A little controversy surrounds the recent winner of the American fitness and weight loss TV show ‘The Biggest Loser’.
I have to hold my hands up and say that I haven’t watched the series…I have just been reading about the fallout today.
A beautiful women, Rachel Frederickson, had reached 18st 8lbs (260lbs) at the age of 23. She was so embarrassed about her size that she wouldn’t even let her own family see her. As a competitive high school swimmer with a number of championship wins, she gave up a full collage scholarship in order to follow her boyfriend to Europe…and yes, you’ve guessed it – the relationship ended, she returned home, and comfort ate her way to over 100lbs worth of weight gain.
She swiped the $250,000 first prize after losing 11st 1lb (155lbs) on the show.
Now for the kicker…she weighed in at 7st 7lbs at the finale! The reason for the sad face is that this is such a low weight. The Slimming World BMI chart for example has this weight as borderline healthy/unhealthy for someone of just 5ft…any shorter than 5ft and you are classified as underweight. Rachel had lost nearly 60% of her body weight and was described as ‘incredibly slender’…and is 5ft 4…underweight, not incredibly slender! I know that being overweight isn’t good either…but going from one extreme to the other is sad to see.
There is always a huge debate about The Biggest Loser. It’s a Marmite show…I love Marmite, and I have to admit that I used to love The Biggest Loser. I am well aware that there are lots of people out there who feel that it is extreme and unhealthy. I have read a detailed account of one contestant and her experiences…and it makes for very shocking reading. For me, I always adored the majority of the transformations that I saw a number of people going through. People at rock-bottom who did not believe in themselves…but when they cracked those challenges, their confidence grew. I guess I just loved the idea of a fairy tale…but portrayed truth and reality are often at odds.
Maybe I am a sadist, but I can still think of nothing better than a session in the gym with either Bob or Jillian…okay, okay – Hotel Chocolat and a bubble bath would be good! However, these guys push people to their physical limits, and well past the mental limits that they had set for themselves. They show people just how much they are capable of…and they separate those who are willing to work for it, from those who aren’t. If you want to achieve then you have to go to ‘that’ place and give it your all.
The show highlighted for me what determination and hard work can do – when you really focus on it, and I saw this as a good thing. Watching it when I was in a ‘bad’ place gave me hope…even though I always weighed far more than the contestants! Pushing people beyond mental limits is one thing – showing them that they are capable of more than they think. Pushing them beyond physical limits is another thing altogether though – take a look at that detailed account I mentioned earlier. It’s pretty shocking that professional advice is ignored for the sake of TV production purposes.
There are the obvious flaws with a show like this. The issues that people have with food are never easy to solve. We watch the show and see people on painful and personal journey’s. More often than not, they come out of the show stronger, fitter and healthier – both physically and mentally.
Occasionally though, this does not happen – and we witness greed, obsession and single-mindedness with an eye on the prize and not the transformation. First of all there is the prize money. It’s a competition with $250,000 on offer…what would you do for that amount of money? Previous contestants have slimmed right down, past the point of health – although none quite as dramatic as Rachel – and then gained a little after the show. Some have regained all of their lost weight!
Having seen the pictures of Rachel, which I will share with you in a second, I feel that there should be some sort of BMI cut off point…something that catches people who go too far…or better still, before they go too far! Having seen the pictures of Rachel, I am concerned for impressionable people watching…and even more concerned following some of the positive comments her new – very underweight – figure has received.
There is a huge amount of support for people on the show. They have a team of specialists and professionals to help them make the changes they need to…if that help and advice is implemented, or allowed to be implemented. Then the contestants go home. Apparently Rachel went home and lost a further 50lbs. She is at least 1st underweight. I guess the support also fails you when you get home. And this is the big issue I have with many weight loss shows – in fact, I have a lot of issues with shows like this – but for the most part, I think shows abdicate responsibility once the cameras stop rolling…who is left to pick up the pieces?
Anyway, I will finish by saying that I still secretly sort of love The Biggest Loser, even though I shouldn’t, and do watch it occasionally…as a weighty lady with fairy tale wishes, it just compels me to watch. I have never been tempted to apply for any of these shows though. I guess that I am just about rational enough to recognise the flaws, even though the TV bods try and stop us noticing these bits!
So here are the pictures. This is Rachel at her finale weigh in…This is her ‘before’ and ‘after’…And – most telling and revealing – this is the shock upon the faces of the trainers and fellow contestants when she is revealed…maybe they think she has gone too far?!Whatever your feelings about these shows, extremes of any kind aren’t good…and giving a $250,000 ‘reward’ for this is definitely not good.
Today has been great. We managed to see the horses and get our shopping done before the bad weather rolled in. We then headed to the gym and I completed my 90 minute session there. It was then off for our private Pilates session…which was fabulous – I really am a convert after only two sessions! Stupidly though, I had not packed a post workout snack and almost fainted at one point. I grabbed a drink of water and sat down for a few minutes before getting back to it – with a note to myself to be sensible in future! I really enjoyed the session. I realised that I could do most of the moves and was pretty flexible. I seemed to be able to find the right position and think that my childhood of riding lessons and correct posture has been of more benefit than just giving me an expensive set of horse shaped lawn mowers! The instructor is just fabulous and identified alternative movements for me if my knees give me problems…ultimately my aim is get my knees stronger so that they can cope – but with my weight this may be a while yet. It just goes to show that there is always a way around things though…and not to let issues like this stop you from having a go. Mr WLB enjoyed himself too. He was surprised at how much concentration is involved, yet said that he felt really relaxed afterwards – which is great to hear.
Breakfast: Banana porridge (5 syns).Lunch: Sardine and veggie melt (HEA and 2 x HEB).Dinner: Chicken chow mein (3 syns).Snacks: Mini Green & Blacks bar (4 syns).A gorgeous food day. My usual porridge for brekkie, followed by my famous sardine melt for lunch. Sardines in tomato sauce mixed with chopped red onion, black pepper and a couple of dashes of Worcester sauce, on top of a bed of spinach which sits on my toasted HEB rolls…all topped with cheese and accompanied by cherry tomatoes. Dinner was lovely! A sachet of the Blue Dragon chow mein sauce (6 syns for the whole sachet…shared between Mr WLB and I) with chicken, mushrooms, onions, pak choi, peppers, bean sprouts, and some celery – with egg noodles. And a solitary mini chocolate bar!
Exercise: 5 minutes treadmill, 55 minutes weights, 30 minutes elliptical machine, and 60 minutes Pilates.
Thank you for reading,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx