Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Thoughts on "The Biggest Loser"


I have a lot of conflicting thoughts on the TV show, "The Biggest Loser." I didn't even watch the last two seasons, mainly because my TV time is limited, and it wasn't a priority. But, there have been 2 episodes so far of this new season (Season 5000, I think... At least it seems like that ) and I'm having all kinds of thoughts I want to share.

I should add that I very rarely watch it live. I just can't stand to watch all the challenges, so I fast forward through them most of the time. 

As I watched the first workout session of this season, I got angrier and angrier. They went on and on about how hard this workout was. Contestants were passing out, throwing up, and the trainers are saying things like "This is what it takes to be healthy."
It really worries me that people who are overweight look at this and think, "Well, if that's what it takes to be healthy, I don't think I want to try it." And then, they don't.

What I want people to know is that you don't have to throw up to start a workout program and be healthy. The two basic components of weight loss are "Eat less, move more".

Now, I'm all for hardcore workouts. I love them. But for someone who is just starting out, I think it's really important to start slow. You risk injury if you don't, plus if you hate something.. you tend  to not want to do it.

Another issue I have with this show is that it creates unrealistic expectations for weight loss. At the weigh-ins, contestants are pulling 8 -10 pounds in a week, and if they lose less than 5 pounds, they're disappointed.

I saw a Facebook friend complain this week that she *only* lost 2.6 pounds. In the real world, that is an impressive amount, and just what you should aim for. Lasting, safe weight loss happens at a rate of 1-2 pounds a week. So, rather than being proud of her accomplishment, this girl was beating herself up.

I realize that there has to be a certain amount of drama for a TV show to retain interest. No one is going to tune into a show to watch people lose 1-2 pounds a week, and walk on the treadmill for 45 minutes, 3 times a week. But I just want to make sure that anyone out there who needs to start a fitness or weight loss program knows that this show is *not* real life.

So, keep watching the Biggest Loser. I will stay involved this season (even if I do fast forward through a lot of it). I do enjoy seeing people get smaller each week. And, if this show inspires someone to get fit at all, even with unrealistic expectations, I guess it's doing some good. But, please, watch it with these things in mind. Be happy with steady, consistent weight loss, and enjoy exercise. It's about being healthy, after all.


Jen said...

Great points! One thing I think we are missing from the biggest loser on that first work out is how 'hard' they are actually working. I am sure they are not walking fast on the treadmill, also how many squats are they doing before puking. At that weight....even just a little excersise can make that feeling. I remember when I was much heavier the first time I worked out with a trainer I was close to puking....because my body was prepared.

April Westerhold said...

I agree, Sarah! I am going to link back to you or share this page. I think a lot of people have too high of expectations in the quest for weight loss.

April@Party of Five