I have a confession to make.
I love reality TV.
Like, I “love it” love it. Like, “I want to take it out back the Walmart and get it pregnant” kinda love.
However, I do have have two “not loves”.
Alright, I have two.
1.) Weight loss television. Though I do watch it.
2.) The Kardashians and anything that has anything to do with the Jersey shore.
I guess that’s three.
I’d like to start by saying this about The Biggest Loser.
Fuck The Biggest Loser.
Fuck it right in it’s stupid, exploitative, embarrassing, cruel, and manipulative face.
Fuck Bob and Jillian and that missus that used to be on Days of Our Lives — and whatever sideshow grifters they’ve got on that show currently.
They may as well be Dr. Oz in a spandex onesie as far as I’m concerned. That’s how much integrity they have in my eyes.
Ever notice how when the contestants fall they shake the cameras as if to say “Dumbo’s fat ass just shook heaven and earth, isn’t that hilarious?”
Ever notice how in certain challenges they use food as a punishment? As in if you’re a former fast food addict that’s trying to piece their life together live on international TV, they will make you consume that one thing you’re trying to get away from. It’s like forcing a cocaine addict to do a rail. Is this acceptable behaviour for a broadcaster touting the altruism and good vibes associated with this show?
What about when contestants are weighed on these fucking GIGANTIC scales? “Hey, we’ve hoisted another one up here Bob, what do we do now? Should we make them take of their shirt and stand there half naked in front of millions of people? Fuck yes, we should! That’s a great idea.”
And your little heart-to-heart’s on green grassy hills outside the gym where you and Bob (or whomever) sit down and talk about your shit life. And Bob does his level best to make you bawl on camera, cause that’s some good compelling TV right there, isn’t it?
Recently The New York Times released an article that had former contestants alleging that producers and trainers were making them take drugs in order to lose weight. But, that’s cool though right?
Or what about when the people at home see these people go through these amazing transformations, and they try and they wonder what the fuck is wrong with them because they’re not shedding 13 pounds a week? Does they matter?
And here’s why.
Who cares? That’s why.
As long as there’s overweight people in the world there’s going to be people trying to exploit them, or take advantage of them with these fast and loose ideas of what getting healthy is all about.
From the awkward lean meat commercials where the contestants are forced to not only eat, but also sell food that looks like it’s not fit for human consumption.
Fuck, they even pimped Subway for the first “god knows how many” seasons.
I’m pretty sure that bread is one chemical compound away from being a tube of rubber.
But hey, who doesn’t love rubber?
They send out all of this misleading and false messaging. They never show what it’s actually like to combat a food addiction, or staring down the barrel of a two hundred pound weight loss in any kind of meaningful, respectable, or truthful way.
I mean as contestants are eliminated they’re forced to walk through a gauntlet of fucking cake. Who does that? Like, who in the everlasting fuck does that?!
Instead of telling the truth, they just send a bunch of fat people out to the desert and make them run around until they can’t anymore.
Meanwhile, there are people at home who are sitting back and watching all of this unfold thinking to themselves, “why am I not losing all that weight? What am I doing wrong?”
Do you know what it’s like to fail on a diet? Or a lifestyle change?
“Disheartening” doesn’t even begin to describe it.
For most of us, one slip can lead to scrapping the whole plan.
Nobody ever tells you that you’re going to fail. Everyone automatically assumes that you’re going to move forward now without any issues at all.
Because, you know, THAT’S fucking rational.
Truth is, there are failures all the time.
Just this past month I screwed up, it may have been the worst blunder I’ve had thus far. I was going through a boatload of stress, that coupled with being really busy — I let things slip.
I ate some shit I’m not proud about and lessened my exercise regime at The Energy Company. Which was a mistake.
But you tend to wallow in that crap sometimes. It can play on you. Eat you alive at times. Make you feel weak.
The hardest part of slipping up is standing again.
Because, you know. You know you fucked up. And you know that you have to do something about it. But you’re stuck in between two lifestyles — one that’s unhealthy and gluttonous, but familiar. And one that you know makes you feel like a million bucks, but you’re still wobbly with it from time to time.
Making that pendulum swing back into the health-conscious mind frame is hard. And if you’ve never experienced it, then there’s no way for me to properly explain it to you. It’s just that, if you’re over in the familiar land of camp shitshow and you need to get back to camp healthy again — the strength needed to swing back over there seems completely exhausting and larger than life.
It just takes practice. Practice that comes from what?
Yup. You got it.
Because, in weight loss (or anything for that matter) learning to fail and recover is not only more important, but much more attainable than learning to be perfect. And, it’s what life is all about — screwing up, and then unscrewing and learning from it.
Perfection is a fool’s errand.
For me, I’ve been doing this a while. And, could I have lost weight faster? Definitely. Would I have learned as much about myself and the reasons for the weight gain, and why I falter under immense stress? Definitely not.
My trainer Mike O’Neil has welcomed me back with open arms and is taking it easy on me.
Shows like The Biggest Loser, and anything to do with six hundred pound people or whatever, are not helpful.
They are shaming overweight people.
And I want to make this point abundantly clear:
As somebody who writes a blog about matters dealing with weight and mental health it is my position that people who or may not be struggling with either or both deserve the utmost respect. Not every overweight person wants to be skinny, and that’s fucking awesome. Everyone deserves to be what they want to be and not to be held under a fucking microscope or be judged because of it. New research (and common sense) tells us that just because you’re overweight doesn’t mean you’re healthy, just as being skinny isn’t an indicator of perfect health.
As the band The Avett Brothers once wrote “decide what to be and go be it”.
I’ve done a bit of that myself this month. I’ve decided to take a job in Halifax, Nova Scotia in July and thereby start a new chapter in my life. I don’t know many folks there, but I’m excited to spend time stumbling down their harbour front and trolling the farmer’s markets.
As for Mike and The Energy Company, I plan to train every day from this moment onward until I leave.
Operation: Kick My Own Ass begins today.
And, oh yeah before I go — once more for old time’s sake, say it with me —Fuck The Biggest Loser.
Yeah. That felt awesome.