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8 Lessons from ''The Biggest Loser''

Advice to Take Away from the Show


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  • HI am really suprised at all the negative comments about TBL. Yes that kind of weight loss is impossible and impracticle at home, but there is a lot of good stuff to take away from the show. You just have to seperate the wheat from the chaf. I love to watch it. It inspires me to get up off my chair and find ways to get moving. 

    Like most of us, I have been dieting on and off all of my life, starting after two 4 month stints in the Shriners Hosp. at age 13, and 15.  Back then we didn't have the information we have today about about diet and exercise (I am 73) . I would come home and take it all off because we had to walk everwhere. Small town, single parent family, no car. Then I got married, and averaged 10 pounds with each of my 4 children. When the youngest started school, I went to work, desk job, another average of 10 lbs gained each year for ten years. I joined tops, took it off, moved across the country, and put it all back on, joined Weight Watchers, and took it off, got divoriced, moved to the big city with a new partener and put it back on. 

    The one consistancy here was exercise. When I get serious about exercising, the weight comes off, but the exercise has to be consistant or the weight comes right back on. And it has mostly been just walking. 

    Five years ago I lost my younger brother, 2 years later I suffered injuries from a car accident then had a heart attack. During tests they discovered a non treatable cancer, and a very large gull stone. Plus I had feminen problems that needed repairing.  I watch TBL and it remindes me that I need to keep moving even when it is just a slow walk around the block. I peeled off 50 lbs, and put 10 back on after my last surgery, 6 weeks ago, with strict instructions to do nothing or I could ondo it all. Ergo the slow walks around the block. Well, the surgeries are all behind me, yesterday I got the go ahead to resume life from my gynecologist. So it is back to living and exercising. The biggest bonus is how good I feel when I exercise regularly.

    I am sorry that the show is off for the summer. I don't watch much TV and that was my shot in the arm for the week. I love SparkPeople, but find it very time consuming to keep up with all the entries every day. I am not very good at interacting with people, something I need to get over, I know. 

    Enough about me. Try to pick out the best parts of the show, there are a lot of them, and ignore the rest. That is just life. Being greatful for the good stuff. And when you look, there is lots of It.

  • The show is unrealistic as a healthful approach to weight loss. I would rather watch The Biggest Weight Loss Makeover that's running now. Chris Powell works with a person for a year and they lose weight. He stays with them the first 30 days in their home, but after that they are on their own.
    Losing weight out in the real world is realistic. Losing weight at a fat farm, isolated and exercising 6 to 8 hours a day is not realistic.
    I don't like to see Spark endorse the shows concept. it goes against what Spark stand for in achieving a healthy and fit life .
  • I have watched every season of TBL since its' inception. I am motivated and inspired by it. There have been many times when I have been trying to run and I have to remind myself that if Michael could do a marathon at 250+ I can do three miles at 1/2 of that. I have gotten good tips. My common sense tells me that it is not realistic for me to do in my living room, but I have a hard time criticizing a show that is doing SOMETHING about this culture of death that we have in our country. It is about choices everyday and the shoe emphasizes that. You don't regain the weight because of the show. You regain the weight because you CHOOSE to lapse into old patterns. Sure, the show has some unrealistic parts, but it is voluntary, and each season someone CHOOSES to simply leave. Therefore, I find it hard when adults say they knew about the damage, but wanted the money. Well, that is the same rationale that got you to obese... You knew about the damage that much food was doing but you CHOSE to eat it anyway. The reality is that it is easy to criticize a show like that and it justifies our lapses and falls from the wagon because we can justify it using the "unrealistic nature of a show like this". When people say lose 1-2 pounds a week. Think about it. If you weigh 150 and you lose 2 pounds vs if you weight 550 and you lose 2 pounds. I challenge anyone to exercise 4-8 hours a day and eat a 1200-1700 calories diet and tell me that you only lost two pounds in one week. The show inspires me to STAY IN MY LANE. I don't want to do what they do, but knowing what they do makes my one hour a day sacrifice seem doable.
  • This show is by no means a good example of safe weight loss, nor is it practical for anyone who can't afford not one, but several personal trainers, as well as dieticians, and additional medical personnel. This show should only be viewed as entertainment and nothing else. If anything, the staff working this show (especially Jillian) should all have their various licenses reviewed and possibly stripped for unsafe practices.

    One more thing. Hey spark people, you guys really disappointed me by highlighting "The Biggest Loser" as anything other than the useless, unhealthy, reality shock value garbage it is.
  • AFAICT, nobody's linked to this interview with one of the Season 3 finalists (
    art-1-of-3/) which discusses some of the problems with the show.

