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Eating Habits of ''The Biggest Loser'': Inspirational or Bad Example?

4SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
2/13/2013 7:00 AM   :  1006 comments   :  38,164 Views

"The Biggest Loser" is a television show that's gained increasing popularity over the last few years. Contestants lose astounding amounts of weight in a relatively short period of time, inspiring others who watch the show to try and follow in their footsteps. The contestants are forced to dramatically overhaul their eating habits. But are the methods they use healthy? Do they help them establish habits they can maintain long term?

I have to say up front that I've watched the show, but I'm not a regular viewer. It's too frustrating for me to see what these people go through, giving the impression that exercise has to be painful, you can never eat the foods you enjoy, and you're a failure if you lose less than 10 pounds a week. But I did assume that contestants get a lot of help with their diet, learning how to make proper food choices and also learning that healthy food can taste good. I was disappointed to learn a little more about how this process actually works.

Contestants do all of their own cooking. In the four months of taping, contestants are given a calorie budget, recipes and a list of forbidden foods: no white flour, white sugar, butter, or anything that contains them. From there, they have to learn to create their own meals. The kitchen contains a wide variety of healthy but uncommon ingredients, such as quinoa and kale. The contestants are on their own to learn about and create their own meals. Is that a good thing, or do you think they'd benefit more from having a chef teach them how to prepare these kinds of foods in healthy yet appetizing ways?

Each person is required to eat a minimum number of calories per day and is supposed to keep a daily food journal to prove it. But many actually eat less. During scheduled “temptations,” contestants are bribed to eat junk food with prizes like cash and calls home, sometimes while locked in a dark room with mountains of candy. Is this for real? Are these "temptations" just cruel, or do you think they actually mimic the temptations of real life and are a valid part of the show?

If you watch the show, you know about the "last chance" workout where contestants have a final opportunity to shed pounds before the weigh-in. But many also resort to fasting, asparagus binges (asparagus, a mild diuretic, temporarily reduces weight) and all-coffee strategies to help them achieve a lower number on the scale. Is this just a normal part of competition, or a dangerous and unhealthy way to establish weight loss habits?

Many of the contestants have said they didn't expect to maintain their entire weight loss once at home and some have gained back significant amounts of weight. I guess I'm not surprised, given everything they went through to lose it.

What do you think? Is it more important that people are inspired by the contestants' dramatic results, or should the show be setting a better example of how to lose weight in a healthy way?


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Comments

  • 1006
    This is an older article, right? I'm seeing comments from 2011, so I'm guessing it is.

    Biggest Loser has incorporated some of the ideas in this blog. I don't watch regularly, but I did watch one season, and there was a chef who showed the contestants new ideas of how to create healthy meals. There was also a greater emphasis on finding exercise that the contestants LIKED...but that seemed to come later in the season, after much torture time in the gym.

