The Biggest Loser: The Most Damaging Show on TV?
When it comes to television shows, there are some that have become so popular they have spawned spin offs and even movies. One such show is “The Biggest Loser.” With its popularity has come controversy over the years. Some say it’s a great way to lose weight; others claim it promotes eating disorders among young women.
The show began airing in 2004 and quickly became one of the most watched programs on television. Since then, it has been renewed for two more seasons.
Each season lasts ten weeks and involves a group of overweight individuals losing weight through various means (the first season featured a team effort). The contestants are divided into four groups: Team Fat, Team Muscle, Team Water & Team Eyes Only. The teams compete against each other for a grand prize of $250,000.
Each week, the contestants must lose weight by any means possible. They may eat whatever they want, but they cannot gain extra pounds during the competition.
If a contestant gains too much weight while participating in the show, she or he loses all their points and is eliminated from the competition.
Of course, this type of competition leads to over-exercising and eating disorders. There have been many reports of contestants developing eating disorders and some even dying from them due to lack of nutrition.
The National Eating Disorders Association released a statement asking that the show be canceled or changed in an attempt to protect those with eating disorders. While there hasn’t been any evidence of link between the show and eating disorders, it is understandable that the show has brought more attention to the problem.
Another controversy of the show is that some of the weight lost is regained after the competition. Many have stated that it’s not healthy to lose weight too quickly followed by regaining it.
However, many contestants have denied this and claim that they eat more balanced and active lives after the show.
I think the show is great for a number of reasons. I agree that it can cause eating disorders in young children, but I don’t think it’s fair to blame the show.
There are probably a number of reasons that cause eating disorders. The show doesn’t claim that it’s a way to lose weight and it clearly states on the website that one should see a physician before participating in any of the activities. Also, it could actually be motivational. Just because some of the weight is regained doesn’t mean that it was all for naught. Even if someone only loses ten pounds, that’s still ten pounds less than they had before. That’s motivation enough to continue doing what you’re doing and try to maintain that weight loss.
I think the show is a great way to get people active and introduce them to new hobbies or activities. With all the technology people have nowadays, it’s easy to stay inside and eat junk food.
People need to get out more, and this show is a good way to do that. I would argue that the show could actually help prevent eating disorders because there is so much emphasis on healthy eating and exercise.
Despite the controversy the show has faced several years, it continues to air every year and has even created spinoffs.
So, what are your thoughts on the show? Have you watched it or do you plan to, and why?
Jake Mallory, 15
The Biggest Loser is a controversial topic among today’s youth. One the one hand, it shows people how to maintain a healthy lifestyle by exercising and eating properly.
On the other hand, some people claim that the show promotes eating disorders because many of the contestants develop them. I fall into the latter category.
I started watching the show when I was in first grade because my older brother watched it. I remember at first being really impressed by the transformations that the people went through.
Watching them lose all that weight in a healthy way was very inspiring to me because I was always a little overweight. By the time I got to middle school, I had developed a mild case of obesity.
Most of my friends were the same way and we never really thought much about it. We just figured we’d grow out of it when we were older.
During middle school, I remember gym class being especially hard for me because we would always play basketball or something similar. All the other guys were a lot better at it than I was and it only made my self-esteem worse when they teased me about it.
One day after school, my brother said he was going to go watch The Biggest Loser and asked if I wanted to go with him. I said sure and helped him set up the TV in the middle of a park near our house.
We sat on some lawn chairs drinking soda for the next five hours. The show was just ending when a group of people walked by. One of them, a teenage girl about my age started making fun of me for watching The Biggest Loser. I told her to leave me alone and that it was none of her business. She kept on anyway.
“Hey Fatty,” she said. “
Why don’t you use that mouth of yours for something more useful, like losing weight?”
I felt myself starting to blush and got up from the lawn chair to shout at her.
“Leave me alone, I’ll sit here if I want to!”
My brother jumped up, pushing me back down into the lawn chair as he stood between me and the group of people.
“Leave him alone,” he said. “Just because you’re insecure about your looks doesn’t mean you have to be mean to others.”
The group of people scoffed at him and muttered rude things under their breath as they walked away. My brother sat back down next to me and turned his attention back to the TV as if nothing happened.