    Apparently, there are folks who don't take her complaints seriously because she was involved voluntarily, and "could have left any time." Well, the money's one hell of a motivator, and from what she said, they played the "doing this for your own good" card a lot, both of no doubt served to suck her in. After that, well, it sounds like the show has several characteristics of what lj user Issendai calls a "sick system." (
    ml) It doesn't have all the characteristics, but that's at least partly because the typical sick system is designed keep people indefinitely sucked in indefinitely, while TBL has a hard time limit built in by the structure of the contest and the length of a television season.
  • I was pleased to see spark people does not support the show or how it set up . it was some one view point of some one writing a how they feel about the show
    me I think Spark has the best plan. for me and i am not disappointed you shared the article..
  • After reading a few of the comments about the show i must have missed something the couple i watched they took the contestants in a room full of food and said who ever eats the most get a reward and then showed them stuffing their faces hand fulls of junk food. the fighting among each other. and the hurtful things they say to each other. The disappointed look on the trainers when they did not have a big weight . they did not appear pleased that they had lost weight at all. it Discouraged me so that i would find my self stuffing my face some times after the show. i did not see any good hints on the show except maybe the few they had before a commercial. I did much better here on Spark. I wonder how many have regained all the weight after they won the money . one even said he did it for the cash and didn't really pay attention to what he was taught at the ranch and in real life who had 8 hours a day 7 days a week to be in the gym.
    For those who have never watched more than a couple of episodes, you're missing a lot. Most of the show deals with the issues that got the contestants to this point in the first place and how to handle those issues. This last season the theme was "No Excuses" and the contestants chosen were a big bunch of whiners who, for the most part, learned how their attitudes were causing them to sabotage themselves.

    Not everyone maintains the weight loss, but that's true of every weight loss plan. TBL shows it can be done, and I've gotten a lot of good advice and inspiration from it. I'm losing slowly but I'm feeling healthier every day, and I take comfort in the fact that I would no longer qualify to be a contestant on the show.
  • I've tried to watch that show a couple of times and it just seems to be people crying. Also I blame the show for a friend of mine boucing from fad diet to fad diet because she wants to lose all the weight NOW and can't get the idea that it takes time.
  • ANNE007
    I admit I have never watched a full episode of this show, but from what little I've seen it does seem to sensationalize fat and fitness. I would think if I had as much weight to lose as some of those contestants and I was watching the show, it would make me feel as if I could not lose that kind of weight unless I was able to get on the show and have all the personal trainers, nutritionists, etc, that are provided. I think I would be de-motivated watching

    I do agree with the author of this article that there are some positive aspects we can take from the show, because after all, the formula is the same regardless of how much weight you have to lose. And I am not sure that the contestants are destined to gain the weight back just because of the way they lost it. True, they haven't had much time to integrate their new lifestyle, but if they are successful with that moving forward they should be able to maintain their weight and even lose, just like the rest of us.

    It's a strange reality show, though. Then again, there is a reason I don't care for reality shows at all...because they all seem strange to me :-)
    I just watched HBO's special "Weight of the Nation" and they said that they hated TBL show due to it's unrealistic weight loss and excessive amounts of exercise. They said it's too hard to maintain that lifestyle and they will gain the weight back. Like all the other posters, 1-2 pounds per week is safest for keeping the weight off long-term.
    Well, I hesitate to comment because I have never seen the show. However, the comment about losing 100 pounds in 12 weeks caught my eye. That works out to roughly 8 pounds a week, which seems a bit much to me. Someone commented that the time span is more like 4 months but even that works out to 5 pounds a week, another unrealistic amount per week. If the show motivates people, that's good. But unless you have a personal trainer the likes of Jillian M. and (whatever his name is), it sets alot of people up for failure. Been there, done that. I'll take the snail route.
  • As I understand, the extreeme amount of exercise and weight loss makes these contestant's metabolism go pretty haywire, and it is nearly IMPOSSIBLE for them to keep the weight off.
    Please, let's just go slow and easy
    I'm with the "haters" - there is nothing to let go about this issue - I am sorely disappointed that SPARK supports this pop culture piece of crap. TBL's methods of weight loss violate HEALTHY means of achieving a HEALTHY body. It is not the lifestyle change that's encouraged but crash craziness and dieting and beating your body up until you urinate blood. Yeah, thinness is worth that. And let's keep belittling and blaming people for their bodies. It's THEIR fault their genetic predispositions put them at risk for bigness. I know plenty of thin people who have the most unhealthy habits... but they're thin, so we're ok with that. Bullocks. Let's just keep shaming and blaming because that's a good thing... and let's embrace TBL because their medieval methods of weight loss work (whatev.). Thanks SPARK for ruining my opinion of your website.
  • I, too, am disappointed the Spark has chosen TBL as an example. This is no reality show. These contestants have signed on to a game show. No one in the real world can exercise 6 hours a day, what with jobs and families and the responsibilities of life. It's just not possible.
    The massive weight loss is insustainable. Let's see them in a year!
    I feel shows like this set up us "real" people for failure. I've seen a few of the episodes, and was never impressed. It's entertainment, pure and simple.

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