Thursday, November 14, 2013

Biggest Loser's unrealistic expectations

"Biggest Loser" is airing again right now, and this season has frustrated me like all the past seasons. ;)  I truly hate that the show sets unrealistic expectations for weight loss.  If someone "only" loses 4 pounds in one week, they're considered a failure.  It's awful.  The first week of each season, people lose 20+ pounds, and that just plain doesn't happen.  The producers totally manipulate everything - a "week" on the show is often more than 7 days, and I've always wondered about supplement use on the show.  I wrote a post back in 2009 about a weight loss supplement that one of the trainers, Jillian Michaels, was selling - it was an insane amount of caffeine, amongst other things.

So this week's episode ends with Jillian's team getting a penalty for using unapproved caffeine supplements the prior week.  Interesting!  Caffeine is a great way to speed up your heart rate, but honestly, I've found it can have terrible effects on the rest of your body.  It makes me sad to realize that these contestants are being encouraged to use supplements like that (or, as Jillian claims of the other teams, they're drinking lots of coffee to get that caffeine instead).

Anyone who loses weight should be applauded.  A mere four pound weight loss in a week is HUGE, and should be celebrated.  I wish this show would come clean and be true - actually do the weigh ins every 7 days, show that they are drinking a ton of coffee, explain that they're working out 6 hours a day... it's hard enough to lose weight without having all these unrealistic expectations set on national television.

I much prefer the Chris Powell show "Extreme Weight Loss" - it's about one person over the course of a year.  And they work their asses off - often losing 90 pounds (or more!) in the first 90 days.  And if they've met their various weight loss goals, they get skin removal surgery before their big "reveal" at the end of the year.  I like that this show acknowledges the body changes that happen - and also shows the hard work that goes into this.  Also, almost every person on the show misses one of their goals, so you get to see the realistic side of weight loss - it's not all as simple as "Biggest Loser" makes it seem.  I also really like how supportive Chris Powell is to each of these people (and their families).  There's no berating them (ahem, Jillian!)

and yes, there is an element of jealousy about all of these shows - gee, if only I could take 3 months to focus only on my weight loss, I would TOTALLY lose the pounds!  But that's not going to happen (and happily, I don't qualify for the "Extreme Weight Loss" show as I don't have to lose more than 50% of my body weight).  ;)

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