    Of course the worst thing about the show has always been the unrealistic expectations about weight loss. They lose 14 pounds in a week, and feel like they've failed. It makes my two pounds in a week seem incredibly disappointing, but in fact my two pounds is much healthier than their fourteen (but I'd really like to lose 14 pounds in a week). - 7/4/2014   11:56:38 AM
  • 1005
    I would say a discerning viewer can get started with information from the weight loss shows. I have watched several. They led me to looking for even more information and this search for more information and tracking has led me here to SparkPeople. - 5/19/2014   1:11:16 AM
  • 1004
    I HATE this show. My mom had me watch it with her once and they STARTED OUT by making everyone [stationary] bike a marathon (26 miles!) as their very first task. I was amazed someone didn't keel over from a heart attack! I was just disgusted and didn't stick around long enough to see all of the ridiculous cooking-related nonsense this article describes; I was too angry. - 3/18/2014   11:38:32 AM
  • 1003
    Oos...computer derp made me double-post. - 3/18/2014   11:38:23 AM
  • 1002
    I don't watch this show but I have seen it a time or two. I always wondered if these people gain the weight back because the way that they lose seems so unrealistic. I had heard that they are medically supervised and it is all wonderful but if these people are gaining the weight back, they are just hurting themselves by doing it in the first place. - 12/2/2013   8:11:20 AM
  • 1001
    I think most of the competition aspect puts unnecessary pressure on people in an already stressful situation. I mean it's never easy going from eating whatever you want, whenever you want, and lounging around the TV all day to regular exercise and healthy eating. But as far as having them learn to cook healthy on their own...I think that's probably the most realistic aspect. I mean for any of us, it would be a hell of a lot easier if there was a trained chef to show us the ins-and-outs of healthy cooking and meal planning. Newsflash: 95% of us can't afford that. We HAVE to figure it out on our own. And the trial-and-error period is necessary to help us learn. I'd love to be able to have regular appointments with a nutritionist, just to ask questions and make sure I'm on track. But since that's completely unattainable for someone at my income level, I'm figuring it out on my own (with the help of SparkPeople, of course), as are most of us. - 7/2/2013   2:21:35 PM
  • 1000
    Well, to answer the majority of your questions, I think a chef or leaving at least a few recipes would really help them to enjoy the food that they are allowed to eat. It would also help to teach them how easy it is to actually avoid temptation. I think the ridiculous aspect (like locking someone in a closet with junk food) is slightly realistic, but we all have an out to NOT eat it. Putting that much temptation in front of people can make them want to binge, which is an unhealthy lesson. We all need to learn that certain food is okay in moderation.

    I met 2 contestants of THe Biggest Loser. A husband and wife team. He looked like Santa, and said that was his nickname on the show (I didn't watch). THey were still in shape, and still worked out, and ate healthy. They didn't like the coerced drama on the show, but loved the opportunity to finally take control of their health. They never thought that they would make it on the show. They thought, however, it was their last ditch effort to make themselves take control and practice moderation and lose the weight the desperately needed to lose. I think that SOME people go on to lose the weight, but don't have the support at home. SOME people just relish the opportunity, and don't learn enough habits and the fact that this needs to not be a diet, but a change in lifestyle. These people did... but I think that is the problem is that even though it is hard work on the show, it comes off so quickly, the realization of it being work isn't there. - 3/18/2013   2:45:20 PM
  • 999
    Hate that show. - 3/10/2013   4:42:27 PM
  • 998
    I only just started really getting into The Biggest Loser when there were several seasons available on Netflix, and then they took that away (it's still available, just not on instant watch) so this season (Jillian's just come back after having a baby?) I started watching it on the NBC website.

    I've always known that the way the Losers lost weight was unhealthy--I knew enough about my caloric needs by the time I started hearing the trainers tell the Losers they were limited to around 1500 cal/day to know that their lives would be disrupted by such a stringent diet. I did not, however, know they had absolutely forbidden some foods, and I definitely did not know that the techniques for temporary but uber-fast water weight loss were allowed.

    On the other hand, would America be interested in watching people lose weight the healthy way, changing their lifestyles instead of by dieting? Jamie Oliver has only had a couple seasons of his Food Revolution, and you don't see people lining up to be featured on his show the way you see contestants who are Biggest Loser hopefuls.

    I am impressed by the way Jillian has taken a milder approach (and it seems to be working!) this year. I am unsurprised by the way Bob has gotten a little louder with his team. I have always been curious about what happens to all the skin when they're looking so fit and trim at the finale.

    And I love the way so many of them seem to undergo a career change once they've lost the weight, becoming personal trainers and nutritionists, themselves.

    So while I don't think their way of losing is the best way, it is the way to get America's attention, and while I don't know the statistics on Losers who regain the weight, it appears to be working for many of them. - 2/1/2013   4:25:34 PM
  • FLRED12
    997
    I don't watch the show. I don't agree with the concept. It just doesn't seem healthy at all. - 12/31/2012   11:19:53 AM
  • 996
    Seriously, I would make a lot of money if I bet on the contestants that I thought would not maintain or gain back their weight. It's sad but true. I do like the coaches. I think 2013 has the best of the best coaches returning. I would work with Bob, Jillian, and Dolvett anytime.

