Weighty Issues : Weighing in on “Reality” Tv

Weight Loss is a billion dollar industry and with the average size being a 14, and the media has capitalized on this by making it acceptable to be overweight and has both glorified it and has made a mockery of those trying to help themselves and objectifying them in time of weakness and vulnerablity. Some may say yes they signed up for this, but the question is why for money or fame, or to be inspiration and with shows like ” The Biggest Loser”, “My 600-lb Life,” “Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition” and Lifetime and TLC’s newest shows “Big Women, Big Love” and ” My Big Fat Fabulous Life” all these emotions and scenarios are evident and have come to light.  Coming from a place where I can identify and have compassion for these individuals because I’ve been there and know what a hard process it can be not only physically but most importantly mentally but I can’t say I have sympathy for all of them.

In regards to shows like ” The Biggest Loser” where it seems like controversy reigns supreme for it’s outrageous methods of training and challenges as well as the controversy on how the weight loss occurs, past contestants Kai Hibbard and Suzanne Medoconda have spoken out against the show stating weigh-ins didn’t occur weekly, fake scales were used, contestants were told not to drink water 24-hours before a weigh-in and worked out for over eight hours a day in a room with no air conditioner. There is also the controversial weight-loss of Rachel Fredrickson the 2014 winner who lost 60% of her body weight weighing a frail 105 a shock to the audience and trainers alike which also brought the show under fire once again. Weight Loss, shouldn’t be a competition and the only person you should be competing with is yourself. It has also come to light that many of these losers have regained more than half their weight and that the ” Biggest Loser” and their methods can’t be sustained because it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle and in order to succeed in weight loss or life the biggest muscle you must train is your mind.  Shows like Extreme Weight Loss Makeover edition, haven’t faired much better but there methods seem a bit more humane and trainers Chris and Heidi Powell more compassionate, although whether it be physical or internal factors many of those contestants have regained the weight, showing that weight loss is a never ending journey to those who struggle with food addiction or emotional eating. In my own experience, those weren’t my issues, mine were due to medical issues that slowed my metabolism and poor food choices with limitted exercise but when I made my mind to change I didn’t look back, I only want to continue to move forward in attaining the body I’ve always wanted. There were times like on these shows like ” My 600-lb Life”, “Big Women,Big Love” and ” My Big Fat Fabulous” life where the victim mentality is widely used and exploited the “Why Me” and I too was in that place but I think there comes a time when you have your “breaking point” where your tired of being tired and upset by your circumstances and realize there’s is nothing you can do to change it unless you set your mind on changing yourself.  Every episode of “Big Women, Big Love” has show titles involving food or shows them constantly eating or choosing the wrong foods, I am not saying they don’t but I think editing has a lot to do with it, and I think the show itself is fat-shaming the women for ratings, because not everyone who is overweight eats a lot, I didn’t even if I chose the wrong food at times. They seem to highlight the women’s most vulnerable or embarassing moments rather than happy ones. Granted, the show just started so hopefully it turns around for the better but I don’t see it being likely.

On the other end of the spectrum, is Whitney Way Thore, the subject of TLC’s ” My Big Fat Fabulous Life”, this is the one show I have the biggest issue with. Thor who used to be a trim 115lbs growing up, steadily began gaining weight in college due to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome,  I can attest to her sentiment that PCOS can make it incredibly difficult to lose weight but not impossible because I have it and to date I have lost 109lbs and have kept it off for over a year and half so it is possible. I also know others who were on weight loss shows like Extreme Makeover Weight Loss edition who struggled with the same issues and kept the weight off as well.  My issue with her and the show is she blames all her weight gain on PCOS and not as much on her lack of exercise and food choices in the episodes, I’ve watched so far she’s eaten pizza and wine, drank beer and eaten banana and mayonaise sandwiches, even though her family tries to help her make healthier choices. Thore who became famous on YOU TUBE for being called “Fat Girl Dancing” has become famous for it, hence the premise of the show, Thor says she loves dancing and wants to use it to help her lose weight for her health because it’s something she’s always done but then she says she’s happy being fat and loves her body. I think that’s contradictory and hypocritical. When dancing doesn’t seem to work, she tries working out with a trainer and seems defeated after the first workout. Thor has done interviews saying she lost 100lbs and then regained it back. I think again, it comes down to mindset and how bad you want to change and what your willing to do to change and weighing what you can accept and what you can’t in Thor’s case I think she’s capitalizing on the fame of her youtube channel to gain fame herself and is using the victim mentality to get viewers to sympathize with her but as much as I wish her success if weight loss is what she wants I can’t agree with her reasoning and sympathize with how she got there. ” What the mind believes, the body can achieve”.


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