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Why I hate The Biggest Loser - and why you should, too

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Imagine a TV program whose contestants were grieving widows trying to get over the loss of a spouse. Imaging that program included a host who screamed into a widow's face that she were disgusting and unworthy and weak-willed, that she should just suck it up, stop feeling sorry for herself and go on this date, even if she wasn't ready.

Or how about a show featuring adults who were abused as children, where the host sneered at their pain, called them *&#$* babies, and told them to just get over their problems and stop being traumatized.

We wouldn't stand for that. We would object to active abuse being heaped on almost any group of people.

And yet we accept it as okay if the people are fat. As if fat itself defines a person, and that definition is "lazy, weak-willed, stupid." As if fat people don't deserve the respect we pay to other people.

As if fat makes people second-class citizens.

The Biggest Loser creates an artificial environment where the contestants have one job and one job only: get less fat. And it makes them do this job in an appallingly unhealthy way. The amount of exercise that people endure, and the way they are made to eat, are nothing short of torture. If this was happening at Guantanamo Bay, human rights organizations would be up in arms.

Instead, millions of people tune in each week to watch far people get tortured. Because fat people don't deserve any better.

This is appalling. It would be appalling even if The Biggest Loser was successful. But the fact of the matter is that the failure rate of contestants after production is right up there with the failure rate of all diet programs, which is abysmal. Fast weightloss is an artificial panacea, and dieting is a rube's game designed to make big corporations rich while sacrificing the health of ordinary Americans.

But more than promoting the fantasy anyone can be thin if they just allow themselves to be tortured and treated like dirt, The Biggest Loser teaches people to hate themselves for being fat. It radiates loathing, and treats responsible weight losses like some kind of failure.

It tells people like me that they have no dignity.

You know what? I'm not buying it. Yes, I'm fat. Yes, I am working on becoming a healthier person, and being a healthier person means that I should weigh less. But on every step of the journey I am still a worthy human being deserving of respect. I am a person who has the right to laugh and love and enjoy a good meal.

I will not let reality TV take that away from me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SVELTENSTRONG 9/11/2014 11:49AM

    I also hate how the people competing in that show are treated and portrayed. That's why I don't watch The Biggest Loser - to me, that's neither inspiring nor entertaining.

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EUPHRATES 11/27/2011 9:30PM

    Interestingly, I don't have that reaction to the Biggest Loser at all. First, I've never seen them belittle anyone in a "personal" way - I've seen them push people out of their comfort zones but it's always in a "See, you didn't think you could do that but I KNEW you could!" kind of way. To me that's empowering (and Bob and Dolvette can kick my butt in the gym ANY time). Last season was particularly motivating for me (see blog here - http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_p

I do have issues with the unrealistic weight-loss (and how disappointed they get with a loss of just a few pounds, of course considering their only job is weightloss I can understand it, but for those out in the "real world" it sets up unrealistic expectations...well it could for those without enough sense to recognize the difference between the show and "real life" I suppose). And when I first started watching I had issues with how "in your face" Jillian could be (funny, now I'd pay cash money to have her in my face - and not just 'cause I'd like to get into her pants either). But over time I realized she's that way because she really gets involved and really cares (and sometimes, for some people, they NEED those kinds of wake up calls).

So for me, it's inspiring. We DVR it so I can watch it the day after it airs (since I'm usually on my way to work when it's on). I just found out this week that the finale is on the 13th, and I've taken that whole week off for my birthday! So yay for NBC giving me an extra birthday present - no worries of spoilers! emoticon

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.DUSTY. 11/27/2011 9:24PM

    I disagree with just about everything you wrote. Especially when comparing The Biggest Loser with "a show featuring adults who were abused as children or grieving widows".

The contestants aren't "being tortured" or "being treated like dirt".

Time to chill out a little. Peace!

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DRAKON9 11/27/2011 4:27PM

    I agree with you. My personal goal is to be healthy and happy. If I lose weight while doing that, so much the better. I do not agree with either the exercise methods, nor the diet the contestants are put on. I don't see how the contestants CAN succeed after the show is over.

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DEBIBLUE72 11/27/2011 12:44PM

    i always have felt uneasy about the show and everyone i knew thought i was being overly critical. it was like we were watching 2 different shows. glad to know that it just wasn't me after all. emoticon

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MELLISOND 11/27/2011 11:27AM

    I watched a segment of the Biggest Loser series and found myself holding my breath in fear for some of the participants who appeared to be close to physical collapse.

I think that any program that represents verbal abuse as normal or acceptable like Biggest Loser or that chef from hell or the Housewives of some city, are all damaging to our society.

That being said, I agree that this particular horrible television program is worse than the others because of the way an entire group of people is treated.

Thank goodness for Spark and the positive community I can visit every evening and no longer waste my time flicking through so much trash on evening television.

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ILLINITEACHER52 11/27/2011 10:59AM

  I worry about how the contestants will fare once they get back to real life. I like SP better. It is realistic and no one yells at you. That would be a real turn off for me!!

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COLEENCOLE 11/27/2011 6:27AM

    And get this: I read last week that the top career choice for kids today is to become a reality TV star. So sad.

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SBNORMAL 11/27/2011 5:29AM

  different point of view!

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SHOOPETTE 11/27/2011 2:26AM

    That's an interesting way to see it and you are quite right.

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CHANGING-TURTLE 11/27/2011 12:55AM


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12 years of marriage, better than ever

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hubby 2.0 (an excellent upgrade) and I are celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary. Now, our actual anniversary was back in September, but the autumn was so busy that we never got a chance to celebrate. This weekend, which was supposed to be filled with travel and other people before the car breakdown, has finally given us the breathing space for some time to spend cuddled up together just appreciating each other.

He's a wonderful guy, and I feel very fortunate to have him in my life. It's wonderful being with someone who really cheishes and appreciates me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COLEENCOLE 11/26/2011 4:07PM


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EUPHRATES 11/26/2011 2:17PM

    Awesome! Hugs to you both!!

(Oh hey, we'll be in the NEO in a couple of weeks, from Dec 8-10th, if'n y'all might want to try and hook up - I'm sure if nothing else there will be the ritual meal at Mike's Place at some point) :)

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FITKAT62 11/26/2011 12:06PM

    I have been married for 29 years and couldn't imagine my life with anyone else. emoticon

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Being good makes me want to be bad

Friday, November 25, 2011

I was very good for Thanksgiving. I worked out, I ate within my calorie allowance. I've never worked out on holidays in the past so I felt very smug.

But today I want to skip my workout and stuff myself on chocolate.

It's not that I feel deprived by yesterday in any way. I didn't force myself to stay within my eating plan, I just wasn't hungry anymore! But there's a part of me that thinks it should be rewarded for doing so well on the holiday. Like an extra bonus 10 pounds lost, or not needing to work out for the rest of the weekend.

Intellectually, I know that this is childish and a completely counterproductive attitude. My Id, though, is stamping its feet and demanding candy and cartoons.

And then I realize, that's what this journey is all about: it's not just a matter of counting calories and working out; it's about retraining that willful instinct within, reteaching it not to expect its rewards to be in food and sloth.

So I will drag myself through my workout today. I will drink my fruit smoothie instead of eating chocolate. And I will be one day closer in my retraining regimen.

I'm doing it for the children.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROCHELLE62 11/26/2011 5:48AM

    I seem to own that oppositional/defiant bit. I'm not the boss of me and I can't tell me what to do.

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RAINBOWMF 11/25/2011 7:14PM

    I could have wrote this.
I do the same thing WHY? Also So happy when I see the scale move, I feel the pants become lose the I get all smug like I can play with my healthy and have chocolate or cake and stop,
I would love to know why this feeling comes over us.

You handled it just fine. emoticon


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TRAVLNWOMAN 11/25/2011 6:58PM

    Wow! Here I am sitting here thinking almost the exact thoughts that you wrote down except my temptation is the cookies my daughter sent home with me yesterday! It stopped me in my tracks and I had to think just how right you are!

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EUPHRATES 11/25/2011 10:56AM

    You totally rawk lady! Bet you can find something gloriously decadent to reward yourself with that has nothing to do with food! (Gee, I bet I know who could help with that *grins*)

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ASHLEYATTIALYNN 11/25/2011 10:42AM

    It's never worth it to binge. Going without the junk food gets easier the more you do without. Your reward is to feel and look better not to eat the crap your avoiding. Reward yourself with an outfit when you reach your goal or more inexpensive things like new eyeshadow you've been wanting. It all gets easier as time goes on.


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What just happened???!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sat down to Thanksgiving dinner. Filled my plate with reasonable portions of all the goodies. "This is good," I thought. "If I only eat this much, I won't be too far off my food plan."

Ate about a quarter of what was on my plate and realized that I was already full. Nibbled a bit more at things and realized that because I was full, they didn't taste very good. Stopped eating while I was still comfortable.

Am still perplexed. Seriously? I'm happy with only that much food?! That's so unlike me!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EUPHRATES 11/25/2011 10:56AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TRAVLNWOMAN 11/24/2011 9:27PM

    No, that IS like you. The NEW you! I've been experiencing this same phenomenon.

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MAPLECANDY3 11/24/2011 7:09PM


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Thankful for $2,000 in car repair

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Isn't that an odd thing to sound thankful for? But I am. You see, we had intended to make a 1,600 mile roundtrip journey for Thanksgiving this year. And if we had done that without getting the car into the shop, our driveshaft might well have failed. As the mechanic put it, it's encased in such a way that it wouldn't have dropped out onto the highway. Instead, it would have torn out our transmission or rear differential. And at that point, we'd be talking the kinds of thousands where you probably just buy a new car.

So I am thankful for the repair we had, instead of the repair we might have needed.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRAVLNWOMAN 11/24/2011 9:32PM

    I love how you are looking at this as a blessing instead of a curse. I love how God keeps us safe even when we didn't know we were in danger!

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SKINNYHANDFUL 11/24/2011 2:29PM

    Wow! What a positive approach to an expensive repair. You're right though, things could have been a lot, lot worse. You've probably added years of use to your car! Good show :)

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TOWHEE 11/24/2011 12:08PM

    I'm thankful that you weren't out on the highway when your car destroyed itself; at least you are home in a cozy place. Yes, $2000 is a lot better than $20000 and standing by the side of the road out in the middle of nowhere.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

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WELLNESSME09 11/24/2011 10:54AM

    Thank goodness that it happened that way!
Hope you can enjoy Thanksgiving with your family!!! emoticon emoticon

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