Why the Biggest Loser is bad

February 8, 2012

I know a lot of people watch this for motivation, and I can honestly see that appeal. But after last night, I can too easily see the “dark” side of this show.

I was flipping back and forth between The Biggest Loser and the hockey game last night. Now, I’m aware that any sane, rational person is aware that this show is not realistic. After all the people that get choosen for it are provided their food, which they may or may not have to cook themselves. The house isn’t stocked with Doritos, pizza, beer etc. No, the house is stocked with lean meats, fruits, vegetables and other healthy options. So that’s unrealistic to normal life advantage one. And if I had a nutrionist who shopped for me and hopefully cooked for me, I would probably have no problems with my food choices either.

Unrealistic to normal life advantage two is the workouts. Normal people struggling to lose weight on their own do not have access to a trainer for 8 hours a day. Ok, ok. The red team didn’t have access to their trainer for a week. BUT these people are exercising for 6-8 hours a day. That is currently their life, that’s all they are doing. If I had the option of working out this much every day then I would drop big numbers too.

So why is this show bad? I’m a sane person. As evidenced, I’m very aware that The Biggest Loser is unrealistic. I’m aware that a safe, healthy and sustainable weight loss is an average of .5 to 2 pounds a week. That’s an average I can live with. Would I like to see the weight go off faster? Heck yeah! But it didn’t come on in a day, it’s not gonna leave in a day. I had my weigh in last night and I was thrilled with it. I’m down 2 pounds, I’m about 2 pounds away from my first 5% goal and only .4 away from 10 pounds. That’s pretty dang awesome.

But then I turned on The Biggest Loser. And the Red Team was very disappointed in Adrian’s loss from the week before. He only lost 2 pounds. That same amount that I just celebrated over. And when the Black Team was up for weigh in a couple of the women were posting 5 and 6 pound losses. Oh the shame of only losing that much. Watching The Biggest Loser can very easily turn into a head game. I wish that they would provide pratical applications/tips for people watching. I wish that they would make sure those watching are aware that it’s ok if they only lose .4 or 1.8, as long as they are working to make themselves healthier.

In my meeting each week (and I’m sure in every meeting) we have celebrations. It can be weight loss, it can be measurement changes, it can be just making good decisions. But it’s something to celebrate. Maybe it’s time The Biggest Loser starts applying that concept to their show for the normal Joes watching. They can run a ticker at the bottom where people can do their celebrations. And they could also do a “The More You Know” kind of PSA at the end where Alison, Dovett, Bob and even the contestents congratulate the fans and viewers for their successes, no matter how big or small they may be.

A mirror is being held up and I see myself in him

April 19, 2010

First my dirty little secret.  I like The Vampire Diaries, the story line is decent and the eye candy alone makes it worth tuning in each week.  And because I’m seeing me in him, or him in me, some background is needed.  The premise of the show centers around Damon and Stefan Salvatore, two vampire brothers who were turned in the 1860’s. Stefen for years has lived off a diet of animal blood rather than human blood.  And Stefen is in love with Elena, a human girl. Two episodes ago Stefen had to drink from Elena, it was the first time he’d had human blood in many years. The final scene showed Damon walking into their living room, Stefen is sitting on the floor hunched over a bag of blood from the blood bank with empty bags strewn about. The scene made me think of a junkie breaking down and giving into that desire, into that craving for a fix and damn the consequences.

This past weeks episode focused on Stefen’s continued struggle to resist that which he desires and is longing for. This final episode showed Damon leaving Stefen alone with a glass of blood. Stefen picked up the glass, looked at it, raised it a bit and then gave in to what he was craving.

So why am I telling you all this? Because Stefen is my mirror image right now. No, my desire and craving isn’t blood (gross!).  My desire and craving is something probably far worse for me, something that can ultimately be dangerous and is totally, 100% legal and therefore something easy to have whenever I want. The image in the mirror is of me, eating. I’m not sure how, I never expected this, but somehow this silly little piece of fiction is showing me myself.

When it comes to food I know exactly what my problem is. I don’t eat because I’m bored, I don’t eat to hide feelings. In fact, I can’t really even say I eat, it’s not really the amount that I eat (although yes, that does play a role a lot of the time), it’s more the choices I make. I make the choices I do because they taste good, I want them and I’m just lazy. I would rather swing through Wendy’s and get a yummy burger than go home and make a sandwich.  I’d rather have cookies than take 5 minutes to prepare a bag of veggies to snack on at work.  And making this change, re-setting my thought process is a daily, hourly, minute by minute struggle.

