Whether you watch the Biggest Loser or not, it’s hard to ignore the comments people have regarding the show. When I listen to individuals voice their feelings, most of the time their concerns are for the contestants and how hard they are pushed and if their bodies can handle it from a medical prospective. Many of my clients have asked me how I feel about the show. After reading articles in my trade magazines and watching interviews on the various networks, I have taken a good look at what the show is trying to express. Aside from the obvious, obese individuals trying to lose weight, let’s look at it this way. First, I am sure the network is doing all they can do to protect themselves from a lawsuit. Second, if these individuals can work that hard and have very dramatic positive results, what are the rest of us doing? The real concern should be for you.
Another comment I often hear is, “how can the trainers on the show be so cruel and have so little compassion for the contestants.” I feel the opposite is true. Although I do not use their approach, you have to realize that some of it is for drama. The other part is because the trainers want the contestants to succeed. They want these individuals to be healthy, which starts with a favorable weight and % of body fat. The trainers are only with these individuals for a short period of time, so they have to make the greatest impact in order to make positive life changes. For those of us who do not have a tremendous amount of weight to lose, it is hard for us to understand the psychological aspect. Recently, I passed a well known fast food burger place in my area which is typically 10 deep with people of all shapes and sizes waiting patiently for their orders. This particular evening, I saw an overweight woman sitting in her car eating food. Many thoughts went through my head. Maybe she has no one to go home to tonight. Maybe she is trying to hide her eating habits from her family. Maybe if she eats before she gets home she doesn’t have to face what she did. Maybe it doesn’t count. All of these scenarios are sad. My point is that she can not deal with the issue at hand.
Remember, the contestants on the show have made the choice to be there and have reached out for help. I know people say many of the individuals gain back the weight they lost during the show, but at least they tried and worked hard in doing so. Maybe having gone through this experience, whether they maintain the weight loss or not, has shown them how strong they really are and gave them the strength to move on and be successful down the road. You have to realize our bodies are capable of a lot more than we give ourselves credit. Most of us only push to the point of slight discomfort. If you consider how people lived years ago, although people did not engage in a formal exercise program, their days were filled with many physical activities and chores. If medicine was as advanced as it is today, people would have lived past 100 years of age.
There are areas around the world called blue zones where the majority of the people in these areas live over 100 years old. The common thread between all of these areas is that their day is very physical. Spirituality and nutrition also contribute to their longevity.
I feel we all need to take a good look at how we live our lives and realize there is always room for improvement. I know that I have done this and I have to say, I am in far better shape now than when I was younger and I have always been a very physical person. Because of this, I try to instill my beliefs in my clients and hope that they too will adopt a more physical lifestyle. I teach a pool class on Saturday morning to a group I call my cocoons. This group has such zest for life and fitness plays a big part in their lives. They range in age between mid to late 70’s to mid to late 80’s and they love when I work them hard! Although the clock is ticking for this group they can run circles around some 20 year olds.
In closing, I want you to take a good look at what you are doing and ask yourself if you could be doing more. Of course, you should consult with your physician before starting any exercise program to ensure the safety of your health. All of us can afford to do a little more, whether we have weight to lose or are just looking for a better quality of life. I promise you, subtle changes can equal major improvements in your well-being. Make a difference today & STAY HEALTHY!