2.06.2014

thoughts on the biggest loser

Not sure if many of you watch the show The Biggest Loser, but I am a HUGE fan. I can pretty much guarantee that I will cry every episode - big ugly tears, too. Now I understand that this drastic weight loss is not normal and not realistic for the average person. The contestants are under strict watch, strict diets, and I can only imagine are severely over trained. However, I also know that is has the power to change lives, as well as help educate the individuals at home struggling themselves. At the same time, I also know it has the power to provide viewers with unrealistic expectations of drastic weight loss in a short amount of time. 

I see why people have their issues with the show too. I am a firm believer in focusing on the health aspects of fitness and nutrition, over the weight loss aspect.  At the end of the day, if you are being active and healthy, your weight will work itself out and I am not sure The Biggest Loser produces always have that mindset. Nor does the show really provide that as an option when it focuses only on weight loss percentages.  

This week on the show's finale, the winner Rachel lost 60% of her body fat over the course of 5 months. She went from 260 pounds to 105 pounds and the internet had a lot to say about it - most of the reactions not positive either. 

At what point does it turn from focusing on being healthy and fit and becoming an obsession for weight loss. I feel like this is the flaw of the show. The 250,000 dollar grand prize can ultimately set them up for failure even if they are 'the winner'. The contestants get so obsessed with the weight loss aspect, that they stop being fit and healthy and have the potential to take it to unhealthy levels of weight loss, especially in such a short amount of time. 

Now, I am by no means blaming Rachel. She played the game and she played it well, some will say she played it too well. She was my favorite throughout the entire season. She worked hard and while on the show seemed to be strong, fit, and healthy...Now I would never judge a person's health by their looks and weight alone, especially not knowing all the details of their journey, but I feel like she might have crossed the healthy line in her quest for Biggest Loser greatness. Besides, with today's unrealistic standards of beauty, why wouldn't you want to lose as much weight as possible. We shouldn't blame Rachel. Can we blame the show? Can we blame the media? Can we blame society in general? We live in a world that praises weight loss and being skinny. We shame people if they are too fat and we shame them if they are too thin. There can really be no winner if we only focus on a number on a scale or a dress size. 

One of the main reasons I decided to get certified to be a personal trainer is so I could help people be fit, active, and healthy. I want to help people understand it is not a diet or fad, but a life style change that needs to take place and at the end of the day a scale is not needed. So instead of shaming Rachel and judging her only by her rapid weight loss, let's find a way to create a society that praises health and wellness instead. 

Cheers to being healthy, 

<3 BB 

image via

31 comments

Chasing Elephants said...

Well said!

Kait said...

well said. i've been reading several articles on rachel as well - the transformation that she went through is definitely crazy! but as you said, we are in no place to judge. would love to here what rachel herself has to say though.

Nini Kat said...

I've never watched the show but I love Jillian Michaels :P Anyway, you're right. I know that if I was on the show and 250k was on the line, I'd probably starve myself and maybe pick up a few unhealthy borderline anorexic tendencies....Over 100 pounds in 5 months already sounds crazy to me and I'm wondering if during the show they tell viewers at home the health aspect/consequences of such drastic changes. I guess I need to watch the show. I'm proud of her though! But it sounds a little dangerous to a non dietician/non nutrionist/nonPT person like me.

Erica Jacquline said...

Everyone has too many opinions and time on their hands! I od think that is a ton of weight to lose in 5 months. Lets hope she has a healthy lifestyle and wont gain it all back in 5 months. The body can not handle that.

JumpingJE said...

Get all the people healthy, Brooke! I'm so looking forward to you sharing your positive energy and healthy outlook with others! And making some doll hairs in the process :)

Laura {happily ever} Parker said...

I was reading about Rachel last night on the internet when I saw it was trending. I agree that I think she went a wee bit too far and I hope she realizes that and tries to put on 10-15 pounds. She is a beautiful girl after all! I just worry about all the young girls with body issues watching the show. Not a very good message to send their way!

