The SparkPeople Blog

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

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
2/13/2013 7:00 AM   :  1004 comments   :  36,203 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?


Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
 

NEXT ENTRY >   Reviews of SparkPeople's 'Total Body Sculpting' DVD

Great Stories from around the Web

Comments

  • 954
    I love this show. It's absolutely a weight loss game show, not a weight loss show, so it's almost expected that the contestants will go to extreme lengths to stay in the running. And anyone who's going on the show is probably aware of that going in - this kind of story about BL has been going around for years. Maybe it's not ideal, but I think the good outweighs the bad. There's a higher percentage of success rate for people on BL than the general population. It's not 100%, not even close, but it's still relatively successful. - 2/2/2011   5:27:04 PM
  • 953
    Kale and quinoa are hardly rare. Maybe if you live on the moon but I see it everywhere! In fact my family regulary has it in our meals. Also, this is a TV show. They want the entertainment value. Anyone who thinks that this is something they can obtain in the real world needs a reality check. I think this show is incredibly inspiring and really can kick start somone's weight loss efforts. However, if you are not commited it won't work. These people have nutritionists and the like but we have Sparkpeople. Also, nothing is mentioned about the fact that these people usually maintain their weight loss on their own. People judge this show so harshly but most don't actually watch it for what it is: ENTERTAINMENT. It's better than most "reality" shows out there. take it's lessons with a grain of salt and just enjoy seeing that it can be done. And while we're on the subject about weight loss what about "Ruby"? People love her and her show but no one is pointing out that she has tools most people in the real world don't. It's just entertainment. - 2/2/2011   12:37:17 PM
  • SCAREWALDORF
    952
    I like KARENSUEBURTON'S game show idea. I'd watch THAT - 2/2/2011   11:11:36 AM
  • 951
    I have seen the show about season 2, but I don't really watch it now. I think that with most reality shows, they add to the show because if they didn't, people wouldn't watch. I think that the reason for the quick weight loss is also for financial reasons. They want to show big results quickly to maintain viewers and interest.
    Overall I think the show is fine if viewed in perspective. - 1/29/2011   11:01:55 PM
  • KBENNETT1208
    950
    I absolutely think this post was a little one sided. First of all, kale and quinoa are not rare. Many healthy ingredients can be found in your local grocery store. And I think it's best they learn to cook these things for themselves. How is it fair to expect them to have more help maintaining when they get home if you can't even expect them to cook for themselves? - 1/28/2011   4:59:45 PM
  • 2BMEAGAIN2
    949
    I like and watch the show each week. If they can do it, what in the world is my problem? It shows that there are some emotional issues that need to be faced. I would enjoy watching more of what and how they prepare foods. Many times, it seems that the people don't maintain the weight after they go home. Perhaps more monitoring of people after they go home would be helpful. It would be interesting to see how all the people that have been on the show are doing today rather than a select few. - 1/27/2011   1:15:05 PM
  • SJB1024
    948
    At least two of the trainers, Brett and Jillian, have been overweight before. Jillian weighed 175 pounds at 5' 2" according to interviews. Brett said on the show that he was overweight as a child, but I don't know his measurements. I don't think the trainers look down on the contestants at all. From what I've seen, they only get angry at people for gaining weight when they haven't been trying their hardest. - 1/26/2011   1:50:47 PM
  • 1SUMMERDAY
    947
    The show doesn't endorse unhealthy caloric restriction or diuretics. These people are adults making choices for themselves and if they wanted to they could use unhealthy methods like that at home too. I like TBL. I think many of the people really need the jump start they get from the show. Slow weight loss is all very well but it will lead many people to get discouraged and quit. And yes they do things that are hard for them, which they often don't enjoy at the time, but they are almost always glad they did it later. Accomplishing something you thought you could not do is one of the most rewarding experiences.

    And to the person who called the trainers stick people, you need a reality check. The trainers are at healthy weights and in good physical condition and if you think otherwise your perspective has been warped by being overweight. Also, as for people who have never been obese not knowing what they're talking about, would you refuse to follow the advice of a doctor just because they had never been overweight? You don't have to have been a drug addict to try to help people come out of it.... - 1/26/2011   11:35:09 AM
  • 946
    I admit it, I love this show and for me it is "must see TV". For me, it is inspirational to see the contestants not only loose weight, but to see them exercising. When I think I have had enough, I always think about what Bob & Jillian would say to me, and if those contestants (that are much larger than I am) can push through then so can I.

    However, I do wish that they would focus more on the eating habits and cooking, and less on the temptation challenges. I think it is a challenge to resist those foods even if they are not laid out in front of you! Over the past few seasons, we have seen more and more contestants "throw" weigh-ins and that is very discouraging. I don't like that game-play facet of the show and it makes me even madder when someone gains 9 pounds in a week (is that even humanly possible?) and doesn't fess up that it was game play. Disgusting...and the trainers have every right to be mad.

    I do realize that these people work on the notion of burning more calories than they take in, and I know that is not healthy for me, so I take the show in stride and just enjoy it for what it is. - 1/26/2011   7:01:26 AM
  • 945
    The Biggest Loser is just that...a loser of a program!!! Just look at those stupid skinny people who have probably NEVER been obese and they think they know everything about people??? I have dieted off and on since I was 15 years old (I'm 55 now). I am proud to have lost 30 lbs in 3 months with Spark People. It's a daily struggle and anyone who has to carry extra weight cannot easily do those horrible exercises!!! Add 200 lbs or more to your body and try and do what they expect these people to do. Then have the nerve to belittle them if they can't do it while they stand around and watch these people struggle!!! It's a lifestyle change not a lose-it-quick and then try and keep it off. Been there, done that!!! I'm surprised that someone hasn't had a stroke or heart attack. Don't they realize that muscle weighs more than fat and maybe because of all the exercise they're doing that building up muscle may be the reason why some of them gain weight ??? I watched this show only once because it really ticked me off at the snotty so called trainers. It's hard enough to loose weight and try and keep it off. Who needs know-it-all stick-people to talk down to you and make you feel depressed about yourself?? I get tons of motivation from the great people at Spark People...even when I "fall off the wagon", so to speak. It's not reality, it's show business out to make a buck out of exploiting obese people. Very cruel IMHO. - 1/25/2011   9:08:47 PM
  • SKSOUTHWORTH
    944
    I do not think the rapid weight loss on Biggest Loser is very healthy. At the same time it is extremely unhealthy to be as large as most of the people on the show are. However, the bottom line is that I think the show is set up to provide shock and drama because the producers of the show think that will sell most. I think in real life it is much, much healthier to establish a healthy lifestyle one piece at a time and lose weight over time instead of extremely quickly. I think the percentage of people who gain all or even more weight back is much higher for people who take drastic and brutal measures to lose weight quickly. Most of them will not be able to maintain it when they go back to real life. Reality shows are NOT real life, plain and simple. Although I think some aspects of the Biggest Loser's has merritt, I don't like the overall message it sends to people. Most people cannot concentrate totally on losing weight for months at a time. They have to work full time and live life with all its challenges. It is not realistic to expect that you can duplicate what people do on the show in real life besides it not being very healthy or sustainable way to lose weight. - 1/25/2011   7:20:24 PM
  • CYNNANE
    943
    I think if you like to watch people at their absolute lowest than you'll enjoy the show. Sure there are little moments of happy victory, I lost 10 pounds! But most of the show is watching obese people being exploited (yes I know they volunteer, but it is still exploitation of their desperation) then have at it. It is not a realistic approach to weightloss, and frankly many of them exercise through injuries and follow unsafe methods for a chance to win money. I'm proud of them for having the mental and physical strength to endure, but I think it is a disgusting profit motivated empire.
    Just look at Gillian Michaels, she now endorses weightloss pills, detox scams and the like. I doubt she would put that crap in her body, but she will gladly tell you to do it and earn a royalty check. I'd rather read a book or go outside and workout than watch this awful show. - 1/25/2011   4:22:37 PM
  • 942
    The show inspires me. I watch it while I'm on the elliptical and it helps me to work out harder. I love the trainers, and I have purchased some of their workout dvds. You just have to remember that it is a tv show and a reality show, so it is going to have some outrageous parts. There are many things on the show that can be motivating and just the fact that they focus on health and they are bringing attention to eating right and exercise to many Americans who would never think about getting heatlhier, is valuable. - 1/25/2011   9:46:09 AM
  • RENESEY
    941
    I stopped watching the show, I thought the trainers could be abusive to the contestants. You don't have to be rude to someone to motivate them to lose weight! Also I agree with the comments made previous about realistic weight loss. Unless an individual is willing to work out 6-8 hours a day, 6-7 times a week for the rest of their life, the inital weight loss is not sustainable. Most contestants have gained some of their weigh back after leaving the show, I believe that some are excellent role models of adapting what they've learned to their lifestyles. Good for them!!! - 1/24/2011   5:33:45 PM
  • 940
    It's all about using your common sense while watching the show. I love it, I never miss a season. Not because I think I am going to lose that much weight right a long with them, but because I see what these people are able to do, that i never thought I was able to do... if they can, I can!!
    - 1/24/2011   12:15:30 PM
  • 939
    I don't watch the show, but I've heard a lot about it. I don't think that the whole thing is realistic and does not translate to those of us who walk and work and strive to change our lifestyles in a real world. - 1/23/2011   10:49:40 AM
  • SPARSONS0
    938
    I am a huge fan of the show. If someone 500lbs can walk on a treadmill and loose over 100 lbs before getting there, I can definately get my 200lb butt up and do something and lose 50lbs. Those people have access to the best medical care that otherwise some of them could not afford. After workouts they can get a message or whatever. It's a reality show and a game, so I look mat it for what it is but, I wish I had a portion of the bennefits they have. - 1/21/2011   9:36:21 PM
  • RUDBEKIA
    937
    Ironically enough, I watched the show for the first time last night! I am just not a fan of reality shows in general, but I kept hearing about it on this site and was curious to watch it. Honnestly I was disturbed. To see contestants disappointed by their weight loss when the had lost 6 lbs or more seemed unrealistic...
    I was also frightened by the last chance workout... Some contestants are really obese and I was afraid some would pass out from pushing so hard. Now to hear that some "cheat" at the final weigh-in by consuming foods or beverages that are diuretics or by fasting disturbs me even more...
    This being said, I don't think the show would be so popular if contestants went though all this only to lose one or 2 lbs during the week! It has to be sensational in order to be popular! - 1/20/2011   12:44:40 AM
  • 936
    I have watched this show for a couple of seasons. While I have assumed that they did not all lose weight in a healthy manner, to see people put themselves out there and do whatever they can to get healthy (most of them do look seem much healthier afterwards) is somewhat motivating. IF someone that weighs 400 pounds can work out, make changes, and in many cases keep it off, I have no excuses.
    Let's face facts. TBL is a television show. They are not in it for the wellbeing of anyone. They do offer people an opportunity to focus on losing weight and gives them tools to be successful if they choose to do it. I don't see many other opportunities for some of these people.
    Of course Spark People is a better way to do it, but not everyone knows about it. I have been battling my weight for years. If I hadn't stumbled across the site, the show would be a source of motivation. If these people can do all this, I CAN stick to a healthy plan and lose my 2 pounds per week. - 1/19/2011   10:22:13 AM
  • LJHST5
    935
    I have to agree with the person that posted about not speaking ill of the show when you don't watch it regularly. I watch it all the time. I find it very positive and realistic. They are constantly reminding us that the situation at the ranch is not replicable outside. As for not showing the contestants how to prepare foods, not true. Just last night, they had Curtis Stone (a famous chef who appears often) show the contestants how to make healthy dishes with some ingredients (including Quinoa). And they are most definitely not told to starve themselves. They are in fact frequently talking about how important it is to fuel your body. As for not having white flour, sugar, etc. in your diet and calling it not possible. I highly disagree. The fact is it's becoming more and more acceptable to exclude these items because of what we are learning. Eating in moderation is good. But that doesn't mean you have to eat lard in moderation. How many of us have that sitting around to cook with in moderation anymore? - 1/19/2011   9:46:32 AM
  • DAWNRH1
    934
    I'm finding reading many of these comments entertaining. I watch the show regularly. The contestants do get tips and information on healthy eating. They are not being told to eat 1000 or 1200 calories a day. They are being monitored for that as well as their calorie burn and there have been numerous episodes where the trainer sits down with someone and tells them "you have to eat more calories to lose weight and be healthy". They frequently openly acknowledge that this is not reality and that you can't work out like they do I normal life. The time at the ranch is an opportunity to work out and focus on one's self without outside distractions. I understand if you don't watch the show because it's just not your thing but don't spout off about something you're not familiar with or don't see regularly. The show has been inspirational for many people who are intelligent enough to know they can't work out for 6-8 hours a day. But it's helps them realize that they can get 30-60 minutes in especially as it benefits physical and mental health and wellbeing. By the way, if you weigh 400 or 500 pounds and you start eating healthy, cut out the sodas and salt, and actually move your body with any intensity, it is highly possible to drop large amounts of weight.

    As a side note to one of the more recent posts, the new show on A&E called Heavy essentially does that -the individuals are followed for 6 months with doctor visits at beginning and end, they're given a personal trainer to help them, etc. It was pretty interesting. - 1/19/2011   9:05:02 AM
  • 933
    The show has been so inspirational to so many, including me, but at what price? I hate it when I see the contestants cry on the scale because they ONLY lost 5 pounds that week.

    I want to see a show where the contestants live normal lives (they go to work, church, school, volunteer, take care of the kids, go to the grocery store, etc.) and incorporate healthy lifestyle changes into those daily lives that any of us could do. They exercise 1 hour/day and make other small lifestyle changes that anyone can do.

    Follow those people for 1 year and show us the doctor visit before & after 1 year of healthy living. Have a monthly challenge that you bring them all together in one place for a weekend of instruction and competition. The show would be a mix of the instruction and challenges that took place on the monthly weekend event plus little scenes and interviews from the daily lives of the people who are changing their lifestyles.

    No one gets voted off, and no one wins a big prize at the end. The monthly challenge winner takes home a trophy and a nice game-show-type of prize.

    It would be the ultimate "feel good" type of show that would give people motivation and tools to do the same. Unlike Biggest Loser, where the audience cannot reproduce the environment of the ranch and do what the contestants are doing, this show would be one where the audience is in a position to do exactly what the contestants are doing.

    Mix that with an interactive web forum, like Spark, and you've got a show that would be more popular than Biggest Loser and would help more people.

    Does Sparky Guy know anyone in Hollywood? - 1/19/2011   7:30:47 AM
  • EVELYN5877
    932
    I think it's frighteningly irresponsible. How none of these people have had a cardiac arrest I don't know. If people at home are following their example it's both pathetic and dangerous, and gives a totally unhealthy rate of weight loss. - 1/14/2011   12:37:48 PM
  • 931
    I've been watching the biggest loser faithfully since it started. I think it is wonderful to see people that are extremely overweight - can and do lose it. I am astounded how difficult they make the beginning workouts - but equally surprised that they can actually do them. I have wondered about excess skin tho - and have never heard them address that issue. I especially love the makeover weeks and the happiness that is so clearly evident on the contestants faces. I do wish there was more coverage on what is normal and how far you should push yourself for the viewers at home who don't have the trainer, the nutritionist, the doctor ect.
    I could go on forever... I am a fan .... but I wish I could glean more useful information that I could use ..... the show does the same thing over and over and forgive me - but I sincerely don't like Jillian - can't stand anyone yelling at anyone.... - 1/13/2011   1:21:18 PM
  • ANGELDOE
    930
    I personally like the show and find it inspiring. I understand it's not for everyone.. and I know that with a full-time job and life, I can't attain that nor do i try... but if I could go somewhere and concentrate ONLY on me and weight loss for 8 weeks or any length of time.. I would do it in a heartbeat!

    Sure maybe they have exotic foods that they've never been exposed to before, but hey it's NOT fast food. It's a learning process .. just like we go thru with SP -- I have to figure out how to eat healthy. I like having the list of forbidden foods -- will consider that!

    I think we all have to find our own path and not only are the people on the show losing weight and getting healthy, many people at home are participating and succeeding... - 1/2/2011   8:54:23 PM
  • BEST_LIFE_NOW
    929
    I have no desire to ever see the show. Reality shows are disturbing to me. I would no more watch the Biggest Loser to lose weight than I would watch Hoarders to learn how to clean a house. - 1/2/2011   8:28:01 PM
  • ASTRIDR
    928
    I think the show sets up unrealistic expectations as to what one should lose in a week - 10 lbs? 16 lbs? ummm...what !?! - most people at home aren't going to do that and aren't safe trying to do that either. I also dislike the way the hawk products during the show - its always Rigley's sugar free gum, or yoplait light - okay I get that those items sponsor the show, but really its sort of insidious the way its done. Plus the workouts are unrealistic and likely to cause home viewers injury if they try to replicate them exactly at home without a trainer.

    All that said, I do enjoy the show and watch it - because its good to see something trying to tackle weight gain and weight loss in this country. I just wish they gave better tips that were realistic for the home viewer to follow - but that wouldn't be as dramatic and thus probably get poorer TV ratings. - 11/8/2010   9:16:28 AM
  • SAREGANMCG
    927
    The workouts on the Biggest Loser are obviously unrealistic for anyone with a job or real life responsibilities, but the show is inspiring. When I see a 500 lb. man running on a treadmill I have to question why I think I am unable to get out there and do the same thing. Also, the Biggest Loser has a 50% success rate, 50% keep off the weight they've lost, or maintain a healthy body weight after the show. Those statistics are much better than other diets which have an 80-90% failure rate. And there are contestants that do follow the program at home and do lose massive amounts of weight. - 7/3/2010   1:35:58 PM
  • DKWEASELWOMAN
    926
    I watch the show and I do get inspired from it. Yes, I am fully aware that it is totally unrealistic that a "normal" person can work out so much or lose so much weight per week. But to see someone that looks like me, works really hard and transforms into something that I want to become, is very inspiring. It makes me believe that I can do that also; it will just take longer because I'm doing it in the real world. The contestants have struggles just like me, but in the end they are happy they went through the process.

    Since this is TV, the producers have to make people want to watch the show. If they dragged it out over a year, many viewers would be lost because who wants to turn in the see people who lost 2-3 pounds. Seriously. It would be very boring. Viewers want to see results. Plus, they can't take people away from their real lives for so long. The people who sign up the the show know what they are in for, but they are desperate to get help. At least they get medical help during their journey as well as guidance from the trainers. Sometimes that's worth all the effort. - 7/2/2010   12:16:30 PM
  • 925
    it is a misconception that they "leave them on their own". My husband works with O'neal (Unc) from last season... while most contestants will gain some back they are given the help and guidance to make those healthy food choices. He is an inspiration to everyone who knows him, he was given the education and tools to remain successful once home from the ranch. Yes we all know that losing that amount of weight every week is not realistic or sustainable, they are under constant supervision and medical care... ANYONE will gain back weight if they don't change their entire lifestyle... how much you gain back is up to you. The majority of the contestants have NOT gained back to record proportions that they started at... and they have a better success rate than most "diet" plans. After seeing FIRST HAND I am a believer that this show is for real and I applaud anyone who bares themselves the way they do. I am inspired by them but I am realistic when setting my goals. - 7/2/2010   9:06:28 AM
  • 924
    I agree, TBL doesn't simulate real life in any way shape or form. How many of us have 6-8 hours a day to devote soley to exercise with no interruptions? But it's still inspirational to see them working so hard. - 7/1/2010   7:40:20 PM
  • TYLER444
    923
    The issue with The Biggest Loser is that it doesn't represent reality in any way. These people are exiled on this Ranch and exercise 8 or more hours per day and given cutting nutrition and medical assistance around the clock. They eat the bare minimums for there particular body weights/types and try to hit their "burn" which is rumored to be about 6500 calories per day. You don't have to be a fitness expert to see that these folks will lose huge amounts of weight, its simple math. However, if you watch closely most contestants are experiencing all kinds of injuries related to deprivation and severe over training. I have been a fitness professional for 15 years and these are the kinds of shows that give people this distorted idea of weight loss and the time it actually takes and hard work they need to put in to achieve their goals. I realize it is meant for entertainment but would it not be just as entertaining to see a Dateline "undercover" story of what these contestants really go through and how successful they are 1, 2 or 3 years later. Weight loss and exercise is a lifestyle you live everyday, its not a 3 or 4 month show.... - 7/1/2010   11:59:00 AM
  • 922
    Kale and quinoa aren't unusual foods around here (Oregon), I can buy them both in any supermarket. - 6/30/2010   10:24:22 AM
  • 921
    I'm really disappointed to learn this about the Biggest Loser. At times I've been tempted to try and get on the show, but the humiliation would just be too much for me. I'm glad I found Spark instead. - 6/30/2010   6:46:44 AM
  • TEENYTINYPIP
    920
    I read that interview too. It became very obvious that the well being of those people on the show was not the producers main priority, that losing weight and making good tv was. I suggest you read the interview and then see if you still think that this show gives 'hope'. Personally I think it just shows how we perceive overweight people.

    www.bodylovewellness.com/2010/06/09
    /kai-hibbard-biggest-loser-finalist
    -part-1-of-3
    / - 6/30/2010   1:47:56 AM
  • 919
    This show is the biggest loser of any show I have ever seen. On the Recovering Eating Disorders Team, a member posted several interviews with Kai (The Winner!!!) and just what her experience was and the aftermath. TBL didnt exactly come out smelling like roses.

    I agree with the former poster who said it was like watching Roman Gladiators. If that is viewed as entertainments, small wonder our entire culture is in decline.

    - 6/29/2010   7:54:33 PM
  • SILLY_ILLY
    918
    It would be helpful to provide the contestants on the show with more guidance in the kitchen, but at least they're responsible for preparing their own food. I have a problem with any weight loss program that doesn't teach people how to maintain, such as extreme weight loss programs or meal replacement programs. I've been doing weight watchers but I won't touch their prepared foods. I have to make the food myself if I want to learn how to keep it off when I make my goal weight. (By the way, it's going great, I've lost 20 lbs in 4 months and only have 10 more to go.) - 6/29/2010   2:56:54 PM
  • 917
    Not trying to be mean but.....It's not unhealthy based on their percentage of body weight they are losing. Don't hate on them because they are doing what they need to do to be healthy and get in shape. Most of you can say that you hate it and its unhealthy, but is it healthy to weigh 300-400lbs when you step on the scale. No, your at risk for many more problems being obese(like Americans so comfortablely are). Take their drive and use it for yourself. you try losing 2% of your body weight it would probably do you some good! - 6/29/2010   11:00:18 AM
  • KATHRYNLP
    916
    I stopped watching this Show. The weight loss was so unreal that it became obvious to me that we were being manipulated by the Producers, into thinking these poor, desperate people actually loss that much in one week. It's so unhealthy, dangerous and a recipe for eventual failure. - 6/29/2010   9:19:01 AM
  • 915
    I don't like the show. I've only watched once and I knew it wasn't for me. I think it's an unrealistic & unhealthy lifestyle for anyone to lead (10lbs a week..no way!). - 6/29/2010   1:23:39 AM
  • 914
    I used to love that show, but now...I think its a cruel joke. It gives so much false hope. Anyone can eat 900 - 1200 cals a day combined with 6 - 12 hours of exercise a day, and lose weight. That is extremely unsafe and its downright dangerous.

    Do a little research on the past contestants. 90% of the people who lost all their weight, gained it right back and then some. I actually watched a thing with Erik (the winner of one of the seasons) and he, in only a couple eyars time, went from the one hundreds almost straight back to the 400's. The show doesn't teach them anything. It teaches deprivation and starvation. And to 'tempt' them to gorge on junkfood so they maybe will be able to call home to family? Uh, yes, that's prettu cruel.

    No, I don't watch the show anymore. Nothing on this Earth could make me watch it again. Its very misleading for many people.

    Oh, and the show is taped over a 4 month period. I will eat my glasses if someone can find me any dietician or doctor that says dropping 100 - 200 pounds in 4 months is safe. Not to mention using diuretics and fasting. - 6/28/2010   4:52:16 PM
  • 913
    I LOVE the show. While I do think that it is unrealistic to think that you can put 6 hours of exercise in a day - in the REAL world - I DO believe that a large percentage of the people that leave the show - leave the show with a greater knowledge of what they CAN do to keep the weight off. Whether they "choose" to or not - highly depends on why they were on the show in the first place. Were they there to "win the season and get the money" or were they there to lose weight and get HELP???

    I also love Jillians approach. I believe that the majority of morbidly obese people do have underlying emotional issues that caused them to get to where they are - and far too often the issues are buried so deep inside them - a lot of the time they don't even remember what got them to the way they are today - and Jillian's tough love approach "digs deep" and gets all that to the surface - and she helps them deal with it in a different way.

    Are there people from the show that gained the weight back? Sure there are! The show is not a "miracle weight loss" wand...it's educational & motivational - whether or not the contestants decided to take what they learn and apply it to their lives - is on them. There are many contestants that go on to inspire others. They have become personal fitness trainers, healthy living coaches...and some are even working with children.

