This might be a contentious post. But before you get mad at me, somebody please explain this to me: why is The Biggest Loser seen as a positive show?
I've been hearing people talk about this show for months, and I finally saw it this week. Someone please explain the appeal to me.
Seriously. I'm not trying to sound bitchy; I just don't get it. In case you didn't watch it, I'll explain what has me stumped.
I saw a man get up on the scale to be weighed. He lost three pounds in a week. Last I checked, the sight of someone who is overweight losing three pounds is a good thing. Even though three pounds in one week is above the recommended amount for healthy loss, it's weight loss that's not a radical shock to the system.
The man heard the amount of weight he'd lost, and his face fell. He was downcast. He bared his teeth in an 'I'm being a good sport, damn it' grin, and managed to get out something along the lines of "well, it's better than nothing."
Excuse me? What kind of an upside-down reality is this where losing three pounds is 'better than nothing'? The values being preached here seem totally screwed to me.
I realize they tried to give the show a positive angle by showing people going back to their friends and family after having lost weight. I am glad that they included segments on how people are still exercising after they leave. But still, the point of the show itself is to lose numbers on the scale as fast as possible.
By focusing the competition on losing pounds, it seems like the emphasis is on doing whatever the hell you have to do to lose the weight. Doesn't matter how much you've improved your health, how much cardiovascular fitness you've gained, how much farther you can run or how much more weight you can lift. All that matters is the numbers on the damn scale.
Ryan Benson, a winner on the show, revealed how he won:
I wanted to win so bad that the last ten days before the final weigh-in I didn't eat one piece of solid food! If you've heard of "The Master Cleanse" that's what I did. It's basically drinking lemonade made with water, fresh squeezed lemon juice, pure maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. The rules of the show said we couldn't use any weight-loss drugs, well I didn't take any drugs, I just starved myself!
To me, any 'weight loss' show where someone who starves themselves would do better than someone who improves their fitness is not a show people should watch.
When I achieve world domination, I will design reality shows that actually let people win when they improve. Why not have a show that rewards people not for losing weight, but for gaining stamina? Measure a bunch of unfit people at the start of the show, test them for how far they can run, or how much they can lift, or something like that. Then test them again each week and reward the people who show the most improvement. Screw the scale! Screw numbers that only focus on size rather than health!
Cool people like Fit Bottomed Girls and Scale Junkie watch this show. From the comments I've read, apparently you watch it too. (Yes, you over there in the corner. You know who you are.) So what gives?
Please let me know why you think this show is something that people should watch. Or let me know what kind of a fitness reality show you plan to host once you achieve world domination.
Photo credit: Luis Munoz.