    I believe the only way to be successful is to embrace a healthy lifestyle and LIVE it! What's wrong with that? I hit my goal weight and was prepared to maintain as I was now living a healthy lifestyle. When I see the show, I'm continuously reminded of people who do the latest "fad diet," hit their goal, then take license to go back to their bad eating habits and the obvious result. I endorse a permanent change of lifestyle. Contesting this approach is simply another negative excuse. - 12/31/2012   9:20:02 AM
  • 995
    I love the show and to be honest I have never really thought about any of this. It is nice to see people who are in the same boat as I am lose weight but this is very unhealthy. I thought they have always pride themselves on healthy habits. How is this a healthy habit? - 11/15/2012   4:35:23 PM
  • 994
    They don't use a healthy way to loose weight AT ALL... However that show certainly helped to motivate me when I was having a hard time sticking to my exercise plan. The way they eat doesn't support a healthy weight loss attempt but the way they exercise (if kept realistic) is definitely a good motivational tool.
    I figure if they can do it, so can I! - 10/25/2012   7:34:33 PM
  • 993
    this show is, how shall i say, not my favourite! - 9/26/2012   8:25:25 AM
  • 992
    The show motivates me to get up and be active - 8/22/2012   9:45:15 AM
  • CHRISTINASP
    991
    My impression is that it has nothing to do with healthy habits or long term life style changes. So is it really about weight loss? I think those who comment that it's just about entertainment and ratings are right. The sad thing is that it does reinforce some incorrect ideas about how to lose weight (and keep it off). - 6/19/2012   10:40:55 AM
  • 990
    I just read this article and the author stated, "The kitchen contains a wide variety of healthy but uncommon ingredients, such as quinoa and kale." I have been watching this show for years and I do not recall ever seeing such things in the kitchen. It seems like the kitchem is stocked with Jennie-O turkey and Glad storage bags. I watch the show because it is a tv-reality show; a contest and I like to see the transformations at the end. However, it is my opinion if people used the show for motivation, then one ought to do research and learn what is the best way to train and to eat because what we see on the TV is what the producers want us to see. The producers are seeking for ratings, not health and well-being of the viewers. I find the show Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss edition much more motivating. There was one episode on that show where the person was working out so hard that she felt like vomiting and the trainer of that show was concerned that he may have pushed her too far at that time. Quite the opposite of what we see on the Biggest Loser. - 6/15/2012   8:18:40 AM
  • 989
    I really like the show. I have been a fan for a few years and realize that the contestants go through extreme measures that most people couldn't do to lose the weight. I know that I won't ever see that kind of weight loss in a week and I am completely ok with it. I think the biggest reason I watch it is to motivate me to get up and move. I mean, if those people can do it, then why the heck can't I?! I also really like the fact that they try to help these people overcome their emotional issues with eating right and living their best life. I think that as long as we, the viewers, take responsibility to know that this is not a normal way to lose weight, then it can be a great thing!
    And also, I am so happy that they have added past seasons to netflix...I have been able to watch while I am on the treadmill! - 4/26/2012   6:42:53 PM
  • 988
    I HATE this show!!!!! Seriously, truly HATE IT!!!!!!! I think it send the absolute worst message to people: That quick, gimmicky methods are best to change yourself NOW. They are setting these people up for sure failure once the show has ended. Who can maintain working out 4-6 hours day?

    But what really makes me detest the show is people being chastised for losing "only" 4 lbs in a week. Really?!?!?!? Because let me tell you, almost 5 years on Spark now, I have considered myself lucky to be down 4 lbs in a MONTH when factoring in long term food changes, realistic workouts, in addition to juggling a full time job, a house to manage, and young children to raise. And I'm damn proud of that 4lbs/month loss. Was it glamorous? No, but I've kept off 95% of my lost weight about 7 months into "maintenance" phase.

