‘The Biggest Loser’ Loses Out

Did you see The Biggest Loser finale last week. After months of punishing workouts and rigid dieting a winner was crowned. Rachel Frederickson stood on a scale and watched along with millions of viewers as the numbers ticked past 140lbs, 130lbs, 118lbs, and finally stopped at 105lbs. She had lost nearly 60 percent of her original 260lbs. It is the biggest weight loss in the show’s history. It is also the most controversial. Ms. Frederickson looked emaciated. By the time the confetti had fallen and the last of the credits rolled across the screen the internet was abuzz with discussion. Did Ms. Frederickson go too far? Is the show to blame? What are the lessons to be learned?scale

The Biggest Loser is first and foremost a competition. In any competition people will go to extreme measures to win. With $250,000 up for grabs there isn’t much some people won’t do. If you’ve ever watched Survivor you know this is true.

Winning or losing aside there are some positive aspects to the show. We’ve all faced adversity in our lives and so we can relate to the struggles The Biggest Loser contestants face. These stories remind us that we can overcome anything with hard work.

There is one thing The Biggest Loser gets right. The show highlights the fact that weight loss is hard work. Ask anyone who has lost a lot of weight and they will tell you that every workout is a challenge. There is no such thing as an easy workout on the way to a healthy body.

And then there is the “in your face” reality of the obese body. As each contestant stands on the scale shirtless or in a sports bra, every roll of fat and dimple of cellulite is on display. This isn’t shameful or humiliating. It is real life. In this case television is the mirror for millions of overweight people. They see themselves in the contestants and realize they are not alone in their struggle.

For the few things the show does well there are many things that are off the mark. One is the behavior of some of the trainers. Screaming and yelling at a client may make for great television, but is not reality. A good trainer does not humiliate her clients. There is a difference between pushing a person to a new level of fitness and demeaning them because they cannot keep going. Sometimes the trainer needs to step back and allow the client time to adjust to the demands of the workout. Other times the client needs to stop whining and trust the experience of the trainer. In either case it certainly isn’t as dramatic as The Biggest Loser.

There is a certain weight loss fantasy portrayed by The Biggest Loser. After several long days in the gym and a strict diet contestants stand on the scale and watch as they drop 10, 15 and even 20lbs in a single week. The reality is far less exciting. Real weight loss is slow. Sometimes real weight loss is no weight loss at all. These huge drops in weight are not normal or sustainable.

The overweight mother of three watching in her living room is sure to be discouraged. The show suggests that the only way to lose weight is to be on the Biggest Loser ranch. The contestants do go home, but that’s only after being locked away in a weight loss prison for months. It is easy to lose weight when everything is controlled. That isn’t the case for the average viewer who has to juggle exercise and healthy eating with the demands of a family and a job. Grueling workouts scare the crap out of an overweight person. It isn’t necessary to spend hours a day in the gym. Yes the workouts will be challenging, but for an obese person getting off the couch is challenge enough.

When the next crop of contestants stand on the scale in season 16 of The Biggest Loser remember that fast weight loss may make for great TV, but it does nothing for the reality faced by millions of overweight people. Losing nearly 60 percent of one’s body weight in less than eight months is unrealistic. Healthy, sustainable weight loss is possible. It does not require surgery, extreme diets or arduous exercise. It simply requires time and dedication.

Advertisements
Comments
3 Responses to “‘The Biggest Loser’ Loses Out”
  1. run100run says:

    id love for you to follow my running journey run100run.wordpress.com

  2. secret info says:

    Hello there! This blog post couldn’t be written much better!
    Looking at this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually
    kept talking about this. I most certainly will forward this informatin to him.
    Pretty sure he’s going to have a great read.
    Many thanks ffor sharing!

Trackbacks
Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Did you see The Biggest Loser finale last week. After months of punishing workouts and rigid dieting a winner was crowned. Rachel Frederickson stood on a scale and watched along with millions of viewers as the numbers ticked past 140lbs, 130lbs, 118lbs, and finally stopped at 105lbs. She had lost nearly 60 percent of her original 260lbs. It is the biggest weight loss in the show’s history. It is also the most controversial. Ms. Frederickson looked emaciated. By the time the confetti had fallen and the last of the credits rolled across the screen the internet was abuzz with discussion. Did Ms. Frederickson go too far? Is the show to blame? What are the lessons to be learned? Read More…… […]



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: