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Motivation Articles  ›  Staying Motivated

8 Lessons from ''The Biggest Loser''

Advice to Take Away from the Show

-- By Jason Anderson, Certified Personal Trainer
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5. You have to change your lifestyle. The participants on the show understand that this is a complete lifestyle overhaul— a total transformation for life, not a diet for a little while. No matter how hard they work or how much weight they lose while on campus, it will come back if they revert back to their old habits at home.

Lesson: There are no quick fixes. Getting healthy and managing your weight it is not a temporary thing. It's a series of day-to-day, meal-by-meal choices that you have to stick with for the long haul.

6. You have to work hard. Sometimes when I'd watch the Teams work out I'd think, "Their trainers are heartless!" In reality, those trainers know that weight loss takes hard work. You see them exercise when they have nothing left, choose the healthy foods even though they'd rather have their favorite comfort foods, and even leave their families for weeks at a time — these things are not for the faint of heart.

Lesson: It won't always be easy. Lots of people want to lose weight, but most aren't willing to pay the price or make sacrifices to get there. You will not be successful with a half-hearted effort or by looking for shortcuts or the easy way out.

7. You can have fun! I always enjoy watching different challenges each week. Although they were often physical, they're not what I'd consider traditional exercise: trying to stay on a moving escalator the longest; running and placing empty soda cans from one bin to another; or traversing a ravine on a zip line.

Lesson: Boredom will kill your exercise routine. Mix it up and keep your body guessing and keep it fun. Instead on going to the gym for a mindless half hour on the stairclimber (more like the “stairmonster”), get outside and do some hiking or biking. Forgo the weight machines one day and head to a playground to swing from the monkey bars, climb, jump, run and LAUGH!

8. You have to be consistent. No matter how much the show changes from season to season, one thing is always clear. Those who lose the biggest are consistent. They make healthy eating and exercise part of their daily lives — even after they go home. And even when they encounter setbacks along the way, they don't give up.

Lesson: Consistency is key. No matter how close (or far) you are from your goal — or even if you're there already — the habits you learn along the way have to continue if you're to be successful in the long term.

Who would have thought that watching people sweat, exercise, grimace, and go through the rigors of losing weight could be so fun? Here’s to all the losers, and to hoping you can use this advice to be a loser, too!

Editor's Note: SparkPeople.com is not affiliated with "The Biggest Loser" or NBC.
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About The Author

Jason Anderson Jason Anderson
Jason loves to see people realize the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle. He is a certified personal trainer and enjoys running races--from 5Ks to 50K ultramarathons. See all of Jason's articles.

Member Comments

  • COOKEDBOOK
    The points the article brings up are fine, but holding up a reality (not really reality) TV show as an example is disengenious.
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    son-the-biggest-loser.html - 6/14/2014 10:06:01 AM
  • Losing 100+ pounds in 12 weeks is completely unrealistic and dangerous. I love the show due to the motivational aspect, but truly... those people probably end up putting the weight back on, plus some. It's actually very unhealthy. - 5/1/2014 4:27:21 PM
  • CAROLCLINE
    I think the biggest looser is ok but I also believe they are a little severe on the person, I would not enjoy this, I will continue at almost 69 years of age to do spark people, listen to my doctor, go to curves regular, plus other excerises, and pray about these things.
    - 1/2/2014 9:04:28 PM
  • I understand the concerns that are voiced here but some of you need to calm down a bit. It is a fun show and I really connect with a lot of the contestant's stories. Is this the way most people are going to lose weight? Heck no! Is it the best way? Heck no! But it is an option/an opportunity for some people.

    - 4/23/2013 2:30:21 PM
  • PUGGLEMONKEY
    Sorry, find the show not only unrealistic but dangerous as well. People who, like myself, have health conditions (for me it is bad knees and arthritis) could not and should not exercise 8+ hours a day. Can we say repetitive stress injuries and/or permanent damage? My ortho doc told me that very overweight people should not do high impact exercises until their weight is close to healthy range. He said that many people like those on TBL will have permanent damage and will certainly pay the price when they get older. I suppose that is good for the hip/knee replacement industry, but how will they keep the weight off then? - 4/23/2013 12:56:26 PM
  • I love this! I understand the arguments people have against this show being unrealistic but I think the underlying theme is that you CAN change your life if you want to and you commit to you. You may not be able to go to the BL Ranch and workout 8 hours a day for 12 weeks so it might take you longer to lose the weight, but you can lose the weight if you work hard and stay consistent. - 4/23/2013 9:44:17 AM
  • I am so motivated by the Biggest Loser! I love watching the transformations in the contestants and the seeing them keep going even when they want to quit always makes me keep going! - 2/22/2013 11:58:23 AM
  • MEEMEEOF5
    I have been watching The Biggest Loser for three years. I find it very interesting. It helps me see that someone really over weight can lose. The trainers do work them really hard. But they have agreed to have a trainer that they know is going to push them. I have really enjoyed watching and hope that there are a lot more shows to come, because I feel like it has helped a lot of people not only on the show, but all of us that are watching. It gives a lot of good points of being healthier.
    - 2/17/2013 8:41:09 PM
  • I find that show to be dangerous and very unrealistic !
    Has there been anyone on there with say a bad heart condition that desperately needs to loose weight?
    Has there been anyone on there that is handicapped?
    Is there anyone on there that is up in age and in poor health?

    Of course not, doesn't make for a good show ! Afterall, who would She have to yell at to keep going till they almost pass out? How can you have a handicapped person push a football dummy across the field.? Wouldn't be good for the ratings.

    This show doesn't care about the person...it's about the ratings.
    How many people love to sit at home drinking beers, and watch a fat person being yelled at? These people have had enough strangers stare at them, call them names, tell them they are good for nothing, that they don't know how to do anything right ! Why does it have to be done again in front of the world?

    I guess it makes it alright since they are being paid to be treated this way...that in itself proves how little self -respect they already have for themselves..now a bunch of other people are going to drive it home.

    What is the main TRUTH about this show --You are a good for nothing, worthless person who deserves no respect...UNLESS YOU ARE THIN!!! - 2/17/2013 5:29:44 PM
  • -BENI-
    I'm surprised this trainer is talking about this show being great. Isn't this the show that has people losing large amounts of weight quickly?
    I don't like the show. Yes, I like seeing people lose weight. But what MANY doctors, trainers, dieticians, and nutritionist fail to learn from their clients is people just don't put weight on because they are hungry or like food. There is always a "reason" for the weight gain. THAT needs to be addressed as well as changing the diet. If you just change the diet and not the issue then the weight will come back on as it has for even the Biggest Losers.
    There was one time I did see the show and they showed a doctor talking to a young girl, he was getting into the emotional side but then it cut to commercial and when it came back they were in the weight room with the Jillian and Bob yelling and insulting the contestant. Just what a person with low self esteem issues needs.
    Sorry, don't like the show and disappointed this trainer talks about it.
    Not to mention half of us can't afford trainers anyhow. - 2/17/2013 4:30:12 PM
  • I'm appalled that this article is appearing on Spark People. TBL is a horrible show, and we don't hear from more of the contestants because they are afraid of being sued. SP should not publish this garbage. A mere disclaimer at the bottom doesn't prevent this some looking like SP endorses TBL.

    Color me disappointed. - 2/17/2013 3:20:54 PM
  • LEISASD
    Love this reality show! I'm really glad they are showing how hard it is but how people CAN make the change without HCG or operations, or gastric bypass. It's very inspirational and motivating for me. I love the article too, as it shows me how I can use the shows benefits even when I don't get to be on it. - 2/17/2013 12:18:10 PM
  • An obligatory "Spark is not affiliated with The Biggest Loser" sentence does not make up for a website ostensibly about healthy living to be promoting such an awful show with its unrealistic, unhealthy and downright dangerous approach to weight loss.

    I'm so disgusted, I considered unsubscribing from email alerts if this is the kind of content I can expect in my inbox. - 2/17/2013 11:32:31 AM
  • I haven't watched the show from the beginning but have for about 5 years now.... at first I watched from my recliner while I snacked watching them workout made me hungry!! Then I joined the biggest loser and found a group (get off the recliner and live life) and then we came to sparkpeople..... and our goal was to workout during the show each week! I started out just working on my gazelle during the show and took breaks during commercials... then I started working out throughout the entire show.... I find now that the show gives me more motivation to work out while I watch and look forward to it each week to get that extra boost.......

    I never liked the part where people got voted out but there have been times when I was happy some of them left because their attitutes were awful and they really weren't trying and some just quit. I'd wonder why did you sign up for this if you didn't want to do it? you watched the show right? I wouldn't want to be there with someone screaming at me like the trainers so that's not for me but I do like the lessons they give you to relate to myself and sometimes I find I reflect back on why I'm overweight.

    I look forward to the show but like with EVERYTHING you have to pick and choose what is good for you!

    Suz - 2/17/2013 10:56:25 AM
  • I DO blame the ensuing weight gain on the tenets of the show which make it seem okay to lose weight so quickly. Yes, part of the blame lies on us if we can be blamed for not realizing that a lifetime of entrenched bad habits cannot be replaced with habits for a future lifetime of health and well being in such a short period of time.

    The 2nd problem as I see it is that many watching want to emulate the fast weight lost without the support, information, or time or funds to devote to such a time consuming program.

    And the 3rd problem is the stigma placed on contestants who do work very hard all week and come out on the bottom in weight loss and wind up going home. How demoralizing. Your body didn't give it up this week so you're out of here, implying that they didn't work as hard as others, or were sneaking twinkies in the closet.

    Very unrealistic expectations for very realistic bodies.

    Can people learn something from watching the show, being on it, or trying to go BL on your own? Probably. I'm not sure it's the things listed in the article. - 2/17/2013 10:14:50 AM