Friday, November 13, 2009

Celebrity Weight Loss Week: Biggest Loser Extra Edition

First off, happy Friday the 13th! Our 3rd this! If you think this is an unlucky day, then switch up that thinking...use this as another opportunity to remember that your mindset determines your reality...I love Friday the 13th, it has always been a good day for me and I expect it will continue to be one in the future.

OK, the real reason for the post...I just couldn't wait any longer to comment about this week's episode of The Biggest Loser television show. (If you TIVO the show and haven't watched it yet, then you might want to wait to read this quick, watch the show and then come right back here!)

I still have my doubts about this program, other than from an entertainment standpoint. Does the show really help people lose weight? It seems to work for some of the least some of the time...but does it work for them once they get home? And more importantly, does it really work for the Johns and Janes watching at home?

I firmly believe that no one weight loss program is perfect for every person, and the "ranch" is obviously not 'real life', but if it can help guide people to be more healthy, then I support that.

I admit, I'm getting sucked in to TBL, but I root for everyone. I want them all to succeed. It sucks that there are eliminations...but that is what makes the competition and the show...and the good part is we also get to see how those participants who are eliminated fare once they are off the ranch. Still not "normal" life because they know there will be follow up shows...but clearly, not everyone has success off the ranch as was evidenced by the follow up with Daniel (who is doing really well, hurray!) and his buddy (who isn't ready yet...)

One of my questions for you is, do you think Jillian's style works? The in-your-face, yelling, calling people names? Some of the participants seem to respond...but I've now seen 2 in very recent weeks walk out of the workout session with her because she pushed them too far. Many of them seem to really love her style about "tough love" and pushing people past what they believe their limits are...showing them they are stronger than they every dreamt possible?

I think the reason they put up with her is because she does help them get through their emotional blocks and they see results.

But her method works because they are with her so much of the time...AND because her style is also balanced by Bob's style.

Is this yelling necessary for weight loss? Absolutely not. But it makes great television.

Another question I have about all this exercising...are they encouraging behavior that leads to anorexia? (Anorexia and obesity are really just flip sides of the same coin.)

I hope that all participants are given the tools they need for dealing with their emotions and eating habits when they are no longer under the television spotlight.

Bottom line, what bothers me most about TBL is the competition...while healthy competition can be helpful for some people to achieve their weight loss goals...a healthy competition is also support. Yes, they do get some of that at the ranch...and it is why having a workout buddy can really help.

But competition where a person is punished, in this case sent home, for not losing enough weight--even when that's 17 pounds in a single week and 100 pounds in only 9 weeks like Shay's experience, that can reinforce negative messages of not being good enough, never being able to lose enough weight, etc.

Please, do not model your program on TBL...without lots of modifications to allow for life. TBL is a television show. These people are closely monitored and supervised. To expect that you will be able to lose 100 pounds in 9 or 10 (or 12) weeks could set you up for massive disappointment.

Instead, encorporate small changes in your behavior...starting with your mindset. Believe that you can lose weight. Believe it is possible NOW. You do NOT have to be on TBL to have weight loss success.

Do you watch the Biggest Loser? Tell me what you like about it, what you don't like...has it inspired you? Or are you watching it, like Shay was last season, while eating a half gallon of ice cream?

Use their examples to inspire you to have your own success, in your own time...and to start now!

To YOUR healthy, energetic, slender body--you deserve it! (No yelling required.)


Anonymous said...

Hmm. For me I really enjoy TBL and all the drama that is involved in peoples weight loss - for the most part all the contestants have had their weight problem ALL THEIR LIVES - and there is a huge piece of psychology wrapped around food and their growing up to cause them to become what they were upon starting the show.

I do agree that they (most people) need to address it - otherwise they will bounce back to their previous behaviour/size. And while I would never allow a trainer to abuse me like Jillian does to them, I also find it usefull to picture her beside me while I do my cross-training at the gym.

I personally fall into a different category and didn't grow up heavy (right now I am 100lbs over ideal, 40 less then when I started addressing it). So I don't need that emotional piece that Bob/Jillian keeps nattering on about.

I often feel very out of place in the gym and "out and about" as most people in my kneck of the woods are impossibly thin - the trainers I have worked with help me - but they lie when they say "I know how you feel" as they have been fit their entire lives.

I have "lived" the TBL lifestyle for a month of nothing but training (4-5hrs a day, precise nutrition) and could only ever lose a maximum of 6lbs a week for a couple of week. I backed off and now average 3-4, but I would really like to know if these #'s are fake or not.

I have done my personal-training to try and find some answers and the answer I got was "weight loss isn't an exact science". You have have weight loss of over 10lbs a week on paper (adding calories) that don't equate to real life.

I really with someone (ABC, FOX) would have a weight loss show of more "average" overweight people, in a more realistic "incorporated into real life" situations that more people could relate to.

Unfortunately I think a lot of people eat ice-cream, drink pop and watch TBL and think "I'll never get that bad", and don't address their own living habits. They rationalize their minor (>20<50lbs overweight) as reasonable by comparison.


Laurie Tossy said...

I love hearing your thoughts and I agree with so many of them. And congrats on addressing your health and making progress in your goals!

TBL is about drama...that is what makes it good television...not necessarily good for people's weight loss at home. That's why I doubt any of the major networks will come up with a show about more "average" people...just not sexy enough to get the ratings!

Instead we can help inspire each other...and I hope you will come back here often!

I am glad to hear you won't let a trainer (or hopefully anyone) abuse you like Jillian does...and chuckled to myself that you also picture her beside you while you are at the gym. That is fantastic if you can make her an empowering force rather than internalizing her abuse!

As you have found, one of the big challenges people who are overweight have at a gym is feeling out of place because trainers & other folks are fit & trim and don't really understand them. That's why it is important if you are going to seek a trainer to get someone who either has a great success record with seriously overweight folks, or has been there themselves.

Weight loss is so not a simple math equation. So much of it is in our heads...when we are emotionally and mentally ready the weight comes off forever. And if we aren't then it just doesn't.

I wasn't obese growing up...I wasn't skinny, but I was active and healthy, and "chubby"...but I did struggle to keep my weight down...and I got heavier and heavier. It wasn't until I was an adult that I became obese...but the foundation for that all started much younger.

I am going to challenge you to re-evaluate your thoughts about "that emotional piece" get to 140 pounds over ideal takes more than a casual extra bite now and then. It doesn't have to be a huge thing like some of the participants can seem like a little thing...what has kept you from living your best life, being your best self? It's worth at least exploring the idea.

I am looking forward to hearing more from you Gregory. Let me know your progress. What you find that works...focus on small steps that you can keep up. Maybe it won't be as fast as TBL, but it will be permanent!