    Ugh. Seriously, I could go on all day. I wish this show would be canceled already. - 4/26/2012   2:59:04 PM
  • 987
    I love TBL, only because I love watching them physically transform. I know they are not losing wt the traditional way. If I had to look at Dovett's gorgeousness every day for 4 months, I would lose 100 lbs too! ;-)

    I don't like the fact that they humiliate the contestants by making them appear on tv every week with all of their huge stomaches hanging out. No over weight person would ever go to the gym dressed like that.

    Anyway, we have to keep in mind that their journey really isn't as much of a lifestyle change as it is for us. Their journey is a contest or game. - 4/11/2012   9:52:21 AM
  • 986
    I've seen the show a couple of times, and I don't like it. I think voting people off sends the wrong message, although people insist that even the ones voted off get help at home. Gotta say, though, that I've got several Biggest Loser cookbooks, and I DO like the diet plan, and have lost a few lbs on it. MY biggest problem is consistency, which I'm hoping SparkPeople can help me with! - 4/10/2012   10:04:55 AM
  • 985
    I used to watch the show regularly but gave it up this season. I am just so sick of all the product placement. But honestly, the show was very motivating to me for awhile. they do get cooking classes, on a limited basis. Overall though I think it's unrealistic for people to think they can lose like the contestants on BL. Most of us just have to lose our 1-2 lbs a week and be so grateful for that!
    - 4/9/2012   10:28:48 AM
  • 984
    Good article about this topic in New York Times. Google this:
    In Kitchen, ‘Losers’ Start From Scratch By JULIA MOSKIN - 4/7/2012   5:17:25 AM
  • 983
    Have you guys seen Live Big with Ali Vincent? She was the first female winner of TBL. Her show is very balanced and inspirational.

    livewellnetwork (dot) com (forward slash) Live-Big-with-Ali-Vincent - 4/5/2012   5:20:18 AM
  • 982
    I have watched The Biggest Loser programs - Australian, British and those from the US. The British seem to have a bit more moderate approach and they offer way less money in prizes what's more. TBL seemed to mark the beginning of openly talking about obesity from my point of view and in that way I think that it's been a good thing. The show is sheer melodrama but really makes no bones about the fact that it's not an easy thing to lose weight. I think it is structured to be entertaining to the masses ergo the competitive element is key. Here in Australia we had a couple of seasons where one night was devoted to a discussion of health, exercises and tips and tricks in the kitchen. I thought that interesting though it was obviously not a ratings winner as it is no longer part of the format. There are now a lot of programs that look at weight loss but I never lose sight that anything on television is a fantasy - not real. Even the news in a way bears little relationship to reality.

    One thing I love about Sparkpeople is that it allows me to captain my own ship. Whether the Biggest Loser or dietry organisations, delivered meals and the like, they all ask people to hand themselves over to an expert or authority and takes them back to childhood status - screamed at, cooked for, accountable to somebody else other than themselves. Sparkpeople allows me to maintain integrity and dignity in my weightloss journey. It's also free and I will ever be grateful. - 4/5/2012   2:17:04 AM
  • 981
    They get cooking classes. - 4/4/2012   4:16:19 PM
  • 980
    I love watching the Biggest Loser! I never knew that they did those things to help them lose more weight on weigh in day! That's very sad b/c I thought they were getting healthy meals fixed by a chef and that they were doing everything the right way! - 4/2/2012   9:18:25 AM
  • 979
    I have saw the show once or twice. They do not seem to focus much on the psychosocial or emotional problems to overeating. It takes much more than throwing new foods and exercising to the point of turning blue and dehydrating. - 2/23/2012   8:50:59 PM
  • 978
    I have no tv, so I have never seen the show, but that's crazy! Why don't they have a mentor teaching them the basics of good nutrition and how to make food taste great with lower calories. I agree that it would be far better to teach the lifestyle change than having people fast and those crazy mean temptations-wow?!? - 2/23/2012   8:36:59 PM
  • LUVDONE
    977
    What we all have to remember is everyone is different and we will lose weight differently. The show should give its contestants all the proper tools needed. As everyone is doing, keep your head up and know you are doing great. - 2/16/2012   11:10:51 AM
  • GRENADAGIRL73
    976
    I have to admit to only watching a few episodes. I found the workout scenes to be awful. I was also uncomfortable about the way they spoke to contestants, feeling that it gave permission for other people to talk to someone who is overweight in the same manner.