Confession, I called Carrabba’s on the way out of work tonight and ordered lasagna for pick up to have for dinner tonight. I feel like I should be ashamed, but I’m going to do what I do best when it comes to food – rationalize (although in this case it’s not so much rationalizing as explaining).  I’m on Weight Watchers, journaling what I eat works for me. Weight Watchers works for me, because it means I CAN HAVE these little splurges, I CAN HAVE those cookies if I want. So today I made the decision I wanted what I’ve been craving for a while now, lasagna. I tracked what I’d already eaten, I found nutrition information and I have the room to have it. I made that conscious decision to go ahead and fulfill that desire, and I don’t feel guilty or ashamed about it.  In fact, I’m sure I had an expression of pure bliss on my face while eating it.

What I do feel guilty and ashamed about is the strange desire to hide it. I actually really wanted to go get it for dinner last night despite the fact I had a huge lunch and I was absolutely not hungry. None of that mattered to me, all that mattered was getting that taste into my mouth. A part of me was even hoping that J would leave earlier than he did, that way I could indulge in my dirty secret with no one the wiser, except the car-side to go person and my bank of course. I don’t even know why I feel like I have to hide it, I know J isn’t going to judge me, he’s not going to love me any less. I KNOW this. But for some reason I felt ashamed at the idea of him knowing I was planning on going to Carrabba’s and getting this not-really-so-good-for-me meal. That’s a feeling I don’t like, a feeling I don’t want to have around. Because I am afraid that if I continue to harbor that guilt and shame it’ll derail my efforts. And I’ve worked so hard to get to this point; I still have a long ways to go. And I want to get there. No matter how much easier being lazy and fat actually is, I don’t want to be here, I don’t want this. I want better. I want a different image looking back at me in the mirror.

So far, so good

November 13, 2008

I re-joined Weight Watchers to help me try and lose some weight so I can fit into my dresses when we go on our cruise.  Yesterday was my first week weigh in date.  This followed J’s birthday a week and a half ago, his dad’s birthday this past Friday, and my birthday on Tuesday.  So there was some not quite so good for me items.  And I let myself indulge a little bit.  Mostly at my party on Saturday. 

So heading to weigh in yesterday I fully accepted the possibility of a gain.  After all, I had cake, and a few drinks, and some mozzarella sticks.  I didn’t go super overboard with any of it, but I did have it.  And that was after refusing cheese cake on Friday night.  But, I’m happy to say, I actually lost a little bit yesterday.  I was down .4, and hey, it’s a loss so I’ll take it!  That just means I’m that much closer to my goal for the cruise.

Bring on the White Coat

October 30, 2008

Because I’m getting committed!  And I’m telling you all about it 😀  No, it’s not a mental issue.  Actually, there might be a bit of that there.  And it’s not really the doctors in the white coats coming for me.  I promise.

Remember that fabulous cruise deal J and I got?  If you need reminding, check out this post.  So yeah.  Fabulous cruise deal on a cruise that has a formal night.  I like formal night.  It’s a chance to play dress up and use the beautiful dresses I have.  Only problem is, I fell off the the weight watchers wagon a long time ago.  Actually, I’m not entirely sure I was completely on the wagon.  Maybe being dragged along.  Yeah, that’s it.  I was being dragged along.  Occasionally on my feet running, other times the wagon was pulling me.  So I eventually cut the rope and was left in the dust.

But no more.  Since cutting the rope I’ve gained back no more than ten pounds.  Not bad, and I know it’s because I continued with going to the gym.  BUT, I leave for my cruise in less than twelve weeks.  Twelve short weeks people!  And I have dresses I want to wear on my cruise!  Beautiful dresses that don’t fit right now.  So, it’s time to do something.  And I am, I’m being committed.  It’s time for me to do what I know how to do, what I know works. 

I have eleven and a half weeks before I leave.  Doing what I know how to do, I know I can lose an average of 2 pounds a week.  That should hopefully get me into one of my dresses, fingers crossed it’s the one I want.  And if that dress is still a bit snug, I’m ok with that – it’s strapless.  A bit tight will help it stay up 😀  I started tracking my food yesterday, on a day I had an event for my part time job.  An event that had cake!  I’m proud to say, I didn’t have any.  In fact, I turned down the offer of Reese’s peanut butter cups today, which I absolutely love!

So, here’s to changing my eating habits and having a healthy life!  And here’s to fitting in dresses in 11 1/2 weeks!

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