I appreciated what he did for me, but I was still mad. I felt like he should have stood up for me to those people, not push me down and tell them to leave me alone.
It wasn’t fair.
I waited until the next commercial and left. I walked home as fast as I could because I didn’t want to be late.
When I arrived at my house, I went straight to my room and started watching TV. About an hour later, my brother came into my room and asked if we could talk. I told him I was busy and turned up the TV. He turned it down again and repeated himself. Reluctantly, I agreed to talk with him.
Turns out, he was in asimilar situation as me in that he was overweight as a child as well. He told me that growing up was hard enough for him without the name-calling as well.
He said he didn’t want me to have to go through that too.
He said he knew I was upset with him for not standing up for me, but that he had his own battles to fight and that I needed to learn how to fight mine. He also said he understood how I felt and that sometimes people can just push you too far.
He said, it’s up to you to determine how far is too far, but until then he would always have my back.
I thought about what he said for a long time after that. I thought about how I was different from everyone else and how it made me feel.
Eventually, I accepted it and decided to join the wrestling team to do something about it. I lost a bunch of weight and became more popular in school.
Even though he was still out of town most of the time for work, I managed to tell him my thoughts on the situation when he called every now and then. He was glad to hear I finally realized the importance of standing up for myself.
Even though he couldn’t be there for me all the time, I knew he always had my back.
I miss that guy.
Is something wrong?”
You turn around to see a nurse looking at you as you sit slumped in one of the waiting room chairs. A few other people are also looking at you, curious as to what’s going on. You realize you must have zoned out for a moment and say nothing’s wrong. She nods and returns to her work.
Returning to your phone, you decide to call Brenda again. Once again it goes straight to voicemail.
Though you’re starting to get used to the sound of her voicemail, this time you feel a strong sense of urgency as you leave another message.
“Brenda, call me back right away. Something’s happened.”
On your way home, you try to recount the events inside the house to Officer Carrillo but can’t remember much past entering the house. You remember going downstairs and opening a door but nothing else.
You weren’t gone for very long which seems impossible based on the state of the kitchen.
As you pull into your driveway, you notice Brenda’s car parked in front of the garage. You’re happy to see she’s returned home but annoyed that she didn’t at least call you back.
After turning off your ignition, you head up to the front door and unlock it.
“Brenda, I’m home.” You shout as you enter.
No response. You head to the kitchen in hopes of finding her.
The destruction that greeted you earlier is much worse upon a second view. The foul smell is stronger here and your eyes begin to water.
You cover your mouth and look around but still don’t see Brenda.
You hear a sound coming from the backyard and head towards the back door. As you reach for the doorknob, a large brownish-yellow mass catches your eye.
Sources & references used in this article:
The Biggest Loser: The Most Damaging Show on TV? by K Cann – breakingmuscle.com
“Cheapening the struggle:” Obese people’s attitudes towards The Biggest Loser by S Thomas, J Hyde, P Komesaroff – Obesity Management, 2007 – liebertpub.com
Self-making as public spectacle: bodies, bodily training and reality TV by BJ Hadley – Scope: An Online Journal of Film Studies, 2012 – eprints.qut.edu.au
The Biggest Loser by JO Hill – 2007 – dro.deakin.edu.au
After the after: The Biggest Loser and post-makeover narrative trajectories in digital media by M Hoover, SR Colberg – 2008 – Simon and Schuster
” America, Let’s Get Real” about Stigmatization–An Analysis of the Opening Sequence of The Biggest Loser by M Hass – Fat Studies, 2017 – Taylor & Francis
“Unless you puke, faint, or die, keep going!” Exploring weight stigma in the gym on The Biggest Loser by A Mayer, JM Mayer – Journal of Managerial Issues, 2019 – search.proquest.com
Weighing in on NBC’s” The Biggest Loser”: surveillance medicine, self-concept, and gender on the scale by C Greenleaf, L Klos, C Hauff, A Hennum… – Fat …, 2019 – Taylor & Francis
Who is the biggest loser? Fat news coverage is a barrier to healthy lifestyle promotion by RT Readdy – 2009 – ir.library.oregonstate.edu