The internet has been abuzz about the the Finale of THE BIGGEST LOSER today. Well, in the fitness world, at least. Let me take that back. The fitness world has EXPLODED about The Biggest Loser today. I usually schedule my blog posts for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. But, this got me thinking so much that I just had to go ahead and write something down. Completely different from yesterday when I had writer’s block. 😉
For those who don’t know, last night was the finale and the girl who won made a DRAMATIC change…..260 pounds down to 105 pounds in 6 months. Impressive, indeed. I will not post her picture here because it is all over the internet as it is and honestly, this post is not about her. It is about the show.
All this talk about THE BIGGEST LOSER caused me to really think about how I feel about the show and to now write my take on it.
I have never been a fan of the show to be honest. For the longest time I figured it was because I’m just not a fan of reality type shows of any kind. But, something really never sat well for me watching THE BIGGEST LOSER.
Now that I have written and continue to write my own transformation story and I have become a fitness professional I know why I’ve never liked THE BIGGEST LOSER.
Here are my top reasons…
1) It is NOT the Real World
The contestants are squirreled away to a ranch for six months complete with personal trainers, nutritionists, group support, accountability of a national audience, etc. They live and breathe losing weight. They don’t have to work a job and keep up with children. There is absolutely no relevance to the average person. Zero. It is easy to watch the TV and say, “Well YEAH! If I had a trainer and a nutritionist at my beckon call I would be thin too!”
I work with REAL people who have jobs, children, school, and social obligations. Their fitness and good eating has to fit around all these things. It takes major effort and prioritizing to do that.
People need to learn how to make it all work in the REAL WORLD. They need to learn tools and habits that will work. If there were a show that was based on that, I would watch it.
2) A Healthy Rate of Weight Loss is Considered Failure
Healthy weight loss is 1-2 pounds a week. When a contestant steps on that giant scale and only shows a loss of 2 pounds (a healthy and commendable accomplishment) the trainers and fellow contestants gasp and frown with disappointment. Frowns are seen at even a 8 pound loss in ONE WEEK!
Rapid weight loss is not recommended and is not healthy for anyone. It is true that when you start a weight loss program you may lose 4+ pounds in one week. You are mainly losing water weight. You will level out to 1-2 pounds a week. That is HEALTHY and sustainable. Your body needs time to adjust to the weight loss. Your metabolism needs time to adjust. When weight is lost too quickly it can very easily be put right back on.
I just hate to think about the people watching this show who think their healthy weight loss is too slow.
Slow and Steady wins the race and continues to win the race.
3) The True Challenge of Maintenance is Forgotten
Weight Loss is easy. Eat a little less. Move a little more. Find your Limiting Factor. You will lose weight. Stick to that program long enough and you WILL lose weight and maybe even a lot.
But, what do you do when you’ve reached your goal weight? It is time to maintain. How do you do that? Well, THE BIGGEST LOSER does not answer that question. The contestants compete, lose the weight, and then left alone.
A staggering majority of people who lose weight will eventually regain that weight back. I am included in that statistic. In the past I have lost and regained over and over again. The key is to have the correct tools and habits that are sustainable and can be done over a lifetime with joy.
4) The Emphasis on ‘Weight Loss’ and not “Body Recomposition”
Whenever I train someone or do a gym orientation, the first thing we talk about is goals. The number one goal I hear is “I want to lose weight.” I promptly and gently correct the trainee by saying, “So you want to do a body recomposition?” Here’s why…
Weight loss is just that. It is the number on the scale going down. It does not discriminate on where that weight is coming from. It can be water. It can be fat. It can even be muscle (<—-bad).
Body Recomposition acknowledges where you want to lose. You want to LOSE FAT and GAIN MUSCLE. You want to completely change the composition of your body. And in so doing you completely change the shape of your body.
THE BIGGEST LOSER does not acknowledge the difference. The focus on seeing that number go down on their fancy big scale. I would bet tons of money that the contestants are losing muscle too and that is never good.
It is rare but every so often I will see a gym hosting a “FAT LOSS” competition. They do fat percentage measurements and everything. I can stand behind that.
5) I Don’t Like How The Trainers Behave
I know tons of people love Jillian and her compatriots but the way they act is completely unnecessary. The yelling, the screaming, and the cursing is for ratings. Pure and simple.
True. You have to find what works for your clients to motivate them. Some people respond to tough love and some people wither up and want to hide from it. It doesn’t work for everyone.
Being tough is part of being a good trainer. You don’t take excuses and your clients respect you for it.
BUT, swearing is NEVER necessary. And you can’t change my opinion on that.
Honestly, the way the trainers act on there is bordering on abuse in my opinion.
I know that THE BIGGEST LOSER is here to stay. It has a huge following and it makes TONS of money for the network and for all the branded products. It does well in the ratings.
And Trainers like me will continue to not like it. But, we will slowly change the world by talking to one client or friend at a time about true Health and Wellness.