Thursday, 28 March 2013

Defending the Biggest Loser Approach

There has been a lot of flack across the social media with the latest season of The Biggest Loser-Australia.
Tweets and posts on Facebook about torturing kids for ratings. People saying that the contestants must sign a clause to be dehumanised on TV. Comments about The Biggest Loser becoming a freak show when they bring out the bigger contestants, and that watching fat people on TV is not entertaining. I'm sure with every season comes a new barrage of haters.

The Biggest Loser is currently being show by Channel Ten in Australia, and you should check this preview out here if you are not sure what I am talking about.

I am standing up for their approach,
While watching this season, as well as previous ones, I have seen the trainers push the contestants to reach their potential. They are not degrading the contestants and name-calling. They are truthful in what it takes to get results. They are truthful and honest about how the contestants came to be in their current situation. They know all of the excuses and whinges to slow down or give up, and hear it all of the time. They are not there to pretend, or give these people a break; that is not their job. They are not there to make friends. 
They are there to share their expertise, get results and be professional in their role as a trainer.

These contestants put their hand up for the show because they knew they needed help.

The selectors chose these particular contestants because they were prime candidates to improve their lives.

Just as putting on weight does not happen overnight, the process of losing yourself, your self-worth and confidence is a gradual process.

The facade that a person will put up to say they are happy with life or that they accept that this is the way life is for them, is never their ideal situation or their lifetime dream.

The family and friends of these people may tell them from time to time that they need to get off their bum, that they need to eat better or look after themselves, but mostly, they bite their tongue, or the arguments turn into disapproving looks over time. 

When people approach a personal trainer or go to the extreme of applying for a national TV weight loss show, they are asking for help. 
They need help with their eating schedule and choices. 
They need help with food portions and selection.
They need help keeping motivated. 
They need help with their mindset, confidence and self-worth. 
They need help with exercise routines, techniques and equipment use.
They need help to see that their decisions and the way they choose to live affects a wide range of people.
They need help seeing the truth behind the consequences of poor eating habits, loss self esteem and inactivity. 
They need to know there are options.
They need to know they are capable, to do more than they think, to achieve their dreams.
They need to be told what to do, a push to keep going, and the encouraging words.
They need goals to aim for and rewards.
Many are asking for help in one of these areas; but many need help in all of these areas.
2013 The Biggest Loser, Australia Trainers Shannon, Michelle and The Commando

If the task was easy, there would be no contestants, no trainers, and certainly no show.

This year, there is the added challenge of dealing with family issues between the contestants being the child and their parent.

The fact is, obesity is an epidemic. Obesity causes multitudes of health problems. Obesity has detrimental effects on the person and those around them.

There is no doubt that the creators of The Biggest Loser are making money and getting ratings over this show. Whether that is the driving factor behind the show, or why it has survived many seasons; I really, truly don't care.

I do care that this program gives opportunity to people who need it, whether it be the contestants who appear on the screen, or whether it is the people at home who are being inspired by the efforts, motivated by the words, and grossed out by the hard truths.