Realities of "The Biggest Loser"

With unlimited resources and time anyone can lose weight and get fit ["Why Fitness Pros Criticize 'The Biggest Loser'," usnews.com].

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With unlimited resources and time, anyone can lose weight and get fit ["Why Fitness Pros Criticize 'The Biggest Loser'," usnews.com]. How many times have you missed a workout or eaten poorly because you can't make time between work, family, and keeping a home? Now imagine if you take work, family, and home out of the picture. That's The Biggest Loser. I find much of the show inspiring and motivating. However, as a fitness professional, I think the show sets up many viewers for failure. The show may be "reality TV," but it isn't real life. The average person doesn't have a trainer, someone preparing healthy meals, state-of-the-art gym, or the pressure of millions of viewers seeing their bare stomach, thighs, and arms on a weekly basis. Here's an idea: someone come up with The Biggest Loser vacation. It could be like adult fat camp. Instead of going on a cruise and piling on pounds, spend that money on a week at the beach with a trainer, fitness classes all day, and low-cal meals.

Comment by Haley Stone of IL

I injured myself because I tried to exercise "hardcore" the way Jillian and Bob push the contestants. I thought that was the way to lose weight because the people on the show do so well with being pushed to their physical limits. But instead of losing the 30 pounds I needed to lose, I tore a tendon in my foot from jogging at my maximum speed on my treadmill while watching The Biggest Loser. I've been in agony for months now, and may have to have surgery on my foot. This show should make it clear that people at home should not push themselves like the contestants are pushed because it is very easy to get injured, especially when you are not used to exercising. I really regret following this show's example for weight loss.

Comment by Lily of GA

I'm not discouraged when my results are so very different from those I see on the show. My situation is much different. My Body Mass Index is no where near 40; I don't have a personal trainer; and I don't have eight weeks to spend away from job focusing on my weight loss. I don't know if I find the show particularly inspiring either. It's neat to watch, but what I found the most inspiring is The Biggest Loser Challenge here at work. I'm competing with my co-workers for a $900 prize. A couple of months ago the winner lost 12 percent of her body weight.

Comment by Erin Howarth of OR

I agree with everything this article points out, especially regarding weight loss goals. Even for people who are relatively fit the show sets unrealistic expectations. That said, I do think the show inspires overweight and even fit people to start, or continue, exercising and that alone is commendable. Sometimes, taking the first step is the hardest.

Comment by Nina Pots of CA

I think the article assumes that The Biggest Loser viewers, especially overweight viewers, are un-educated about realistic weight loss. Of course they know the show is edited. I think it is safe to say that they probably know more about what is successful or unsuccessful regarding their weight loss then the fitness professionals do. I like the comment by the drill sergeant that said the slow and steady approach to weight loss is what keeps personal trainers in business. Really, do you think someone who weighs over 200 pounds is going to get inspiration from a 1-2 pound weight loss when they begin a weight loss program? What I like about this season is they are putting more emphasis on "emotional eating," which in my opinion is what keeps people overweight more often then someone being uneducated about diet and exercise.

Comment by Susan of VT

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