The biggest loser is one of the biggest shows in television. If you are unfamiliar with the show, it takes obese contestants, puts them through a vigorous boot camp to lose weight, and whoever loses the most body weight percentage wins the $250,000. Getting people healthy is a great thing, but is the show setting unrealistic expectations to the general unhealthy population, or is it a means to change the lives of people watching the show?

I am always amazed at the questions I get when it comes out that I am in the health, wellness, fitness world. People always seem to want some sort of justifications on the random things they are doing in a poor attempt to get healthy.

“What do you think about diet XYZ?”

“Have you ever heard of BLAH?”

And one of my all time favorites –

“What do you think of the shake weight?”

I know what people are doing – they want to hear the words “OMG – that is the greatest thing since slice bread! If you do that, you will lose tons of weight and become incredibly healthy OVERNIGHT! And never have to work out or eat healthy ever again!”

Sadly, I give them the truth and usually follow-up a majority of the questions with “You are wasting your time. Get off your ass, go get some exercise, eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” There just is no magic pill, but there are marketing executives that prey on the laziness of the vast majority of the world. Enter the biggest loser.

My Biggest Loser Review

imagesI am actually not 100% opposed to the biggest loser. I know some trainers that are highly against what that shows stands for. I am not a total fan as there are some things that are setting unrealistic expectations for the majority of the populations. Here is my good, bad and ugly on the biggest loser.

The Good:

The Biggest Loser promotes healthy living. Yes, it doesn’t promote in really an unhealthy way, but when you think about all the crap that is on TV, the overall message of the biggest loser is that losing weight and getting healthy is possible with a little lifestyle change. So if you look at the overall message compared to other crap on the television, the Biggest Loser isn’t that bad of a show.

The Biggest Loser also has some great tips and educational advice for the everyday quest to get healthy. A lot of the tips are promotions for products, but nonetheless, they are items that can be taken and applied to everyday life.

The Bad:

Yes, that was all the good I think becomes of the Biggest Loser. Sadly, it isn’t real life. It is a TV show. And the job of a TV show is NOT to get America Healthy, it is to increase ratings to make more money for the network. Does the Biggest Loser changes a few lives in the process? YES. But at what cost to you? Have you had your life changed because of the biggest loser? My guess would be probably not. You sit mindlessly watching the show, wanting to be on the show so you can shed 50% of your body weight in 12 weeks and become rich and famous as a star of the biggest loser. Ya – not going to happen. But that hope is the reason you keep watching it. And while you keep watching it, the network is laughing all the way to the bank.

Also – the Biggest Loser is brand. They have their own products, their own diet books and more. Again – they want you to go out and buy it because if the biggest loser winner is using it and it worked for them, it should work for me, right? Let’s see how well that works out for you.

The Ugly:

biggest_loserThose aren’t even the worst of it. The worst part of the Biggest Loser is the false expectations they are setting up. Losing 10-25 lbs a week is not only nearly impossible, but is quite unsafe, especially if you have more weight and aren’t cleared for exercise.

What people don’t realize is that the contestants are pre-screened to ensure that they can compete. I would love to know how many people have been turned down because they were too big or too unhealthy. Why? Because they are a liability. They won’t be able to compete up to the standards of the show, and that isn’t exciting to watch.

Also – for those contestants that do get selected, they are doing and ungodly amount of cardio each day, having their food prepared and monitored by registered dietician, and get all the medical help and advice they can possible get, simply because that is how they can produce those types of results. That isn’t possible for you and me. We work. We have kids. We have families. It isn’t feasible for most to pay for someone to cook healthy meals every single day to ensure we are maximizing our intake. We can’t afford a trainer to work out with us 6 hours (or more) every single day and customize a program in a way that doesn’t deplete all the nutrition that dietician is putting into our body.

If the Biggest Loser adjusted the show to go into the homes of average, everyday Americans, helped them set up a workout program for 30-45 minutes a day, that they can do on their time, set up a nutritional plan that they can execute based on their income and their free time, and successfully helped people lose a steady 1-2 lbs a week for 2 years to get them down to a healthy weight, that would completely change my view on it. But that isn’t good TV. That won’t make the producers Lamborghini payment. If someone on the show loses 2 lbs, it is a SHOCKER week.

Take Away Point: Don’t let the face value of the show skew your own personal journey. The Biggest Loser isn’t real life. It is a TV show. You are in real life. Go out and live. My advice would be stop watching that show, and take that hour every single week to go for a walk or get some sort of physical activity in. I can guarantee you that you will get more out of that hour in a gym, or getting a walk in that sitting on the couch watching the show.

To Your Health –

Z