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8 Lessons from ''The Biggest Loser''

Advice to Take Away from the Show


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I feel for these contestants and I know they work hard when they're there. That being said, I no longer allow this show in my house. Each year, I feel the producers are trying to one-up themselves and instead of just looking for people that need help, they are going for the record-breakers, like those that need to lose 400 lbs. I no longer feel this is sending a good message to my young daughters because it's unrealistic and unhealthy. If the execs hadn't gotten greedy they could still have had a good show without going so far off the deep end. Report
I never really gave much thought to what the people on the show actually go through. I usually just watched the weigh-ins to see the impressive number of lbs lost by each participant. But I've been working out with a personal trainer for about a year now and I can honestly say that I would NEVER let my trainer treat me the way I've seen these trainers treat the people they are "helping". One episode in particular, a very obese man fell off of some piece of cardio equipment and Bob put his foot on him and made some sarcastic comment. If this is helpful and motivating then I can safely say that I want none of that! I would however entertain being treated that way if 250K was being dangled in my face as a possible prize for losing the most weight. When I read this post about how motivating this show can be, I immediately thought of an article my trainer wrote about this show and giving a very different perspective about what these people go through. Link below:

If you want true inspiration, you can find it here on SparkPeople by viewing the many success stories of the people who put in a lot more than 12 weeks to lose the weight but they have been successful at keeping the weight off and they didn't have to be put through excrutiating workouts all while being belittled by a trainer national TV. A trainer that while he may know a thing or two about training and getting fit, I highly doubt he knows anything about being morbidly obese and how difficult it has to be to even attempt to do those exercises.

love the show, watch it ever week!!!!!!! Report
I have not watched the Biggest Loser since its first episode and after hearing of some of those persons who were on and how they were treated... yes maybe they lost weight but no one in their right mind should be subjected to such drastic activity and such stress when losing weight! Because the stress alone can kill you and it almost did for a few! And many tiekms when you lose weight so fast you end up putting it back on! Its a lifestyle and eating habits that ahve to be changed before any alsting effects! I woudl rather watch Hallmark channel... less stress and more entertainment watching thinsg like the Walton family or other classics! Weight loss has no bsuiness being a TV show! Unless its to show how by behavioral changes!! Then I may watch it! Report
How old IS this article? It references "now in it's fifth season". Wow, way to recycle an old as dirt article, spark. Hey, I'll take the spark points for browsing it, though.

I love the show. But I take it for what it is ...entertainment.

THANK YOU AZURE SKY! And may I also add to your very well-thought-out list the fact that he also seems to completely forget that for obese people, losing "weight" should NOT be the goal! Changing your body composition to lose FAT should be the goal! The Biggest Loser *infuriates* me, because it panders to two large groups of people: the otherwise skinny or perhaps only a little overweight group who are tuning in for the shock factor and to sort of pat themselves on the back as they reach for the second bowl of ice cream thinking, well I'm not THAT fat! And the second group, of which I was a member for years: the morbidly to super-morbidly obese who are trapped in a battle they honestly believe they cannot win on their own.

Guess what Jason Anderson and other TBL fans, some of us HAVE to win on our own. And while having a buddy or two to help you through the rough days is a total bonus, having an entire team of executives monitor your "progress" and set you up in bariatric ivory tower is totally unrealistic. It sends the message that we can drop 100 pounds IF we have a special ranch peopled with magic refrigerators and trainers.

The Biggest Loser panders to everything that is contributing to the obesity epidemic today - fear, ignorance, and a deep-seated hopelessness. They hook you because, like a friend of mine, people keep trying to "figure out" what the secret is: yes exercise, but how much and what kind? We just see people screaming in pain and sweating. Good food, yes, but really? Jennie-O and sugarfree gum are the things I remember TBL suggesting... and it seems every time I catch it there's a table laden with cupcakes and M&Ms.

I hate that show. I hope more people see it for sensationalistic half-true crap that it is and turn to solid, sensible lifestyle changes that don't isolate you from your work, your family, your friends and your life in order to "work*.

Rant over. Report
It's interesting how the author managed to pull out all the positives of the show while totally ignoring all the negatives. For instance, he never mentioned the injuries or trips to the emergency room for some contestants, the dehydration, the mental abuse the contestants are subject to from their "trainers/coaches," the fact that the contestants work out for 6 HOURS A DAY!!!, the total unreality of the show, the extra pressure on the individuals when they don't measure up to their expected losses, or when they are the ones who are responsible for their team's loss.

WEIGHT LOSS IS NOT A COMPETITIVE SPORT!!! Each person loses at their own pace, and being overweight in the first place is stressful enough. It's no wonder there's at least one emotional breakdown per show - that's shown on TV to get the ratings up, of course. The contestants are subjected to humiliation time after time and made to feel like failures often - I'd never get on a scale in spandex in front of an audience of millions of people - even if I were guaranteed to win. Report
An excellent article with many LESSONS to be learned. Report
I watch all the weight loss shoes, (Too Fat For 15, Extreme Makeover, Biggest Loser, Heavy, etc.). And even though I might not try to lose as quickly as they do on most of these shows, they motivate me. I watch these people working out, making good food choices, and it inspires me to do the same! Right now I'm wishing there was another weight loss show on to fill in the gap before the Fall season starts, as Extreme Makeover just finished its first season. I also hope they renew that show, although I don't know how Chris, the trainer, managed to spend (live with) 90 days with each contestant, when there was 8 different contestants. Of course everyone does the best when Chris is with them, usually losing 100 lbs. in those first 90 days. I just don't know how Chris physically manages to do it--plus I see he & his wife just had a baby. I guess I am too worried about the logistics, and should concentrate more on the motivation these shows provide to me--and that is a big help for all of us--those of us trying to lose AND people like me who are struggling everyday with maintenance. Report
I enjoyed this article. In particular, the following words really spoke to me today... "With every small step you take towards your goals, your confidence will build. With every goal you achieve, your self-esteem with sky-rocket. The key is to just start. It's always better to try—even if you mess up along the way — than to never try at all." Report
I recently watched the similar show "Extreme Makeover: Weightloss Edition" and the trainer said that for the morbidly obese, the benefits of quick weight loss outweigh (sorry!) the risks. Does anyone know if that's true?

Certainly I've always heard that for people who are just overweight, one to two pounds lost per week is appropriate - not 10 or 12! Report
As some one else stated, I, too, watch this show while I work out. I find it very motivational that these contestants are trying to make major lifestyle changes! Report
I've watched the show and while I don't think I would appreciate Bob or Jillian in my face I usually feel really inspired by the end - these people have made the commitment and it's great to see how they've pulled their life around. Consistency IS the key and once we get our head round the idea that we are the onesin control - we put the weight on over a period of time and we'll take the weight off over a period of time and once we get to goal weight - consistently maintain it. Report
I've never watched the show and don't intend to-for the same reasons that one who have already posted stated.
However, I really liked the article! Very realistic, and encouraging! I never thought of making up some challenges for myself, such as setting up bins and moving empty soda cans from one to the other! What a wonderful idea!
Here in Florida it is so hot and muggy all summer long, most of my exercise has to be inside the house, so it can get boring. Thanks for the good article! Report

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