I have always expressed strong negative feelings about NBC’s hit reality show, the Biggest Loser. I passionately hate it. YES I DO!!! People always ask me why. The show helps people lose weight, get their lives back on track, inspire others to shed those pounds, and glorifies the profession of fitness training. Why would you, a fitness trainer, have a problem with that? Well let me tell you. The Biggest Loser encourages unhealthy, unsustainable weight loss and exploits people’s insecurities, their need for money, their desperate need to drop the weight, and perhaps their need for fame. It showcases unrealistic ideals about weight-loss and fitness training. Let’s not forget my absolute favorite, personal trainers are overly emotional, potty mouthed, ex steroid abusers, with raspy voices and Adam’s Apples…or am I the only who sees that on Ms. Michael’s throat?
This show is so far from reality that it should win the Emmy for best TV drama every year. They move the contestants to a secluded ranch, put them on a dangerously low calorie diet, and make them undergo grueling physical activities, oh wait, don’t worry it’s under the supervision of physicians of course. How else? That’s how weight loss is done; isn’t it? Don’t the average Joes/Janes take off from the world and have chefs, doctors, and trainers live with them while they lose the weight? Then there are those dreadful inhumane challenges. After being fed only celery sticks and dry oatmeal for days, even I, a fit average woman with no history of eating disorders/unhealthy relationship with food and weight issues, will not withstand being locked in a room full of desserts and asked not to touch any. How else do you define torture if not that? If will power was these people’s forte, they wouldn’t have been in that situation to begin with. These are people with deep-seeded mental and emotional issues; I’m sure toying with them would not play out well in the long run.
So the finale night of the last season; I was watching Jeopardy (as many of you know that’s my favorite show) and getting ready to hit the gym. The Biggest Loser followed right after. I absolutely haven’t watched it since the first two seasons, but I’m a fan of Ruben Studdard and decided to watch a little bit to see how he did. Some of the contestants lost weight and looked quite alright. I was happy for them, like most people, I can give credit for hard work. Then the final 3 came out, and I was taken aback by their appearance; they had transformed drastically and the woman, Rachel Frederickson looked extremely thin. I’m the first to tell you that you can’t judge anyone’s health by looking at them. I bet Kate Upton isn’t healthy. That girl looks like she has 50% body fat; get it together Sports Illustrated; there’s nothing sporty about her. Anyway, I need to stop sipping on that Kate flavored Haterade and get back to the topic at hand. There are many factors to consider and that’s why the professionals perform tests to determine these things. So I watched and got a bit teary-eyed; I get emotional seeing people get so vulnerable and transparent. Then came the big weigh-in. Rachel lost 155 pounds, about 60% of her whole entire body weight in 5 months. That’s losing about a pound or more a day. In order for that to happen, she had to have been on such a calorie deficit that could have been very dangerous for her health. Every health professional would tell you that a healthy weight loss is about 2 pounds a week. So if she had done this in a healthy manner, it should have taken her about a year and 8 months to lose that weight. In addition, according to the BMI (Body Mass Index), the reason the nurse takes your height and weight when you visit the doctor, she is now below the healthy BMI for her height. Many people have expressed that she had to do what she needed to do to win the game. I guess risking one’s life and exposing yourself to major health risks is all fun and games. Who knew!!! I’m sure her family physician will be very busy for the next few months, and that’s the main reason I REALLY hate the show. Weight loss as a result of extreme dieting practices can’t be sustained and the dieter ends up gaining back all the weight, if not more, and facing dangerous health issues for the rest of his/her life. At least 3 winners of the Biggest Loser have gained back all the weight. There are also some major health complications. One contestant of Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition, another brainchild of the Biggest Loser’s producer, has recently blown the whistle on the ill practices of the show. Things are not as rosy as they try to make us believe. James Garrison stated that he has been dealing with health issues as a result of his rapid weight loss on the show. Of course losing 313 pounds in 365 days is obviously not healthy; he ended up with about $50,000 in medical bills. Extreme dieting is very hazardous; it’s a wonder that nobody has died on any of these shows yet. These shows are endangering the participants’ lives and selling the rest of us a bunch of lies in the form of inspiration. Does a lie really motivate anyone to do anything…maybe or maybe not…but it is still a lie to me, and that’s very unethical.
In summation, NBC should stop airing this show and find a better way to encourage people and educate them on fighting obesity instead of perpetuating the cycle by preaching these unhealthy unorthodox methods. The end!!!