Let me first state that I almost never speak ill of any health and fitness efforts. I’m a huge believer that we need to have as many options for people as possible because different people connect with different things.
So all of that being said, I have some issues with the Biggest Loser that I want to share because people need to understand the reality of that show and why it’s not really “reality.”
So my points in no certain order:
Anyone who goes to a camp and gets their food cooked for them and has a personal trainer at their disposal most days will achieve wildly successful results in a short amount of time. It’s almost impossible not to. Here’s the reality: there are very few people who can afford to have every meal cooked for them and have a personal trainer every day to kick their butt. So don’t get a personal trainer for 2 times a week and eat like crap and expect awesomely amazing results in a month. It’s impossible! Long-term success and a true life change takes time. It takes creating new habits. It’s takes learning how to make those small decisions daily to create big changes.
People that make it on The Biggest Loser are 100 to 300 pounds overweight. They have significant weight to lose. So it’s very common for them to lose more than 50 pounds very quickly. Most of this weight is water and waste. So don’t come to us and want to lose 20 pounds in a month. It becomes increasing difficult to lose weight with only 5 to 20 pounds to lose. Your body wants to hold onto that last bit of fat to protect itself . . . and it won’t give it up without a fight. Make sure you and your trainer understand what realistic goals are and how to achieve them.
Not all trainers are jerks. It’s common to find clients belittled, hurt, and yelled at on that show. Not everyone responds to that kind of coaching and it’s important that your coach understands that. We ask all clients what kind of coaching they prefer. If your coach doesn’t t ask, you have a bad coach. Each person responds and grows differently; make sure your coach understands that and is sensitive to that.
Not everything they do on that show is safe. If you are 100 pounds overweight, I would never recommend you complete a marathon. You are putting your body at a high risk for injury. I would never discourage someone from running, yoga, Pilates, crossfit, or any other kind of sport if I felt like his/her body was in a healthy enough position to not be injured from it. But sometimes there needs to be a little prep work before attempting something. I’m a healthy weight, very active, and have completed a few marathons and I still would never just jump in the race unless I have had plenty of time to prepare. I would be shooting myself in the foot before I ever started and putting myself at risk.
I would drag myself around insanely difficult obstacles and eat prepared food if I was going to win a bunch of money too. See that’s the problem though . . . we don’t have $10,000 sitting at the end of our goals. We have us and that’s it. That’s why it’s so important to understand why you are doing what you are doing and building a solid support system around yourself, including a trainer that can help you along the journey. It’s gonna get tough, and when you don’t have a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, it can be easy to toss in the towel . . . but don’t!
Now I’m sure I’m going to hear it about this blog but I’m OK with that. I still think the show is still insanely inspiring. I think it’s incredible to see people change their lives. I also think it has spurred people on to making their own changes, and I am sure it will continue to do so. Just be careful you don’t get caught in the trap that the show is reality.
Real change takes time, work, and a lot of little steps. But it’s lasting, inspiring, and empowering!
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