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I am NOT the Biggest Loser

Friday, June 15, 2012

Several months ago I felt hopeless about my weight and thought that the only thing that would help would be to audition for the TV show "The Biggest Loser". This would kill two birds with one stone, I thought...get back to my skinny self (who has been hiding under a layer of blubber for 20 odd years) AND bring in some money (since the contestants get paid $750/week and the winner gets $250,000). Wow! I could pay off the house, buy new clothes, get a fresh start....

They weren't casting at the time, but I registered my email address.

A few days ago, I received an email that BL will be auditioning contestants in my area next week. I was so excited, especially since they are coming to a suburb about 1/2 hour away from me...the same suburb where I attended high school! I wouldn't have to battle Chicago traffic. It seemed like a sign.

The only problem is that I have been doing pretty well on Weight Watchers. Should I stop the first program that has actually been working for me in order to try The Biggest Loser? Hmmm....what to do? What to do?

I definitely meet the requirements for a cast member of BL, since I have more than 85 pounds to lose. I definitely need the money, since I STILL haven't found a teaching job (sigh). And, oh being able to lose all this weight in just 4 or 5 short months rather than the two years it would take with WW is oh, so tempting! I would be able to travel to Los Angeles. Another plus would be the exposure and rewards from appearances and endorsements, prizes from winning weekly contests, a makeover and new clothes, etc. Of course, I would have to leave my dog for a few months, and former boyfriends from my thin days would see how I've let myself go, which is humiliating....(seriously, this is how I think!) And what if I failed before millions of people?

I almost filled out the application. Almost. I agonized over it for two whole days and solicited advice from family members. Everyone said "Go for it!" except my son, who wisely told me I would cry too much emoticon

Unable to make a decision, I began to research BL on the internet. I knew right then that it wasn't for me. Most of the previous contestants have gained back at least 20% of the weight they lost on the show. Some have gained back all the weight. Former contestants described how they were urinating blood from dehydration and vomiting on the treadmills. Apparently, dehydrating oneself before weigh in is routine, and contestants run in as many clothes as possible after the cameras are turned off to sweat out the water in their bodies. Doesn't sound like fun.

Even more alarming, many doctors have raised concerns about the long-term effects of the severe calorie restriction and extreme exercise used on BL. The history of the show has a couple of contestants being airlifted to hospitals, unable to walk because of shin injuries, and collapsing on a treadmill and requiring an ambulance. I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound very healthy to me. The deciding factor for me was when I read a quote from a cardiologist who said he is just waiting for someone to have a heart attack on the show because losing more than 2 lbs per week weakens the muscles of the heart.

I'm trying to lose weight for a lot of reasons, but a couple of the key ones are so that I can be around to watch my daughter walk down the aisle and rock my grandchildren. Coming from a family with a genetic history of heart attacks, why would I risk my heart health just to lose weight more quickly?

So you won't be seeing me on The Biggest Loser. You will be seeing me in the garden digging, at the pool swimming, and in the neighborhood riding my bike. You will also see me sitting at Weight Watchers meetings and on the computer tracking my points.

I guess I am NOT the Biggest Loser.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Amazing, amazing...

    Who would have thought that that was acceptable?

    You did the right choice. Keep up with WW and be free to be you. At least when you are doing stuff to lose weight, you're having fun or at least enjoying it. Right?

    I had no idea that's what they put themselves through to lose the weight. That's terrible.

    I'm so glad you decided you're worth more.

    2168 days ago
    You are the biggest winner in my book! Congratulations on making a wise decision. I will no longer watch the show. Thanks for opening our eyes to the real story! Good luck on your journey and let us know if we can help in any way. :O)
    2169 days ago
  • MAMABEE480
    I think you made the best choice for yourself. I agree that the show is ultimately unhealthy for participants and I'm so glad that you decided to stick with the slower but better for your route.

    2170 days ago
    I have been a fan of Biggest Loser, but did not know of the possible health challenges. Glad you took the time to look into this before trying out.
    I am sure you made the right decision, and I know that emoticon
    2171 days ago
    I have been a big fan of Biggest Looser for years, but may need to consider this blog now. You have really opened my eyes... not sure I ever looked into this side of the story. You made a great choice, and an educated one. I will say that I do LOVE anything by Jillian! Her book Unlimited may be of interest to you (it's not about workouts or diets, but more of changing your life from the inside out). It focuses on setting goals and reaching your potential!
    2171 days ago
    Wow, what a loving decision to take care of yourself. And that's really where the beauty and self-acceptance lies so, really, you are already the winner!
    2171 days ago
    I do agree that their methods are extreme and probably not very realistic once you're off the show, I do have to give props to the show for being a very big reason I decided to try the whole weight loss things a few years ago. I had never seen the show and it was on one night and I decided to watch for a few minutes and was hooked right away. It just amazed me that these people who looked like I did were able to make sure great progress. It really was the kick the pants I needed to get out there and get started. I got some helpful hints from the trainers as well. I haven't watched it in the last year since Jillian left but I do like to think the show played a part in my journey.
    2171 days ago
    I watched the show once and decided it really wasn't for me. I'd rather take it slow and easy even if I get frustrated at times.
    2171 days ago
    That show is entertaining but incredibly unhealthy. What they do to the contestants is comparable to fat people torture. I don't think it's good for your body to drop more than a pound or 2 a week. Putting 400+ pound people on the treadmill and making them run is HORRIBLE for their joints.

    So yeah, I think you made the right decision!
    2171 days ago
    I am so glad you are not auditioning Laura! You may not be the BIGGEST loser but I know you can be the BEST loser you can be losing the weight in a much more healthy way with long term achievement of a lifetime of changes!

    I have never watched Biggest Loser and will never support it because just like all the other extreme methods of losing weight, it isn't healthy. Can anybody do what they are doing long term? No way!

    You made a great decision and I'm so glad you are back here with us journeying for a lifetime of health!
    2171 days ago
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