Wednesday, January 25, 2006

'Biggest Loser' Show May Be Creating Unreasonable Weight Loss Expectations

"'The Biggest Loser' continues to help contestants lose weight, but..."

Something has really been bugging me about my absolute favorite show on television these days -- "The Biggest Loser!"

Anyone who reads my blog knows I am a BIG FAN of the show from the time I first wrote about Season One winner Ryan Benson keeping his weight off using a low-carb lifestye, to reading and reviewing the book and DVD, as well as interviewing Bob Harper, and posting the incredible before and after photos of the contestants from both Season One and Season Two.

To say that I am a nut about "The Biggest Loser" is indeed an understatement. The enormous success of that show alone proves there is an audience of millions of hungry overweight and obese people out there pleading for motivation and inspiration to lose weight.

But is "The Biggest Loser" creating unreasonable weight loss expectations?

I often notice that people find my blog in search engine keyword searches regarding "The Biggest Loser" show. One of the most popular and intriguing keywords used are, "How did Matt lose 25 pounds in one week?" Or even the more specific question of, "How many hours of execise per day on Biggest Loser diet?"

Biggest Loser Diet Club – Sign Up Now

As you can imagine, the contestants on this show exercise for MANY HOURS on end trying to win the prizes and lose weight. These are people who probably, like me, NEVER exercised a day in their life before they came to the ranch. Plus, they have the added luxury of having a professional trainer in Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels kicking their a** every single day (as Jillian puts it!) to make sure they stay on track.

Lose Big with Jillian Michaels

Wouldn't we all be successful if we had unlimited time to invest in this as well as the motivation of a professional fitness trainer by our side at all times?

And THAT right there is my concern about what this show is presenting to the average, everyday American out there who needs to lose weight. Is it reasonable to expect someone who works full-time for a living, takes care of his family, is involved in civic organizations, etc. to exercise as much as those people on "The Biggest Loser" do? Can they REALLY do that in their busy lives?

I don't think they can, nor should they expect to make it happen at that level. If I had exercised for 4-6 hours a day during my weight loss, then I probably would have lost nearly 30 pounds in one week like some of these contestants did, too! It's a time management issue and time is simply suspended for the contestants on the show. Real people in the real world are lucky if they can squeeze in 30-45 minutes in a typical day for exercise.

Plus, the other thing that lingers in the back of my mind about the show is the focus on the money reward. While money is indeed a strong incentive for losing weight, why isn't improving your health and extending your life reward enough for getting your weight under control? That's a point my friend Laurie Bell makes in her new book, "Lose the Lies."

We all say to ourselves, "Well, if I had the chance to win that money, I'd motivate myself to lose weight, too." So why not do it anyway, hmmm? Lest I be misunderstood, I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with using an incentive like cash or even prizes like the radio weight loss contest I participated in. But when are we going to learn that improved health is all the motivation we need to lose weight permanently?

Some may say, "Oh, it's EASY for you to say this NOW that you've lost weight, Jimmy." True. It is. But don't forget it hasn't been that long ago that I weighed more than 400 pounds and was digging myself deeper and deeper into an early grave. Praise God for livin' la vida low-carb because it literally saved my life. More than anything, my weight loss was about getting my life back and that's exactly what I did. That's all the incentive I need to keep it off and stay healthy!

Will I keep watching NBC's "The Biggest Loser?" You bet I will because I like the positive reinforcement it gives people about overcoming their weight problems. But I want you to remember that some of the things you see on that show may not be applicable in the real world where you have to make a living and survive. That's when you adapt and apply those principles that made those contestants the successes that they eventually became into useable information for yourself. Weight loss can and will happen for you, too!

Believe in the dream of lasting weight loss and improved overall health and then make it a reality for yourself as soon as possible. This is completely within your grasp and should never be given up on.

Feel free to contact me anytime at for a personal word of encouragement about taking back your life and losing that weight for good.


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Blogger Beth said...

I'm with you re the unreasonable expectations this creates. (As an aside, I was similarly surprised to see Fuhrman promoting his "Eat to Live" diet with the idea that losing "20 pounds in two to three weeks is just the beginning."

Re the money, the one thing I've found very interesting is how many people who don't win are so happy with their weight loss that they stil consider that they "won."

1/26/2006 9:18 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I too am a huge fan of "The Biggest Loser" - in fact, watching the last round (couples edition) was what finally inspired me to get off my you-know-what and start exercising. Sarah, the beautiful bride who won, started off just a few pounds heavier than I am right now, and seeing her transformation was amazing. Even more incredible, she still weighed 220lbs at the end. She looked fabulous!! And even my dear husband said to me,"you know, you've been losing weight pretty well, but think how much faster it could happen with exercise!"

Now of course, I went straight to their website to see just what was going on at the ranch. How excited was I to see that these folks are eating controlled-carb diets! And yes, they work out 3+ hrs a day. So no, I'm not going to get results that fast. But I WILL get results.

I would hope that people watching "Loser" would use some common sense and not have those over-inflated expectations. Hopefully they can use the show as I do, to see what can happen when they work at it.

By the way, as a recipient of many kind and encouraging words from you, I want to say - THANKS!!!

1/26/2006 3:09 PM  

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