    I am so happy that the show brings to light the problems associated living and unhealthy lifestyle, but then ruins it by replacing it with an equally unhealthy expectation.

    This type of programming gets viewers, and I think that is unfortunate. It is just one more "quick fix" that does not work. - 2/16/2012   9:43:51 AM
  • 975
    I watch TBL as a kind of therapy, not as a model of how to get healthy, but a reminder of why to stick to the path I'm on. It is extreme; it is meant to be entertaining (though I often find what's supposed to be entertaining in it merely tedious). I agree with all the criticisms here. I really enjoyed a Canadian production "Village on a Diet". The whole town gets help in their ordinary lives in a challenge to collectively loose a ton. Trainer, chef, doctor, psychologist brought in to help, but since it wasn't a competition against each other, people supported each other and friendships grew. People faced realistic challenges, not the stupid games on TBL. Bottom line, on the follow-up visit, people had lost more weight. - 2/13/2012   10:34:59 AM
  • 974
    I absolutely LOVE the Biggest Loser. I think that you get what you want out of it. If you want to feel bad about yourself, you can use the show as another excuse to do that. If you want to feel better about yourself and use the show as motivation, then you will do that. I personally choose to use the show as motivation. I am also realistic enough to know that I won't be able to lose 10 pounds in a week, unless I want to quit my job, never see my family, scrutinize everything that goes into my mouth and chain myself to a treadmill...and then still probably couldn't do it at my current weight.

    The show doesn't teach bad eating behaviors or tell you that you should go on green veggie only diets, etc. They never show anything like that. They give a lot of good advice on eating right and healthy meal ideas. The expedited weight loss on the show serves as a means for motivation and to show people that healthy living works. People have to be realistic though, and use common sense! - 2/13/2012   10:12:38 AM
  • 973
    I used to watch this show quite a bit, but have since slacked off a little. I used it to motivate me to exercise. I've never taken the weight loss at face value. I know that it is under extreme measures they lose that weight. I'm a little surprised at how extreme and at the lack of some assistance though. I've always thought they needed counselors on the show to help resolve some underlying issues that caused some of the people to turn to food. Trainers are good but not always equipped to deal with the range of problems.

    It surprises me and it shouldn't, that people forget that some of us live in rural areas. Kale and quino ARE hard to find for us out here. However I have seen it. I have a passion for broccolini and that is even worse to try to find. I now live in a pretty urban area, and don't have nearly the trouble. Once upon a time though I the choice between iceberg lettuce, spinach, and cabbage for leafy greens. I don't think most weight loss diet plans take this into consideration. They throw in odd (for us) ingredients and we have to figure out what to replace them with that would still be low cal. That is not always easy. - 2/13/2012   9:53:03 AM
  • BETTYCQ
    972
    I watch this show and I like it better now that Jillian is off of it. She really seemed sadistic and cruel. Personally I would not like being abused by someone swearing at me (it seems like military boot camp). But I do like to see the physical changes of everyone each week, especially when they've gone home and are doing their thing in a more reasonable way. - 2/13/2012   9:19:10 AM
  • 971
    I watch the show, have for all of the seasons. But admit that the rapid weight loss, the killer (keep going til you puke, faint or die) last chance workouts and the dissatisfaction they exhibit when they do lose "but 10lbs a week is not enough" mentality bugs the crap out of me. Thier transformations are awe inspiring but at what cost? I am like most I worry that the show will kill someone either on air, or off air as others aspire to have the same rapid losses. - 2/13/2012   9:07:10 AM
  • 970
    I watched this show regularly for a few seasons. But after awhile it really began to bother me. I was seriously worried that they were going to kill one of the contestants! - 12/29/2011   6:57:17 AM
  • 969
    I have been watching this show now, for the last 4 seasons I believe. What I get from it, is IF THEY CAN DO IT, I can! It only looks like it takes a short time, but everything is cut down to fit the time frame. The current season is going on while they are actually taping the next. When you consider the finale' comes only a week after the last show, when you know it is MONTHS in actuality, that is a teller.

