Let’s talk “Biggest Loser.”
I used to watch.
From season one.
I even watched Bill and Jillian on Australia’s version.
I was a fan.
I have nearly all of her workout DVDs.
I have several of Bob’s, too.
And quite a few of the “Biggest Loser” ones.
But I’d cry on weigh-in night.
It made me feel horrible about myself. These people were dropping 22 pounds a week. Even when I was trying hard, I wasn’t dropping that in a month.
No matter how “good” I ate.
No matter how hard, long or often I worked out.
So I’d watch season after season and end up so triggered by it I would go on an emotional binge eating rampage nearly every week. And I still kept watching. I was hoping to find inspiration, tips or motivation.
I kept finding nothing but shame instead.
Then I read an interview with season 3 runner-up Kai Hibbard. She’s speaking out about her experience on the show, despite signing ridiculous waivers that she’ll never talk about in her whole life. She says “Biggest Loser” emotionally and physically made her extremely ill. I believe her story.
We all know reality TV isn’t exactly real. It’s silly for us to think “BL” is any different.
Kai explained a week on the show was usually more like two weeks and they were encouraged by the coaches to practice extreme dehydration before every workout. According to her, the contestants were treated very poorly and encouraged to ignore the advice of doctor’s and dietitians in order to achieve bigger losses.
Kai wound up sick and exhausted during the “at home” portion of the contest before the finale. She stopped getting her period, her body was covered in bruises and her hair was falling out.
Her body was shutting down because it had been underfed and overworked for so long.
She says “Biggest Loser” producers basically told her to save her whining for the camera and to get back on the treadmill when she mentioned it to them.
Reading Kai’s story was the smack I needed to stop watching the show.
It’s not healthy for the contestants and it sure wasn’t healthy for me at home.
I spoke to my new pal Vinnie Tortorich earlier this week. He’s a Hollywood trainer who has worked with a long list of celebrity clients. He’s been asked to audition to be a trainer for “Biggest Loser” and other reality weight loss shows, but he’ll have nothing to do with it. Why? Here’s a short list.
- He hates the competition aspect.
- He refuses to promote products that he considers junk.
- He doesn’t want to make “already damaged” people feel worse about themselves.
He says NBC isn’t helping anyone, but are in fact making the problem worse for both the contestants and overweight people watching at home.
In fact, he says the best thing that could happen to someone on the show is to get voted off the first week.
Vinnie wrote “Fitness Confidential,” a book I loved. I learned a lot, was inspired and laughed out loud several times.
I’m going to start following his advice next week. Basically, his lifestyle is all about NSNG (no sugars no grains). I’m going to spend the weekend getting organized and stocking up on the foods he recommends. You can learn all about in his NSNG 101 podcast.
I’ll keep you all posted on my progress!
What did you think of the “Biggest Loser” finale? I didn’t watch, but saw the photos of Rachel Frederickson, 24, dropping to a bony 105 pounds to win the title. Wow. Do you think she looks good?
I think she looks like she needs to rest and eat cheeseburgers for a while.
I was not inspired.
I was saddened.
Not for myself this time, but for Rachel and the other contestants who were under such huge public pressure to drop weight and for everyone watching at home who felt bad because they haven’t been able to do it themselves.