “The Biggest Loser,” tells TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie, “I felt very proud of what I did,” adding, “It was absolutely healthy weight loss.” Today, she says, “I’m the healthiest, most alive I’ve ever felt.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> on the topic of body image , there was a big controversy tied to the finale of "the biggest loser." 24-year-old voiceover artist rachel frederickson started often "biggest loser" but dropped down to 160 on the ranch. that was nothing comparing to dropping an additional 45 pounds in the 3 1/2 months on her own at home during the live finale earlier this month, surprising the show's trainers and raising questions about her health. some have wondered if her dramatic weight loss of almost 60% of her original weight had gone too far, too fast.

>> and rachel frederickson is with us now. good morning to you.

>> good morning, savannah.

>> i wonder, when did you realize, oh, my gosh, there's this backlash. here you are, you worked so hard for it, and then you find out people are saying, wait, maybe she's too thin.

>> yeah, you know. i did work so hard for the finale and for finding myself again. i felt amazing on the stage, i felt like i shined in my dress, and i got off the stage and twitter was all abuzz. the first thing, it was just so much chatter about it.

>> were you surprised at that?

>> i was. because i felt so proud of everything i'd accomplished. my journey was my own. and i loved it. i lived it. i felt really proud of what i did.

>> can you understand now when you look at those images why some people were worried? you are very, very thin. and that's the point of the show, but are you convinced it's healthy weight loss and not something that went too far?

>> no, it was absolutely healthy weight loss . i dieted, exercised and did it healthy the whole way. i appreciate all the concern and i can see where it comes from. and there's the movie magic. it's over seven months, almost a year of my life losing the weight. i was very unhealthy at 260 pounds and now post finale, i'm the healthiest, most alive i've ever felt.

>> are you at the weight you want to be now?

>> i am. i'm in the maintenance mode, which is just as hard as losing weight .

>> might be harder, actually.

>> yeah, i feel like it can be. adding in the family and socializing and work and getting it all accomplished. it's a big balance.

>> we talked a lot this morning about moms and daughters. and i wondered what your own experience was. here you were actually an athlete. you were not someone who grew up struggling with your weight. what do you think you learned from your mom, for good or for bad, on these issues?

>> for me, it's the confidence. she has taught me to be independent, to love myself, and to be me. that's the best person you can be. you're the best person -- the version of you, that 's wonderful . so losing that a little bit was heart broken and heartbreak. being so young, i wanted to get that back. she's my number one role model. if i can be independent and confident and empower myself.

>> how is your process now? do you ever fear that you'll slight back? do you look back at the images as you started out on the biggest loser and thought, oh, my gosh, what if i get into that situation again?

>> of course. that always comes up. but i think what i've learned is that i have an inner strength, i have a voice, and i can trust myself. i didn't trust myself, i was critical and judged myself. and so now, that's why i love love your selfie week. that's what i've become, this self image , you're with you the rest of your life. better accept you and love yourself. and if everyone can have that gift, that's amazing. that's what i've gotten from the "biggest loser."

>> great to have you here. thank you so much.

>> thank you, savannah.

>> and tomorrow, we'll tackle the power of touched up perfection in pop culture today.