Monday, January 7, 2013
The Biggest Loser
My very first impression is how happy I am that they are taking on the battle of childhood obesity. The three children who are going to be competing (and not going home!) to me are impressive. To put themselves out there for judgement, but to take control of their bodies, to take control of their future, to take control of their minds. I love this twist on the show because I was an overweight kid. I know what it's like to want to play with your friends, but not being physically being able to (dreading be "it" because you know you can't run as fast as the other kids). I know what it's like to want to wear something pretty and not finding anything in your size or anything that looks good one you. I know what it's like to have people judge you or make fun or you for your weight. I started Weight Watchers for the first time when I was 12. I lost a good amount of weight (I think about 23 pounds) before the family fell off the wagon and we stopped eating healthy. Yup. Gained it all back.
I am thrilled to see The Biggest Loser trying to reach out to children and show them they can lose weight. They can be healthy. They can fit in. To me, this could be the biggest contribution this show could make to society. As they said and as we have all heard, this generation of children will be the first to not outlive their parents. What does that say about us? I will say this now, I have do not have children. I cannot say that I have been faced with trying to raise one, work a job, be a productive member of society, be a wife, and all the other things a mom is. What I can say is, I've been an overweight (obese) kid, tween, teen, and adult. I know that poor eating habits instilled in a child is what that child will continue to practice as they get older. More and more research is coming out about the chemicals in our foods, that in some people sugar can act like a drug. An overweight child is not going to overnight become a fit and healthy adult. There is no switch that turns on at 18, 21, or 25 where you now know what you need to do to eat healthy. No switch that turns on that counteracts all the mental aspects of food that will take away the idea that food is a comfort, food is a reward, food is soothing. What we are exposed to is what we do. What we live is how we live.
I know others think the show is unreasonable in how it portray weight loss. The hours people spend working out, not having to work while doing it, not being tempted by eating out, not having to cook or clean or do laundry (though I do think they have to cook their own food based on a few seasons ago), the amount of weight the contestants lose in a week. I can understand where they are coming from, that by not showing these aspects of the show it sets up unrealistic expectations for those at home. And to an extent I can agree with this. There will be those who watch the show and not understand the process. But, that can be said of many who go on a weight loss journey. Just because you want something doesn't mean you are prepared to do it. Overall, I think the show does good. I think it encourages people to eat healthy, workout more, or at least take a look at their lives and what they are doing to themselves. Not everyone who watches the show is mentally ready to make changes, but they may eventually take what they learn from the show and start.
This season looks to be more important than the others. It looks to address an issue that needs to be addressed. I'm looking forward to seeing how they do this. I can't wait to see how the kids respond. I'm excited to see how the kids interact with the adults and what that does for all.
What are your thoughts? Do you watch or do you think it's a waste of time?