Thursday, June 22, 2017

Why The Biggest Loser Sends a Positive Message

May 24, 2010 by  
Filed under Fitness, Fitness In The News

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The finale of the ninth The Biggest Loser season airs tonight and all the negative Nellies are out in full force saying the show is unrealistic and sends the wrong message to Americans. Not I.

The other day I had a personal training client tell me “When I saw those guys running a marathon, I thought ‘well then I can do it, too!’” This pretty much sums up the reason the show sends a positive message to viewers. Even though the average American does not have time to attend an intense fitness camp like The Biggest Loser ranch and absolutely should not try such an aggressive weight loss program on his/her own, the show provides positive role models. I think naysayers underestimate the intelligence of Americans. Most are definitely smart enough to separate the reality show from the reality in the show.

Want some reality? These people are making positive changes in their lives through diet and exercise and achieve a visible sense of empowerment in the process. The problems that led them to morbid obesity are equally real and the show puts this dark side of weight gain and loss out there for the world to see. Watching Darus begin nighttime binge eating days after arriving home was raw and real. By letting viewers see contestants’ lapses, the show makes it clear that the journey to weight loss and maintenance is long and hard with many bumps and that’s okay. Contestants receive psychological counseling beyond the tidy tear ‘em down and build ‘em up sessions Bob and Jillian have with them, but, as in Daris’ case, it’s often clear that the road to health and wellness doesn’t end at the ranch.

Had a Biggest Loser contest at work or know someone who has? Yet another positive influence point for the show. And through the years, the show has become increasingly better about informing people how to lose the weight and perhaps win their office pool. Trainers Bob and Jillian provide the contestants and viewers with helpful tips for healthy eating and exercises that are not extreme.

I think the show is not only informative, but also entertaining and inspirational and I’m rooting for my fellow paison Michael to win it all this season!

–Laura DeLallo, Founder, Living Fit
(Laura is a certified personal trainer and weight management consultant. Want to train with her? Visit Personal Training at Living Fit. Want to learn more about her? Visit the About page.)

My Take
I know The Biggest Loser isn’t for everyone; it’s repetitive, cheesy, predictable, and oh, did I mention repetitive? However, there are many things that I love about the show, so I keep watching season after season. I love getting to know the contestants and hearing them explain their struggles and how they think they got  into their situation. I love that the show doesn’t make it all about running and dieting. Contestants deal with self-esteem, tragedy, stress, loneliness, abandonment, fear, and all the real life things that cause a person to turn to vices and self-sabotaging behaviors. There’s a real inspiring message here: you can do something to improve yourself each day, but to make it stick, you have to be conscious of your emotions and what causes you to sabotage yourself.

It makes me sad every time a contestant has to “leave the ranch.” I never feel like they’re ready, and I always want to go scoop them up and help them continue on their journey. It also makes me sad to see a contestant from a prior season regain the lost weight. But, the bottom line for me is after watching these people battle themselves for months, I get to see most of them rise victorious with a smile, a new healthy, slim body, and a handle (however tenuous) on their emotional triggers.

–Susan Carson, Contributing Writer
(Susan Carson is a businesswoman, certified personal trainer, and black-belt martial artist. Read more about her on the About page.)

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