Like a good chunk of America, I watch The Biggest Loser. To me it’s this fascinating mix of not-quite-reality reality TV. It’s also my guilty pleasure – I suppose it’s human nature to a certain extent, but there’s a part of me that likes seeing people who just by their existence, make me feel better about myself. Does that make me an awful person? In a lot of ways it’s like a car wreck – you can’t help but cringe, but you also can’t seem to look away. On a side note, does anyone else eat ice cream or cookies while watching this show? Shouldn’t we all be doing sit-ups or squats or something like that?
Despite the fact that I religiously watch the show (even last season, with that nasty, vindictive cast they had going… booo Vicky….), there are a lot of things that totally annoy me. First – the product placements. How many times do we need to be reminded that it’s good to use a reusable water bottle? Or chew gum instead of eating Big Macs? Second – do we REALLY need a commercial break before every other weigh-in? And not only that, but when we come back from commercial, do we need to replay the last 3 minutes that happened before we left for the commercial? I feel like it’s TiVo gone bad. Or the movie Groundhog Day. And does anyone think that the challenges just get weirder and weirder with every season?
I understand the message that the show is trying to get across: that no matter how bad it is, no matter how out of control your weight or life is, that you can change. That with a little intelligence and a lot of hard work that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. And this is a great message – and inspiration, undoubtedly, to a large cross-section of America.
What I don’t appreciate are some of the myths perpetuated by the show. These people certainly have a ton of weight to lose (almost literally!), but the numbers they present from week to week aren’t even close to being healthy after the first batch of water weight is gone. Having gone through a weight loss process myself, I know most of the experts call for a gradual 1%-2% of weight loss per week, so you can’t convince me that what these people are doing is healthy. Or if it isn’t unhealthy, I just don’t understand how that’s going to be sustainable long term. And what kind of message does that send to the rest of America who just might be inspired enough by this show to stop eating and get off their butts and do something? That if they’re not losing 10 pounds a week that they’re somehow failing?
I mean, I get that the weight loss you see on the show isn’t typical. Sometimes I assume that everyone must get that. But, maybe there are some people who don’t? Of course, I’m also the type of person who doesn’t believe that weight will come off unless you implement a practical diet and exercise routine, either. Maybe I’m in the minority in a country that is always looking for the quick-fix.
Oops. Sorry, somehow I ended up here on my soapbox. Not sure how that happened… <stepping down>
Anyway – this season should be interesting: we’ve got the oldest and youngest ever, the heaviest man and the heaviest woman ever, and more health problems than we’ve ever seen. I’m curious how they’re going to deal with all the different variables that’ll be going on. I mean, how does Jillian be Jillian with a guy who had to be hospitalized even BEFORE she started administering beatings to him?
And this season maybe I’ll snack on lettuce or air and run in place while watching instead of downing ice cream and lounging on my couch.