this girl’s weblog

just me, my thoughts, and experiences.

biggest loser=defeating the purpose?

There was a great article in today’s NY Times. Thanks to Kai Hibbard for the tip on her blog.

Those of you trying to shed some poundage while watching The Biggest Loser should definitely read this. It helps put perspective on what we should be doing as normal people, and what people who are on the show are doing.

Read it here and then let me know what you think!

Kai Hibbard- The Biggest Loser



  thinkingwoman wrote @

Thanks so much for the tip on the article!

As a fan of the show and a member of the online club, I have TONS of thoughts on this, in both directions.

In general, I agree that the potential for demoralization is ENORMOUS for those watching the show. It is nearly (but not completely) impossible for anyone living a normal life to see the kind of results that the contestants see IN THE SAME TIME FRAME. That is the main reason that the contestants fight so hard to stay on the ranch – you can do it at home, but not as fast. And if you try, you can create some serious problems for yourself.

That, I think, is where the online club comes in. The basic premise is the same (healthy, balanced diet and exercise – big shocker! – during which you NEVER fall below a certain calorie limit, and it never takes you down to 1100 a day, either) but it is predicated upon a real-life scenario. The support is there, from thousands of other people following the same program, and the experts are there to answer questions and help you to keep it real and reasonable.

But you will still not see the results that the contestants do. I know people who have lost 5 or 6 pounds a week, sometimes even more, on the program – but most of us are averaging more like one or two. Which is very healthy, very sustainable, and gets you there – but not as fast.

However, I think a lot of it is in your mindset. I go into every season of the show ready to see the emotional journeys these people take – the way that they change their lives and the way they look at themselves, and the dedication and commitment they bring to the table. THAT is what inspires me about the show – not the 10 or 15 pounds they may have lost (and anyone watching this season knows that is NOT happening for most of them, either). So I don’t ever find it demoralizing, though I certainly understand how people could!

What I do find frustrating, however, and something the article doesn’t even mention, is the fact that nearly every commercial break in the show includes a plug for bariatric surgery! (Maybe this is only in my viewing area, I don’t know.) I find that completely inappropriate! If we are trying to inspire people to change their lives and lose weight in a controlled, healthy manner, why are we pushing surgical intervention on them? I’m not a fan of bariatric surgery, though I know it can be lifesaving for some people – but enough said about that.

I think the article presents a very interesting point – but I also think that it is presented from an incredibly negative point of view. That negativity is exactly the thing that keeps us fat! However, I also see the point that the very successes of these folks could prompt that same negativity to which overweight people are so very prone…and I think it would be AWESOME if they would start featuring on the show, every week, a success story from the online club. People who DO follow the program at home, without the benefit of 5 hours of exercise a day or a personal trainer, and who DO lose the weight.

It’s an interesting conundrum…

  hipposkin wrote @

excellent comments. i have to agree with you that i try and use the show as motivation- that people out there are working hard and getting results. i don’t have as much to loose in the first place, so its somewhat easier to say “they’d loose more anyway, and my 1-2 lb loss each week is something to be proud of.”

i have a big problem with wine though. have you totally cut out any form of alcohol?

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