So with all the hoopla over Rachel Frederickson going from 260 to 105 pounds and winning the $250,000 prize, the wife and I finally sat down to watch this incredibly popular show. It was a first time for both of us, and though I won’t speak for Dot, for my part, I hated it. In far more informed language than I can muster, here’s why:
Now, here on my dumb little author blog, I like to make with the funny. It gives me energy, and if someone smiles after reading something I’ve written, I win the internet for a day. I started this blog mainly as a place for fans of “Kick” to come and read a little more of my writing until I could get the sequel out. But after watching The Biggest Loser, I’m feeling more sad than funny today.
Much like the main character in my book, I have an unhealthy fondness for eating doughnuts, pizza, PB & J sandwiches, and bacon cheeseburgers from Five Guys. For several years now, I’ve had good success (grade C+) at losing the weight and mostly keeping it off due to the incredible research of science writer Gary Taubes in Why We Get Fat. My wife was the one who introduced me to the book, and she’s had even more success.
As of this past weekend, Dot’s lost just over 100 pounds in under two years. Healthy, sustainable weightloss, and she gets an A+++ for that.
In “Why We Get Fat”, Gary Taubes talks about how exercise basically has little to do with weight loss — though yes, of course you burn calories. Calories which, if you add them all up, should contribute to weight loss, but ultimately don’t in the long-term.
Instead, the body:
- slows its metabolism to the point where the exercise doesn’t matter, and you give up hope and stop.
- craves more sleep, and you take more naps and/or sit around more to make up for all the jazzercizing.
- craves more food, and you eventually give-in and chow down (binge eating).
Dot and I watched 2 episodes of The Biggest Loser, back-to-back, of this season’s show. We didn’t see anything about making good food choices. We didn’t see the obvious fact that the contestants had severely restricted their diets. America wants drama, and there’s nothing more dramatic than sweaty fat people on obstacle courses paying for all their gluttony, right? We didn’t see anything about weight maintenance — again, nothing dramatic about eating broccoli and fish. We saw a quickly worded message suggestive of doctors hovering everywhere with their stethoscopes, waiting to swoop in at a moment’s notice. What we needed to see was doctors and nutritionists involved from the beginning, on TV, the way it’s done on the wonderful TV shows “Heavy” and “My 600-lb Life”. In these shows, exercise is a factor, yes, but it takes a backseat to eating right and embracing a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. On those shows, losing the weight is the most important prize of all, and not $250,000.
I’m glad nobody’s offering me $250,000 to lose weight, because I’d stop eating until I won it. And afterward? I’d wipe out every McDonald’s on the Eastern Seaboard…