    A LOT of these people remain successful in their post BL lives, why? Because this contest gave them something they didn't have before....a "club" of others with the same problems....exercise....which many had NEVER done before, and a way to eat correctly. Granted there are problem deals , but for the most part, this show has been an inspiration to so many..... - 12/21/2011   4:32:52 PM
  • 968
    I love the show for the people's stories but totally disagree with how they have to lose this weight and how they are pitted against each other to lose the most weight. I get very annoyed when someone gets kicked off that really needs the help 'just because of the game'. - 8/26/2011   12:22:33 PM
  • 967
    My friend and I used to watch this show. I was trying to lose weight at that time, like I am again now. I would always get depressed after the show. I was exercising hard, I was eating well and restricting my calories and only losing 2 - 4 pounds a month!! They were losing 10 pounds a week. It made me sad. Now, I just think the show is sickening, unrealistic, and perpetuates bad dieting behaviors. - 7/13/2011   4:03:28 PM
  • 966
    As a person who started my weight loss journey at over 320 pounds (currently at 266! : ) I LOVE watching The Biggest Loser! I am not stupid enough to think that their weight loss is something I can do at home with my sensible and slow dietary changes and exercise routines, but I get a lot of encouragement by watching them lose weight. I see where their weight loss takes them and the ways that they are able to push their bodies to do amazing things and it makes me want to try a little bit harder. Even at 266, a lot of people would understand if I just sat around all day, but they get nervous if I go out to walk a 5k. So it blesses me to see people my size on TV DOING IT! They tout a healthy diet on the show and they give healthy dieting tips (although sometimes skewed a bit by their sponsors...). All the stuff they do to win the game is part of their full-time "job" while they are there and it is obvious to me that isn't good for real life. And not all the contestants gain it back. "Test everything; hold on to the good." 1 Thess 5:21 - 6/14/2011   7:35:31 AM
  • 965
    I enjoy the show but I too wonder if the dietary idea it passes along is healthy. I think it's best to take a hybrid; cut out those bad things and then learn on your own. I don't have a chef at home teaching me how to make things; I have a cookbook and myself. At the same time I think that losing SO MUCH weight as quickly as they do is unhealthy. Obviously you'll lose more quickly if you are severely overweight like many of these people, but the rapid weight loss should die down more quickly than it does on the show. - 6/3/2011   12:46:08 PM
  • 964
    i admit, i love the show. i'm catching up on season 8 right now (no tv for a LONG time over here in south korea, and no watching hulu) so when we started a "biggest loser" competition where i live, i was STOKED. then depressed! some of the women here say they've already lost between 4 and 15 lbs! and we've only been at this a week!! so between that and the show i was beating myself up b/c i couldn't do what they do!!

    then my hubby pointed out, the people here at home, who are working out ALL THE TIME and crash dieting (ie... only meat, only veggies, etc...) have no kids, or kids that are in school all day long. i have a 3 year old. anyone who knows what its like to have a 3 year old knows... u don't get time to yourself (thank god for bathroom locks...) LOL

    We have cut back our eating a bit, since we don't eat "unhealthy" but we eat more than we should, which, even healthy food can be bad if you eat too much, and instead of beating myself up for only doing ONLY 1/2 an hour, i am learning to feel good about my 1/2 hour... and if, by some miracle i do win the local competition, and the 1000 that comes with it... i can be proud to know that i did it with spark, and not the biggest loser standards...

