The television show that helps people change their lives and better themselves is back. That’s a pretty vague description, I know – it could be used for virtually any reality show out there. Would it narrow it down if I said it’s the one that pushes contestants to their absolute limits to help them lose weight? Now you know what I’m talking about; The Biggest Loser is back on Australian televisions with families competing to lose the most weight and gain that big cash prize.
I’ve always been skeptical about The Biggest Loser. It dramatically changes lives through gruelling exercise and an intense diet to lose the weight that has been impacting on their health and quality of life, but is it really done in the right way?
Yes, it’s amazing to see the transformations and to see what these people can become, but it doesn’t exactly promote sustained weight loss with contestants shedding large amounts of weight per week – much more than the recommended 0.5-1kg for healthy weight loss.
The Biggest Loser in America was slammed by former contestants recently, saying that the way they were treated was dreadful and that the show caused them health problems. Long, intense workouts, baby food diets and constant fat-shaming from trainers caused their mental health levels to drop.
Former contestants also allege that many others that have been on the show have gained back the weight they lost during the season. While this is not a surprise, it backs up the point that the show’s way of weight loss is unsustainable, and is merely for entertainment and shock value.
So, what do we really need to think about when we watch The Biggest Loser this season? We need to evaluate whether it’s worth watching overweight contestants sweat out all of their fluids for days on end to gain a money prize. We need to evaluate what their health is worth. And we need to evaluate what our health is worth and how we see ourselves.
If there’s anything that we can get out of The Biggest Loser, it should be that we need to take action now. If the kilograms are starting to creep on, it’s best to sustainably get yourself back to a better quality of life, with a healthy diet and safe exercise. We have health professionals who are willing to help and the best cure is actually prevention.
Image via illawarramercury.com.au