Running with the Biggest Loser

For the longest time, I refused to watch the Biggest Loser. My argument was, and still is to some extent, that it sets up unrealistic expectations for larger people and losing weight. Seriously, who has time to work out six hours a day?!?! And these people work out longer than that. Seriously. They’re at this secluded ranch in Southern California with no access to the internet, phones, and the only tv they might watch is what they brought with ’em. Yeah, I’d be working out six to ten hours a day too!

I decided it would be a laugh to watch this season all the way through. The first episode was exactly what I expected; I only made it through by keeping myself occupied folding laundry and knitting. I told the hubby that I didn’t think I could watch another two hours of that crud, but still watched the second episode. It wasn’t much better. Somehow, between Week Two and Week Three I got hooked. WTF?!?! I realized I cared about these people’s lives and their journeys to lose weight. (Sure, they’re living in a controlled environment where their only job is to lose weight and get fit, but I know I’ve secretly longed for that kind of opportunity.)

The show still has a lot of really bad moments. I hate the really bad ad placements by Jillian and Bob. Allison couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag. The schloopy, droopy, “let’s deal with your issues” segment are really annoying (because they always read so f’ing fake on tv). And I can’t stand how the show is edited to make villains of some people, and show others as perfect angels (when they’re really just as big of jerks).

Thing is, I’ve always been a sucker for makeover shows, and isn’t Biggest Loser kind of the ultimate in makeover shows?

Now, my real issue is the show’s weight loss expectations, which are totally ridiculous. Yes, I’d love to lose four pounds a week, but I also know that’s not a healthy way or speed at which to lose weight, except in Doctor-supervised situations (guess what the Biggest Loser is??). What about the people who don’t realize that? The people who expect to lose four – ten pounds a week? That’s where the danger really lies.

At the same time, the show is quite motivational. Not in the “oh my god, I can work out ten hours a day too” kind of way either. It’s motivational in that you watch these people who were/are morbidly obese embracing exercise and becoming athletes/athletic. The attitude is “it’s possible”. It inspires people to get up and get moving and start watching what they eat, which is something a lot of us don’t know how to do.

Last night’s episode the contestants went to Texas to bring the show’s message to the masses. I’ve gotta admit there’s this snarky part of me that thinks this is super, super stupid: “Let’s bring the message to everyone,” oooooo! “We’re somehow gonna convince a whole bunch of people who refuse to admit what’s staring them in the face that they need to get healthy!”, “O. M. G., Texas has five of the top ten cities with the highest rates of obesity”. On the other hand, reaching just one person with that message is a success. Via Dallas area radio stations, contestants invited the public to run/walk a 5K, and got quite a few people out of their homes and going on what appeared to be a very, very cold day.

Running a 5K is something I aspire to. There’s this little place inside me, and maybe you, that’s always watched athletes with a bit of jealousy, dreaming of being able to just run a mile. But running was always one of those “unobtainable” things. In school, when I couldn’t do it, I’d say I wasn’t built for running. Now, I know that was an excuse, and if I put my mind to it, I can do it.

There it is, in a nutshell, the Biggest Loser motivates me, and no one is more shocked than I. And I can’t wait for makeover week next week!!!! Woo.

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About singingforasmallerme

I'm just a girl doing a thing. A little sarcastic, a little cynical, and a total sassbot. Nothing's off limits here, but my primary focus is weight loss. Still, you might find commentary on anything ranging from makeup to music to fashion to beer and dancing.
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10 Responses to Running with the Biggest Loser

  1. Kelli says:

    I am soooo in the same boat as you. In principle I hated watching the show because it made me feel like my 1.5 pound losses were failures. And I definitely hate all the cheesiness that goes into it. But, last season one of my dad’s employees actually was on the show (and WON!) so of course I had to watch. I think the most motivating thing of all is the fact that they exercise so hard! I often find myself thinking “I can’t climb that hill…I’m too fat. I can’t ride a bike…I’m too fat. I can’t x,y, or z…I’m too fat”. But, what biggest loser shows us is that we CAN do those things!! It won’t be easy but if we push ourselves we really really can do more than we give ourselves credit for! Great post today! :)

    I hope you’ll come visit our site. It’s http://www.sangriasisters.com. A friend and I have just launched it together.

    • I definitely see your point here. I’ve spent a long time saying “I can’t” to doing any number of things, and TBL had taught me – at least – that there are many more possibilities out there than I realized.

  2. skerrington says:

    I was also appalled by the rate of weight loss they’re promoting. But I hear what you’re saying about the benefits of the show.

    I’m not a natural runner either, but I’ve found the Couch to 5k program to be a good, safe, controlled way to start running without doing too much too fast.

    • I’ve been thinking about the C25K for a while, even downloaded an app for my iPhone. Don’t have a gym membership however, and don’t feel comfortable running outside, so it’s on pause right now. But hopefully starting soon because – dagnabbit – I want to run.

  3. shrinkingirl says:

    I also boycotted the show due to the drastic amounts of weight loss they’re promoting. I do occasionally get sucked in by an episode because these are people who are gaining a new lease on life and I think it’s wonderful. Other than that, I don’t know if I like the message of it.

    • Parts of the message are great: Fitness as a means to health. Problem is, they’ve focused so much on weight loss that the message gets lost.

      I also don’t like how they bring people on with drastically different amounts of weight to lose. The ones who only need to lose 30% are just elimination fodder.

      Still I get sucked in every week.

  4. Rita says:

    I agree, it’s my little guilty pleasure on Tuesdays, that and What Not to Wear (shhh, don’t tell!)

    I just like seeing the contestants feel how incredible it is to get their life back. I know that feeling and I wish it for every single person who has a weight issue. It’s very Polly Anna but it’s true.

    • Your secrets safe with me (and the rest of the blogosphere)! ;-)

      It’s not so much a Polly Anna attitude. We’ve all made breakthroughs and seeing others make them is soo wonderful. If you’re a Polly Anna, I am too!

  5. Me says:

    Too funny!! Exactly my thoughts about that show. I used to think that I’d give anything to be on it – but working out 10 hours a day till I puke is not my idea of health. Plus I’d probably punch Jillian if she yelled at me.

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