The Biggest Loser

I don’t usually discuss TV much here, but I’ve been wanting to jot some thoughts about  The Biggest Loser. I’ve only been watching it for a few seasons now, but here are some general thoughts about it.

What I like about it:

  • The opportunity the contestants have to put everything else aside to concentrate on their health.
  • The opportunity to lose weight with specific instruction and guided workouts.
  • Eucational segments, like when they show the actual calorie content of many popular foods.
  • When they show simple, healthful, tasty alternatives.
  • The medical evaluations where the doctor shows scans of the amount of body fat in their system and their actual body age based on their health vs. their actual age. Painful, but it is a needed wake-up call.
  • Seeing the contestants’ progress.

What I don’t like about it:

  • The trainers yelling in the contestants’ faces.
  • The trainers referring to workouts as “beating them up” or “torturing them.”
  • Unnecessary producer-induced drama: some change or shake-up or requirement brought in just to add drama to the show. Sometimes it does help the contestants to realize that whatever they’re depending on — their routine, partner, etc. — is not what they need to be leaning so heavily on, and in that sense it is good to help them find the source of strength they need to carry on despite circumstances. But sometimes the changes seem to be designed just to get people upset so the camera can catch it so they have conflict for the show.
  • When they send people home in the first show. One or two seasons ago they sent one half of every couple home and it was up to their partners to keep losing enough weight to stay on the show and bring them back after some period of time. This season just a few minutes into the show, two teams were sent home with the opportunity to come back in a month, and whichever had lost the most could stay. Can you imagine the excitement and preparations only to be sent home so soon without the opportunity to learn what you came there to learn?
  • Jillian’s penchant to reducing a contestant to a blubbering mess so they’ll open up so she can psychoanalyze them. They all probably do have issues besides diet and exercise they need to deal with, but I don’t think it has to be done that way.

Why I could never be on the show:

  • I could not weigh in in public in those outfits designed to show every bump and bulge, not just because of embarrassment, but because of modesty. I couldn’t do so even if I was slim — especially if I was slim.
  • I could.not.stand the yelling in the face thing. Or yelling at all.
  • Physical issues that would mean not being able to do the kinds of physical things they do as much as they do them. They do sometimes have someone with bad knees or something who has to work out in the pool, but I think it puts them at a disadvantage on the show in the long run. I think it would be interesting for them to do a season with people with physical limitations just so people in that situation know it IS possible. But they probably would not have the big dramatic weight losses every week.
  • I don’t really like group things. I tried Weight Watchers for about a month but really didn’t like the sessions.
  • I’m too private to do all of that in front of the group there, not to mention in front of cameras and the public eye. Blogging about it is one thing — I did have a weight-loss blog at one time (I still have it, but have not done much with it) and participated in group weigh-in and encouragement blog until it went defunct, and I like reading other people’s weight-loss blogs, but I would feel uncomfortable in a group setting in person.

Meanwhile I’ll keep watching and hopefully learning and being inspired. Ironically, though, every time I watch it I want to eat during or after it….

11 thoughts on “The Biggest Loser

  1. I’ve not seen that show. And I probably would have much the same reactions as you do. My exercise and weight loss have been tremendously private things. I understand about the physical limitations.

    Nearing 46, I find myself faced with knee and hip problems that apparently should not be this bad for my age. All my joints have issues–but knees and hips keep me standing!!

    I’ve found ways to modify my exercise and still gain benefit & lose weight. As the weight has come off my joint pain has decreased. I stalled out a bit, but have restarted. Hopefully I can lose as much in 2010 as I did in 2009.

    Prayers for inspiration and encouragement!


  2. I feel much the same way that you do about the show, Barbara, especially Jillian endeavoring to psychoanalyze the participants. Hello.
    AND I could never wear those outfits either! Hello. They are so unforgiving and immodest. So I’m with you on that one all the way!!!
    I really enjoyed this post! 🙂

  3. I haven’t seen this show yet but I’ve been awfully curious about it. I think I would not like the yelling in the face or the public weigh-ins either. That would be horribly disconcerting.

    I’m still very curious about it because it seems so effective for some and it seems helpful. But I’m afraid I don’t have the personality to take that very well.

  4. I watched this show only once. When did, I couldn’t see past the way the people were being treated to find any benefit. I was furious and turned it off.

  5. I could say ditto to everything you said, Barbara! Beth and I were actually discussing the weigh-ins last night, and I said I couldn’t do it. She said, “You couldn’t wear a sports bra in public!” and she’s absolutely right! I also hate seeing Jillian pound on people verbally, although Bob is a little nicer. I would walk out if Jillian came anywhere near me! LOL

    I don’t pay a lot of attention throughout the season, although Beth does, but I love the finale shows. I really love seeing how much weight each person lost. Even Wes will watch about 5 minutes of a finale show! 😉

  6. Barbara,

    I have never seen this show, not a big TV watcher, but I have seen the commercials for it. It seems sort of demeaning the way the contestants are treated. These are humans with faults and feelings and it sickens me for them to be treated as anything less just because they have issues with their weight and don’t fit in with the worldview. I like that you are taking the good things from the show to help you make positive choices in you own life. Reality TV is just so sad.

  7. Hi Barbara,

    Thanks for your encouraging comment on my birth sampler colors. 😉

    My sister and I are looking forward to the stitch-along project. I started on it tonight. I like it so far…

  8. I agree with almost all of your points. Actually when we were watching it, it would come on at the same time as our favorite show NCIS. So we’d watch that first and then catch the 2nd half of BL just to see the weigh in.

  9. I agree with you. I was just saying that I think making them weigh in those outfits is just plain mean!

    I could never do it either because I have a neck injury. I can’t do a lot of those exercises.

  10. I like this show, and like you I’ve only watched for a few seasons. I agree with all the “getting in the face”. Yelling to get them to exercise is one thing, but yelling just to yell is whole other thing.
    I agree with you too about actually being on the show. NO WAY could I weigh in in public and NO WAY could I wear those outfits on TV or anywhere for that matter.
    But I like all of the healthy living information.

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