Thursday, February 06, 2014
Everyone is up in arms about Rachel losing too much weight for the Biggest Loser. Maybe she did. Maybe the rules need to be tuned so that people aren't incentivized to go below a normal BMI. Imagine if we had a "without going under" provision like on Price is right. That would keep the finale exciting! In season 1 they had transformation number that included fat loss. I would love to see that come back.
But on to sexism. Did we freak out like this when Danny Cahill showed up looking like he'd walked home from Andersonville? And Rudy, the runner up that year, had an even lower BMI. I about cried when I saw how emaciated he was, and still didn't win. He was 6'4" and technically still overweight at 208, which exposes the problem with BMI for tall people. In an interview Rudy said:
"In talking with Dr. Huizenga and my own physicians, probably the best weight for me -- especially since I plan on getting back into the gym and putting some muscle back on -- I'll probably settle in somewhere around 225 to 235. I think with my height and where I want to be, that will be the best."
What I see in a lot of this coverage is the message that women's appearance is always up for criticism, whereas men are applauded for being competitive. I didn't think Rachel looked too thin for a Biggest Loser finale. She still had some muscle definition. She still had swimming rotator cuffs. I think she's below a sustainable weight, but that's been true for most of the winners and many of the finalists.