Helene in Between said...

oh i adore this post. thank you for talking about this as someone who is KNOWLEDGEABLE. i'm tired of people speculating that know nothing. it's obnoxious! i do feel bad for her but you're right, we shame people either way.

Tiffany @ Polka Dotted Cats said...

Preach it, B! I appreciate your educated and thoughtful opinion :)

Tami said...

I LOVE biggest loser and was so freaked out when I saw Rachel! And it's like... okay, the poor girl may be "too thin" but this whole thing resulted from her being "too fat" before... how do you guarantee a happy medium? I know this show does so many good things for come people, but if they're going to keep it on the air they have got to come up with a better way to judge who "wins". I'm glad you wrote about this.

Nadine Lynn said...

Perfect. I agree with Helene, I like that you are speaking out of knowledge rather than just speculation. I don't watch the show because I feel like it is unrealistic for most people to loose that much weight in that amount of time. Not everyone can afford trainers like that who show them how to work out right and what to eat to get the best results and work with them constantly.

I hate that people are constantly judging others on weight. You are right, people are "too fat or too thin." The criticism hurts on both sides of the scale. It hurts too hear that super thin is what is beautiful and it hurts for people to hear that real woman have curves. We should embrace everyone and just be glad when people are healthy :)

Rachel Sedaker said...

I've enjoyed this show in the past, but you're right- the focus is mostly on weight loss as opposed to health, and in the end, it is a show, for entertainment. I think sometimes people's concern comes off as judgment. From my own experience of weight loss, I am concerned for the contestants. When I lost weight too quickly and dramatically, it took a toll on my health and I had to have my gallbladder removed- not too uncommon with that kind of weightloss. It was a tough lesson to learn, but now I focus on a healthy lifestyle and having fun- because it doesn't have to be all work and no play.

Rachel Sedaker said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Not Before my Tea said...

very nice. what I hate is that body image is SUCH a big deal at all. I wonder if it is just a natural human tendency or if we grew to be this way? either way, I think it's definitely true that it is very, very rare to find someone who isn't criticized for their appearance in some way... too fat, too thin, whatever. glad to see someone trying to make a difference in something she's passionate about!

NapaKat said...

The whole concept of body shaming always makes me sad. I agree she's thin, but she'll probably even out when she goes home. What scares me a little is how many past contestants have had issues with food, eating disorders or simply gained the weight back. Rather than having a forced, excessively massive, weight loss goal I would like to see a more useful skill set to help get everyone in shape.

On that note, I also watch and cry over each episode. So maybe I'm fueling the fire?

Kasey Lynne said...

I'm not a fan of her. She knew what she was doing to her body, and she still chose to lose that much weight.

I hope cheeseburgers are on the menu for the next few weeks for her when she's back in the real world.

Caroline said...

Great points. I don't watch or follow the show, so I don't feel justified in having an opinion on this particular issue, but I do think that our society can be the only thing at fault here... not just that we put so much focus on weight loss and "looking good," but also the fact that we commercialize things like "bettering ourselves" and finding love and whatnot. Something to think about!

Fairy Princess Jord said...

I don't watch the biggest loser but I agree with everything you just said! It's about being healthy not about being skinny. I believe there is a wide range of healthy body types, for some people that thin "supermodel standard" is healthy but for others it is not. It's hard to judge by a set of numbers alone.

Lauren said...

I don't watch this but I did see twitter explode the other night. I think that she is probably a fierce competitor and really wanted to win the game, both because winning is awesome and for the weight loss look better/feel better side. It's sad that she is being so harshly scrutinized. As a woman, it's hard not to be considered either too fat or too thin. I guess healthy is too vague of a classification for the media.

Kathy @ Vodka and Soda said...

i don't watch that show and didn't hear about until another blogger mentioned it but i think body shaming is awful...just another way for trolls to tear other people down.

i didn't read the story but if this girl is eating well, exercising and is doing everything the healthy/safe way, then perhaps this is her frame but people see just how drastically different she looks so they automatically assume she's going to drastic measures to keep the weight off. my cousin lost a TON of weight through eating well and plenty of exercise. it was a big difference from her "before" and everyone thought she was starving herself.

-kathy
Vodka and Soda

Amanda Elizabeth - Meet @ the Barre said...

You are so right....our society shames people for being overweight and too skinny...ultimately everyone needs to mind their own business and focus on living a healthy lifestyle right?

~Amanda
Meet @ the Barre

Ash said...

its amazing how, if you are overweight, society wants to say "throw away the scale and bmi doesnt work because you are 'healthy' and fit" but when someone loses weight and all of sudden is in the minority of society, bmi is all the issue and we are suddenly so concerned for her health.

this is a weight loss competition. and if people are so pissed, turn off your television and get your own ass moving.

i never watch the show, because i cannot stand gillian michaels.

like you, im a personal trainer and studying for my masters in nutrition, to help people do exactly this same thing! within our own community of trainers and nutritionists, there is a wide variety of what is deemed "healthy".. i mean, i eat 10 bananas a day and find that to be healthy. while im sure everyone else thinks im crazy as they scarf down bacon...

i think all this proven is that lay people think they have a clue about nutrition and health, people who have been dieting for years feel the need to comment on this without putting together the thought that "hey, i've dieted for years.. this does not make me knowledgeable on nutrition or else i wouldnt be dieting"

sorry to rant here- this whole thing has really pissed me off. mainly because it proves a lot of people have no idea what the hell they are talking about...

Melissa Suggitt said...

i'm so sick of anything shaming. fat or skinny. let someone be comfortable with where they are as long as they're happy and healthy.

Kayla Moothart said...

love this - well said.

Amanda - Voyage of the MeeMee said...

I think you hit the nail on the head... people get shamed no matter WHAT size they are. I have to agree that the Biggest Loser isn't maintainable though. I mean, eventually you have to go back to "real" life and most of what they do doesn't transfer well through that.

Cathy said...

Very well said. I love the biggest loser but haven't watched in a few years. From what I read Rachel trained hard and being only 24 defiantly helps your body bounce back a little quicker. And she was an athlete before! So of course she was competitive. Just like you, I don't know her whole journey but I admire those who strive and work hard to better themselves. I hope she's happy and healthy.

Anna @ A Dash of Quirky said...

you prob already know my thoughts on this since I've been posting about it, so I'll say amen to everything you wrote.

Good for her for getting fit, but yeah, when it becomes an obsession that's no good either. It seems like an awfully drastic weight loss, and that can be hard on the body. Hopefully she has learned good lifestyle changes.

Alex[andra] said...

You said something important that I was just talking about with a friend the other day: we shame people if they're too fat and we shame them if they're too thin.

Based on appearances, we can't win. Ever.

But screw what anyone thinks. At the end of the day, it's about being healthy. If her weight loss transformation helped put her on the path of healthy living and eating, that's all that matters.

Jess said...

I do think she lost too much, but I guess you cant add enough muscle to balance that out in only 5 months. If she turns it into an actual healthy lifestyle than it's ok i guess.

Ashley said...

Well, I stand on the fence about this issue. I think she played the game and did it VERY well as you said. I do feel like her weight could be perceived as unhealthy although I think the people saying hurtful things about how GROSS she looks are so so wrong.

As someone who lost 115 pounds in a year and settled in at a very healthy body weight for my 5'9 height, I still have had hurtful words said about how I looked better "thicker" etc. People are NEVER happy and always find some way to give their very unwanted and hurtful opinion.

I hope Rachel will settle into a healthy weight and I wish her success and she navigates through such a hard transition.

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Katie Qué said...

YES.