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Reality TV Totally Motivated Me

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Okay, I have a confession.

I am totally and hopelessly addicted to reality television. It's an issue.

I'll watch anything on basic cable and then some. The good, the bad, the ugly-- everything. Stuff that doesn't even pertain to my life. "Say Yes to the Dress," for example, is about engaged women looking for their perfect designer wedding gown. I'm not engaged. I'm not looking for wedding gowns any time soon. To be honest, I'm not ready to get married until Ryan Gosling shows up on my doorstep with Starbucks (nonfat mocha frappuccino, no whip please) and a willingness to put up with my terrible puns.

Yet, I'm addicted. And why shouldn't I be? Reality tv is nothing more than clever edits of exaggerated moments in life: perfect weddings, bachelors giving out last roses, toddlers and their tiaras. It's a cesspool of entertainment that we rarely admit to watching.

One of my favorite reality tv shows is Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition. It's basically The Biggest Loser condensed into a svelte 2 hours covering a person's year long journey in shedding 100+ pounds, oftentimes more than that. I usually watch for the crazy transformation aspect of the whole ordeal-- you get to see someone completely change who they are in one sitting? Hell yeah! Sign me up for that shizz!

On the other hand, I'm guilty of watching it just to make myself feel better about being the weight I'm at now. Seeing people who've let themselves go to the point of being 200 or 300 pounds overweight makes me feel that much better about maintaining a healthy weight. Kinda like when you watch Real Housewives of Wherever to feel better about not being a bimbo trophy wife with nothing better to do than to organize tense dinner parties.

Last night was a great episode of Extreme Makeover: the featured individual was a bubbly kindergarten teacher named Meredith, who'd suffered the emotional challenges of having been adopted days after her birth. She wanted to sign up for the show to reach her ultimate goal weight, 155, which she'd tattooed on her stomach to literally remind her every day to get her shizz together (talk about dedication!).

Let me just say I did NOT expect to be so emotionally involved with her story. Her adoption tale almost made me cry. Her positive, can-do attitude was infectious. She took on every challenge with insane determination, even pushing forward with a 26 mile marathon after tearing up her knee. My snide remarks melted at my lips; Meredith gave me no reason to use her as shallow inspiration to stay 'thin.' The girl was unstoppable.

And guess what? She totally reached her goal weight at the end of the show. She stepped out on stage in silver pumps and a sexy dress and just GLOWED. Her entire being was that of someone who didn't let her weight victimize her. She overcame her obstacles and pushed forward until she kicked ass for good.

After watching, I wasn't laughing about her tattoo anymore. I wasn't laughing because she had let herself go. I was like, "Sh*t. I need to work out harder."

That's what this show will do to you: suddenly you see how much hard work pays off in just a few months. It's also great because the featured individuals have to learn to do everything on their own almost immediately. Jillian Michaels isn't there to yell at them 24/7. Sure, host Chris Powell is passively monitoring them, but it's not up-in-their-faces. You gotta figure it out yourself from the get-go.

And Meredith DID figure it out! She discovered she loves to run! She proved to herself she could push beyond her limits in a marathon! She like, refused Peeps candy and stuff!


So, I guess my point here is that you sit down and expect mindless television, then something like this comes out of the blue and you get this slap in the face. You start asking yourself meaningful questions: How hard am I working toward my goal? What's she doing that I could also be doing? Why do I feel I have no time to work out when I'm checking and rechecking (and rechecking) Twitter and Facebook every 15 minutes, all day long? What would MY reality tv show look like?

Something to think about.


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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • RIGEIN24
    Haha I used to be addicted to some reality TV shows too. I might still be watching them if not for the fact that I no longer have cable/satellite. In hindsight though I feel like the negativity outweighed the entertainment factor for me at the time. I let myself judge and be judged too harshly. Nowadays I can chuckle or eyeroll at it without further introspection, but it's good that you found motivation out of it. I was highly motivated by A&E's "Heavy" show before they quit producing episodes. Shame really, it was rather inspirational.
    1778 days ago
    Most of what passes as "reality" TV really misses the mark - not only due to the suspected scripting that so many viewers have sensed, but the negative stereotyping that has really come to the forefrontt (can we say "Real Housewives" franchise, anyone!)......

    All that having been said, there are a few rare showings that provide the kind of inspiration that you mention in your examples.......I just wish that there wasn't so much overreaching drama ....... "good TV"? I don't think so......just skip the trash and stick to the *truly* *good* parts!

    1778 days ago
    May God bless your success on this journey we all share!
    1778 days ago
    I love that show! I love how they really focus on one person at a time and show their amazing transformations!

    We all could learn from her determination.


    1778 days ago
  • LAUR120
    Most of it is, yes :)

    BUT this girl definitely lost weight. Whether that was due to incredibly advanced special effects or actual work on her part, it motivated me and that's all that matters!

    1778 days ago
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