    also, the biggest loser tv show has helped me a little bit, but not with food, and not with the workout, but with some of the emotional struggles that the contestants face, from before they even got on the show. Thats what helps me on the show - 5/4/2011   1:22:20 AM
  • 963
    My husband watches the biggest loser and I have to leave the room. The show is awful and teaches people to fast to lose weight and do drastic things rather than eat a healthy way and to exercise in a moderate safe way. There is nothing real life about the way they are doing it on that show. Its not even entertaining to me to see 400 pound peolle being forced to work out so hard and be disappointed when they lose 10 pounds. Gees 10 pounds is awesome. - 3/29/2011   6:09:46 PM
  • 962
    I watched a few minutes of the show once, and that was enough for me. Seems the producers want to capitalize on the sensationalism so many viewers seek. I've enjoyed "Heavy"...even though the routine is strict, it does focus on training and lifestyle changes that are needed, and encompasses a six-month time frame, to give said changes a chance to become more firmly-ingrained. - 3/29/2011   5:33:37 PM
  • 961
    I enjoy the show, but I don't believe it is a good way to lose weight. Yes, they lose it fast, but as the article says, very few keep it off for long. So I believe that most of these people are there just for the money. I believe the show Heavy, even though is not as entertaining, is more helpful for the people that actually want to lose weight. - 3/24/2011   4:00:44 PM
  • 960
    I love the show, but I think that it's dangerous for people who watch at home who might expect those kinds of results and think they are normal. Those kinds of results without the monitoring of doctors and nutritionists can be dangerous, as well as the extreme workouts. I always take the show with a grain of salt, more as entertainment and a bit of motivation. What I really appreciate are the at-home contestants who lose weight at a slower pace and closer to a healthier way. - 2/15/2011   2:30:30 PM
  • 959
    I have long had a "troubled" relationship with this show. I recognize that it is inspirational to many people, and it draws attention to the obesity problem in our country, but at some point I think that the rapid weight loss and extreme methods can be more harmful than helpful. I'm not talking about the contestants- I'm talking about the people who watch the show. People who, like me, have 100-200 or more pounds to loose didn't get that way because they understand intimately the way health and nutrition function. I have seen with my own eyes that the show CAN cause individuals to have unrealistic expectations or to do other things like overextend themselves at the gym without the benefit of the attending doctors and trainers that the contestants have at all times.

    But, on the other hand, I think the majority of people, even those watching it for weight loss inspiration, know enough to take it with a grain of salt. It's a game show, after all.

    Also, incidentally, there have in the past been segments dealing with nutrition. I remember an episode where a chef came on and gave a demonstration of chicken kabobs made with whole rosemary skewers. I tried it after I saw the show and it WAS awesome. I agree there could TOTALLY be more of that in the show! - 2/15/2011   11:24:26 AM
  • 958
    I think that the show can be motivational for people and it brings to our attention the problem of obesity in our country. However, the show does not set a good example of how to lose weight and keep it off. People are under extreme conditions on the show, and when they return home they are highly likely to gain the weight back. I think the show sets up false expectations--it's not really realistic or healthy for most people to be losing 10+ pounds a week. I wish that Sparkpeople was better known. No great mystery--eat within your calorie budget and exercise. How simple and freeing! And it's free! - 2/6/2011   5:46:02 PM
  • 957
    I find the show absolutely inspiring. Any one who has followed a whole season will know that many of these people are at risk to die soon if they don't lose drastic amounts of weight. The contestants who make it to week 4 and so on already are able to start getting off meds for all sorts of obese related illnesses. There are always those who gain weight back but they aren't gaining weight back because they are following what they learned. The show has given me many ideas for successful weight loss like using non fat yogurt in place of sour cream, ideas for exercise, and just knowing it will take some pain both emotionally and physically to be successful. Thank you BL! - 2/6/2011   4:02:07 PM

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