Biggest Loser.

I hope everyone else’s night has been filled with far less mucous than mine!! (TMI?) I am in continued amazement with how much mucous my body (read: nose) decides to produce when I get sick. This morning? Mucous and phlegm free! Now? It’s pretty much pouring out of me and I’ve already gone through an entire box of Kleenex.
Sorry if that grossed any of you out, but I just HATE being sick. It makes studying (for 3 exams) and doing homework (1 lab report and 1 paper) that much more difficult.  Not to mention I cannot financially afford to be going through this many boxes of Kleenex.

I get sick ALL of the time though! More than anyone else that I know. And I have no idea why! I have one of the most healthy lifestyles (if not THE most healthy) out of everyone I know and yet, I get sick more often than any of them combined! I wash my hands like it’s my job and sanitize them the minute I walk into my apartment. Apparently, that doesn’t even matter. Boo!

When I’m sick, I hardly have an appetite. But for lunch today, nothing sounded better than Tomato Soup. So that is what I ate drank straight out of a bowl. 🙂
To the very.last.drop. Deeeeelicious.

As I’m procrastinating doing my homework & studying, I’ve been watching The Biggest Loser. This show has always brought about mixed emotions for me. The trainers inspire me, the contestants’ stories inspire me. But the overall message that is being sent to millions of viewers’ living rooms is all wrong. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I believe that the superficial  message of “get healthy, lose weight, eat right, get fit” is correct and I definitely agree with all of that. (Hello, Kinesiology major.) But for viewers who maybe don’t have a firm grasp on the actual concept of weight-loss (and all that comes with it) are being swayed into believing things that are untrue, incorrect, misleading, etc etc etc. Stick with me on this one…

First of all, the contestants are told within minutes of arriving that they are going to run a marathon at the end of the show. This probably gives viewers the impression that running a marathon is a very important indicator of health and fitness levels. To a point, yes. If you can run a marathon, you are probably in some sort of good shape and are leading somewhat of a healthy lifestyle- however, this is not ALWAYS the case. (400-lb marathon runner photo, & story.)
There are many people who are in great health, in great physical shape, and have great eating habits who have not run, and never plan on running a marathon.
Then, like the 400-lb man referenced above, he ran a marathon but did so without any intention of changing his eating habits, losing weight, or anything resembling the Biggest Loser. Emily over at Daily Garnish wrote a post about this a while ago that I’ve always agreed with, and she also brings up some other good points about the controversies of the show ending with a marathon.

Next, the contestants are instantly lured in by the incentive of the “Biggest Loser” winning a cash prize. I wrote a paper on adherence to physical activity/exercise programs based on intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, and found an overwhelming amount of research that showed that intrinsic motivation to exercise almost always lead to long-term adherence. Losing weight for money would be an example of an extrinsic motivator, meaning that the reason why these people are losing weight is NOT coming from WITHIN themselves,  but rather, from an exterior motive: money.
More often than not, these contestants lose a ton of weight on the show, go home, return to their usual life styles and gain all of their weight (and sometimes more) back and end up right where they started before the show, or even worse.

If your motivation to get healthy is because you’re going to get money at the end of it all, then of course you’re going to quit the shindig once you lose your chance to win any money at all. To me, this is heartbreaking. For this reason (and fact) alone, The Biggest Loser “organization” is setting the majority of these people up for failure.

Finally, the weigh ins. One of the men on tonight’s show lost 37 pounds…in one week.
37 POUNDS IN ONE WEEK.
ONE WEEK. 37 POUNDS. GONE.

That is a deficit of 129,500 calories.

I’m sure we’ve all heard that “healthy weight loss” is about 1-2 pounds a week.
This isn’t some random number pulled out of the butts of some Weight Loss Guru- it is for a REASON!!
A number of reasons, actually.

If you lose weight too rapidly, you are going to wreak havoc on your body and its metabolism. 
-Your body will think it is starving and will start to slow it’s own metabolism down, eventually making it EXTREMELY difficult for you to lose any sort of weight at all. (Read Tessa’s post about The New Rules of Lifting for Woman, where she recaps the importance of healthy weight-loss.)
-If you lose weight too quickly, after your body starts to lose it’s fluid and water retention, which will inevitably account for a few pounds here and there, it will start to break down it’s own muscle stores in hopes to NOT starve to death. Obviously, you do NOT want your body to eat its own muscle as a fuel source. Muscles burn calories at rest! (Another reason why LADIES!! stop lifting 2-5 pound weights at the gym in hopes that it will change your body and it’s physique. It. Will. Not.) This then ties back in to a decreased metabolism, because now muscle mass is depleting which was burning up calories at rest before your body broke it down and ate it! 

Those are just some of the most simple and obvious dangers of rapid weight loss. All in all, bio-physiology has the proven research that rapid weight loss is just not a good thing. I understand that these people are morbidly obese and that it may be easier for their bodies to lose weight quickly because their resting metabolic rate (RMR) is increased due to the amount of weight that they are carrying around and the sudden drop in calories and increase in exercise is the perfect formula for these people to lose weight, but I really don’t think that 37 pounds in one week can be healthy. More importantly, I don’t think the message that’s being sent to the viewers is beneficial.

Isn’t this show meant to be inspirational? Perhaps ignite a fire under viewer’s behinds (obese or not) and get them moving, but if a viewer with no real knowledge of healthy weight loss sees these people losing tens of pounds each week, and then weigh themselves next week in hopes of losing the equivalent of  a child off of their bodies and then only see 1-2 pounds (healthy!) weight loss, chances are they are going to be discouraged because the 1-2 pound weight loss is FROWNED UPON on this show.

A woman tonight lost 4 pounds- something that I would be ABSOLUTELY THRILLED to see on the scale after 4 weeks time or so.  And she was so disappointed!! Her trainer was disappointed, her team was slightly disappointed. And I felt SO bad for her!! Losing 4 pounds in a week, for those of us who actually need to lose weight, would be ASTOUNDING (at least for me.) In all of the years of my weight-loss journey, never have I ever been able to lose 4 pounds in one week. But I am NOT complaining.

Even though I find the show entertaining and it has the potential to be very inspiring from time to time (I’d let Bob Harper kick my ass in the gym ANY day!), I really think the show is delivering the wrong message to so many people- and so when I do watch the show- I take everything that’s said and done with a grain of salt. I guess The Biggest Loser is just like any other reality TV show, which kind of saddens me- because people’s health is on the line. I just hope that the viewers who are looking to the show for REAL inspiration for a new, healthy lifestyle can sift through the mixed messages and find a healthy way to their health and fitness goals.

  • Do you watch Biggest Loser? What do you think?
  • How often do you get sick!? Any remedies you use that I can borrow to kick this cold??
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4 thoughts on “Biggest Loser.

  1. Blehh I am sorry you are feeling sick 😦 I get excess amounts of sleep and that really seems to help me not get ill… goes to knock on wood quickly to not jinx myself! haha
    I am going to watch BL premiere on my computer tonight!

  2. Pingback: My White Blood Cells= slackers. « whatevertheroute

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