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Why I hate The Biggest Loser

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10/14/2010

Why I hate The Biggest Loser photo

Unrealistic expectations kill more diets than Häagen-Dazs.  People watch the show “The Biggest Loser” (TBL) and want to drop some serious pounds yesterday.  I’m all for jump starting your fitness plan but the show is ridiculous.  Most of the contestants gain either part, or all the weight back.  I’m not saying the show doesn’t change people’s lives, because it does. It does an incredible job educating people and the trainers beat the contestants as if they’re preparing a montage for a new Rocky movie.

As you sit on your couch and watch for two hours as obese contestants drop up to 30 lbs in one week, remember its television.  Dropping 30 lbs in one week is not normal or healthy.  Most nutritionists and weight loss experts will tell you that losing 1-2 lbs per week is the healthiest way to drop weight and keep it off. A few basic reasons that slow and steady wins the race:

• If you lose the weight too quickly, there’s a greater chance you’ll gain it back
• Slow and subtle changes are easier to maintain than drastic changes
• For the most part, your skin can adjust and you’ll have less extra skin

More importantly, who can exercise for 6-8 hours a day? Unless you’re a professional athlete or have no job most of us have maybe an hour a day—and if you have children, even that’s a stretch.  And they have personal trainers, every day! And who has money for that? (If you can afford to have a trainer for several hours a day, please call me and we’ll set up a consult ASAP.)

Another thing that really bothers me—these workouts are incredibly intense, at least what they show on TBL. Going from inactive to Mike “the Situation” type workouts is not healthy.  The chance for injury is extremely high with jumping, kettle bells, and running. I’m not saying you need to do chair aerobics, but first master good form, improve your posture, and then we can kick it up TBL style.

Intense working out is only part of the equation. The other crucial side of weight loss is eating a healthy diet.  On TBL they have chefs cooking up meals for each contestant.  Based on tests and doctors, these people are eating the foods that will help them burn calories and digest food best.

Who does that for you?  I’m my wife’s personal chef, but that’s only good for 2-3 meals a week (and she doesn’t like leftovers).  I don’t have time to make us every meal and no one is about to turn down a business dinner at N9ne for my chicken, broccoli and sweet potatoes.  As healthy as you try to eat, these reality show contestants are probably eating healthier. When they go home, the story changes—they have to start thinking about cooking, spices, fats, oils…

The show would be a lot more realistic if the contestants were not away from home. It’s like the Bachelor—who doesn’t find love on a private Island, but they all come home and suddenly the wedding is off.  Reading this, you might think, wow, Ron watches a lot of reality television, which is partially true. The moral of the article? Set realistic goals, and make small changes that are easy to keep.  Send me your easy healthy tips, here are a few of mine:

• Avoid processed meats
• Drink a glass of water before each meal
• Take the steps/the long way/the farthest parking spot
• Pack healthy snacks with you (an apple and some nuts)
• Pop Chips instead of potato chips
• Have vegetables and protein with each meal
• Eat fruit when you are craving something sweet

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