    I think it's a great show. There are days when I watch those 300 + pound people running on a treadmill - and I pack up my gym bag and off to the gym I go!!! It's like a wake up call to me - if they can do it - I can do it!!! - 6/27/2010   7:53:14 AM
  • 912
    I have seen the show in the past, but I could only stand a few episodes. I already know that when you lose weight in an unrealistic way you cannot keep it off. The show made me feel sad when I watched it. - 6/27/2010   2:21:04 AM
  • BESTBIGBROTHER
    911
    I don't know. I kind of like it. I don't see it regularly, but I love watching the end of the season show to see what they have been able to accomplish. I know I would never have the guts to do anything about my weight on TV for all the world to see. SparkPeople.com has the right idea.....a ton of information, aides (nutritioin & Fitness trackers, goal setting, etc.) recipies, videos to help learn safe exercise techniques, and support from people who have been there, as well as from experts.......it's got everything anyone could need without the humiliation nor the cost.

    Like another commenter said, the show does make it encouraging to see that just because you are a large person you don't have to be timid about pushing yourself into a heart attack, as long as you've checked with your doctor before going to extremes. While not agreeing with all of the shows means to the ends, I do accept that this IS, afterall, for TV and ratings. The best thing I think I get when I walk away from it is......stop with the excuses! Why postpone the inevitable or come up with a thousand reasons for not sticking to a healthy life style! I make the choices!!! I am realistic knowing that I don't have 5 hours a day to dedicate to exercise like they do, as I DO live in the real world with a ten hour work day and then have the responsibiity to come home to cook dinner and keep house. So I'm ok with the fact that I'm not going to lose 10 + pounds a week with the one to two hours a day I can squeeze out of my day for exercise. But it's not an excuse not to stick with it!!!

    It only took me 25 years to figure out that doing it fast doesn't stick, so no TV show is going to undo what I know - but I could see how someone with less experience in weight loss could get caught up with the lose it fast, gain-it-back- plus-more cycle from watching these Bigest Losers. I've done that cycle over and over and over again. - 6/26/2010   2:13:56 PM
  • 910
    Yet another reason to be thankful I no longer own a TV!! - 6/26/2010   12:06:47 PM
  • 909
    I like to occasionally watch pieces of the show, but find a whole show just too much. It inspires me to know that the contestants don't have heart attacks, a personal fear, when they push themselves to extremes. And I like seeing what they accomplish. But I know that many of them don't keep their loss after the show ends, even some of the winners, and that is a shame.

    That said, some time at the start teaching healthy cooking concepts and techniques would be a great benefit to contestants and viewers. This may not drive ratings, so could they make it a small part of the segment? I for one had never heard of the no white flour or sugar rule, and that may be because I don't watch whole segments. Having contestants come back with sustained weight loss, or even more lost, would be very motivating. - 6/26/2010   10:34:37 AM
  • TEBOTX
    908
    Oh - I think this is a bad, bad thing. Most people don't realize that exercising to promote weight loss IS their job. They are quarantined in an area that does not reflect reality. No stressors such as work, family, food temptations, etc. This "reality" show is NOT realistic. So many people I have talked to want to lose weight as fast as the contestants and don't seem to understand how unrealistic that goal is. - 6/26/2010   7:52:43 AM
  • 907
    I saw it only once quite by accident it was on in someone elses home otherwise it would have been OFF. Actually it was OFF if I had seen animals treated to badly I would have reported the cruelty, mental cruelty.
    Just glamorizing how thin people want power over fat people. No respect and disturbing to me to show this and have it called entertainment. Somewhat like watching gladiators in Roman times. UGH! - 6/26/2010   7:01:34 AM
  • 906
    Who has enough time in their day to watch this on TV? Wow. I have never seen this show but from this article it sounds terrible. Seriously? They put fat people in a room full of candy and encourage them to eat asparagus for a day? This may be proof of the decline of western civilization. - 6/25/2010   1:15:46 PM
  • EARTHBLING
    905
    I've enjoyed reading the comments on this blog. While I rarely watch the show, I have enjoyed watching the transformation the contestants have made. I agree it's show biz. It's not a realistic weight loss plan; but secretly....wouldn't losing 10 pounds a week be grand? - 6/25/2010   11:47:47 AM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›


Join SparkPeople.com

Sign up for a FREE SparkPeople account