Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pet Peeve Rant: why weightloss shows send the wrong message

I accidentally tuned in to the season start of "The Biggest Loser" (always think "looser" would be the right name, no?), and saw the new format of picking 3 candidates per larger city. They had to compete for a placement on the show by running 1 Mile. These guys/gals were around 300-400 pounds and had not run in  like 20 years. I am not a medical doctor, but this seemed medically dangerous, but, alas just made in heaven for reality tv high ratings. Promptly, one guy with dreadlocks collapsed, and had to be taken to the hospital. Reality tv drama, a necessary ingredient, right?

It makes me so mad that shows like this send the message that, well, if you want to have any chance to loose weight, you have to SUFFER, big time, because otherwise you don't deserve it and you already know it is impossible, right? We just want to make sure to confirm this message. You have to do impossible things, like run when you barely can get out of a chair, exercise for 5 hours a day while Jillian Michaels yells at you for not trying hard enough, just humiliation and beating yourself up all the way. 

While this might make for high reality tv ratings of overweight people sitting at home, and thinking, oh, yes, I should do this, I am so glad I am at home and don't have to do this (you know, like other people watching horror movies in the safety of their own homes...), this simply sends the wrong message. I firmly believe that any successful weightloss can only be accomplished by being gentle on yourself. Yes, it is ok to start small. Go for a walk, do something you can do and that feels pleasant. After walking for a month, you might feel more compelled to try a few minutes to run. Yes, you CAN do it, and you DON'T have to suffer and it is NOT IMPOSSIBLE, and it can actually be fun, and you can actually want to keep it up. Be gentle, go slow, love yourself.

Same crappy show: Thintervation with Jackie Warner. Yelling at someone "You don't know your strength, you don't know what you can do, but I know. Get rid of this princess attitude.", well., that borders on abuse. Jackie, go home. 

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