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By: Jania Matthews Date: 6/9/10

This is the time of year where television season finales are commonplace.  While some shows I don’t fret if I miss, there’s one show’s finale that captured my undivided attention.  This show is none other than the Biggest Loser. 

My investment in the series started several months ago as I began watching the physical and emotional transformations of 22 people start to take shape.  I even predicted which team would make it to the finale—
with semi-accurate results. The journey of these contestants was nothing less than motivating and inspiring. All that was left was to anxiously await the finale.   
 

I was among the millions of people who watched the finale. Week after week, intrigue set in as we watched the game play and said good-bye to contestants as they received their “walking papers.” Thus, 22 people dwindled down to an elite three, until only one remained.  This season’s winner was the largest contestant in the history of the show, weighing in at 526 lbs.  This contestant continued to make history by breaking a Biggest Loser record, loosing a whopping 264 lbs over the course of the show. 

Looking back over this season and the many others that came before, I can’t help but wonder why excessive exercise is spotlighted as the integral method to dropping the weight.  Without a doubt, nutrition plays a role in the weight-loss equation, but not much of that aspect is televised.  What viewers do witness is hours upon hours of exercise and physical challenges that people of a normal weight may not embark.  This also reinforces a mindset that exercise isn’t fun.  Does the Biggest Loser techniques motivate you to exercise or does it reinforce a negative image of exercise?  

In addition to the hours of physical activity, contestants endure motivation that is often in the form of yelling.  One of the Biggest Loser’s trainers that viewers and contestants either love or hate is Jillian Michaels.  Anyone seeking a compassionate and hand holding experience should not encounter Jillian’s training techniques.  While she attempts to dissect the psychological and emotional barriers that have prohibited contestants from achieving weight-loss success, many think Jillian should stick to what she knows best—training and leave the rest to a different professional.    

While I question if Jillian’s style of training would be effective for me, most viewers obviously enjoy it as she has a spin-off show that showcases her personal training methods including the yelling and yes, even bringing people to tears—one family at a time.  In the end people don’t seem to mind the torment or anguish they endured to reach their goals, they simply take pleasure in the fact that the goal was reached.  

Bottom line, the Biggest Loser makes for good television.  I would liken the show to a roller coaster with ups, downs, twists, and turns. I, like many others enjoy watching the physical transformations that many wouldn’t believe took place over the course of only four short months.  Perhaps next season the producers of the show will provide a more balanced perspective of the contestants’ nutritional habits in addition to the exercise. Although that maybe wishful thinking. After all, the two go hand in hand. Still, I will eagerly wait for the next season to begin and witness new makeovers and see what new weight-loss records will be broken.       

Do you find the show motivating or unrealistic based on the number of hours contestants spend in the gym?

 

 

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2 comment(s) so far...

Re: The Biggest Loser—Another Season of Transformations

Thank you Jania! I have the same thoughts/concerns over the lack of airtime devoted to the nutritional aspect of the show (which I believe is probably the most improtant aspect of losing weight). Exercising aids in weight loss, but I think the show leads people to believe exercising really, really hard is the key to weight loss. So much goes into gaining and losing weight - nutritional plans, exercise, pyschological issues, genetics, etc - that a truly realistic show would not be as sensationalistic. The sweat and tears produced from the demanding physical tasks is much more marketable for a reality show than watching someone's diet throughout the day or counseling sessions. As a fitness professional, I don't always agree with what goes on in the show, but it is entertaining and I look forward to the next season to witness more transformations!

By Leigh on   Thursday, July 15, 2010

Re: The Biggest Loser—Another Season of Transformations

I agree with you. Dr. Oz , as well, doesn't mention your food guide, but gives his version of dieting , which doesn't even mention the importance of balance in all aspects of nutrition.
I go to a gym at least 3 X a week and I have noticed the really overweight women seem to stop coming after a while. It is not easy. But possibly , no one has also suggested eating properly. Exercise alone won't do it and maybe that is why some of these women never come back to the gym.

By Vi Knebel on   Thursday, July 15, 2010

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