I don’t watch much reality television, for many reasons (not the least of which is that we don’t have cable), but one show I could easily get sucked into watching regularly is The Biggest Loser. I’ve seen several isolated episodes scattered across seasons, and when I do watch, I’m guaranteed to cry at least three times during the broadcast. I think my husband may even tear up too, but he’d never admit it. 🙂 With the season 12 premiere on September 20, I’m tempted to tune in this time around. It’s so inspiring to see people make dramatic transformations and accomplish more than they ever thought they could—the weight loss ends up being only part of the package.
“Reality” TV and Weight Loss
And even though their environment is highly regulated (I’m pretty sure just about anyone could lose weight rapidly under those circumstances), I think in general you get a sense of the hard work the contestants put in over the course of the season. It’s not an overnight transformation, or a magic pill, and you respect the finalists that much more because you’ve seen part of their (often emotional) journey.
At the start of season 7, I interviewed a nutritionist about The Biggest Loser for Dr. Andrew Weil’s Self Healing newsletter (read the article here). By and large, I agree with what she said: Don’t expect such dramatic results on your own, and to lose pounds healthfully you should eat wisely, move more, and get support. But what I wish I could have emphasized in the article was that making healthy choices can sometimes be hard, and I think you should take inspiration wherever you can find it. If that’s reality TV, great. Or maybe you prefer fitness magazines, or an employee health incentive program, or signing up for a race. Find what fires you up, and sprinkle your schedule with regular doses of it to keep you on the path to healthful living. What inspires you to make healthy choices?