After watching Good Morning America on May 3, I was pissed.
The topic that got me fired was about this Biggest Loser study and how our bodies biologically fight back to regain the weight we lose. This triggered something in me that simply made me want to scream “I HATE THE MEDIA.”
Before I jumped to conclusions, I decided I’d do a little more research so I looked up an article to read more into the topic. I found one that I skimmed through (yes I admit it), but it basically summarized just about everything I came to understand from the show – that people now have a reason to believe that their efforts of losing weight are sabotaged because our bodies biologically want to regain the weight we lost. What better way then to serve people with an excuse as to why they cannot lose weight?
So again, I jumped to conclusion and wrote a Facebook post about it.
Anyway, I knew I acted out on impulse, so after I calmed down a little bit, I decided to read the article more in depth.
Now let me be clear: I still stand strong with what I said. My lack of sensitivity might make the post seem harsh, but you know what? We need a little rear-kicking sometimes. So for that I do not apologize. However, I want to emphasize on a few points I left out in regards to the post by New York Times that really brought out the mean girl in me.
The Biggest Loser Is a Brain-Washer
I’ve only slight touched on the subject about how social media is brainwashing our society in one of my posts, but I want to clarify on this a bit more because it is so relevant. When we watch TV, we don’t believe that Oprah, Whitney, The View, the Doctors Show, Dr. Oz, or even our good ole’ local news channel is going to give us false information. But just like any magazine, they are TV shows who need to hit a certain number of readers, or in this case viewers, in order to stay on air. Therefore, the information they give out to you is no better than the crazy “Left-foot-here, right-foot-on-bench, tuck-squeeze-extend-etc.” exercises that Women’s Health Magazine come up with every month. (Please, don’t break a rib trying those exercises.)
According to this article from 2015 , Biggest Loser received an average of 6.52 million viewers. Even though the numbers have fluctuated, this is their 17th season – obviously that’s enough people to keep their show going since 2004.
But think about how many people are mindless watching this reality show where no more than 20 contestants who literally dedicate about 3 months of their lives to losing weight. They commit to hours of strenuous training, switch their diets according to doctors who analyse what their diet should look like, and then they have sleep specialists, private chefs, personal trainers, etc. I mean I think we could all lose weight with that much support spoon feeding us what we need, am I right? These contestants literally just put in the work, and see results. And that’s absolutely hard work, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think I could exercise for 8+ hours day…do you?
But that’s just it.
No one can exercise for 8+ hours a day. It’s UNSUSTAINABLE.
But people are brainwashed. They see the results, the see the proof, and they embark on the challenge. This is how we find more of these cardio bunnies at the gym who sit on a treadmill/elliptical/bike for 2 hours every day.
So where does this idea of “gaining back the body weight” come from?
Since we established that these kind of extreme measures are not sustainable, let’s look at the reason why our body “wants to gain back the body weight.”
Contestants on the show are morbidly obese. This is not something that is acquired over night. It takes years for obesity to grow to that level; therefore, it can be expected that it’s going to take years for it to *healthily* come off.
I emphasize healthily in asterisks because anyone can lose weight in a short period of time. You can see the proof in people who lose their appetite when they’re extremely stressed. You can see the proof in that friend who took on a 8 week diet that consisted of nothing but 2 protein shakes a day. And you can see that proof on the show, through the ability of these contestants to lose more than half of their size in 3 months! It is quite possible…but think about what you’re doing to your body in those 8-12 weeks that force it to drop so much weight? You’re practically starving it.
You’re body is a lot smarter than you think…or at least, it’s smarter in the evolutionary sense.
It can be understood that our ancestors, the hunters-and-gatherers of our past, did not have a Walmart, Meijer, or Kroger that they could run up to for some cooked meat, veggies, and fruit. They’re hunters-and-gathers…they had to go out and find it. Sooo, their bodies got hungry more often than not; thus, they sometimes had to suffer from short periods of starvation. What is our body to do other than learn how to hold onto the energy it receives as best as it can when that starvation period comes along again?
We are biologically programmed to gain back the weight because our body feels like it’s being attacked, or rather deprived.
When we send it down this similar path of “starvation mode” (cutting our calories by extreme measures and working out for hours at a time) our body knows what this means: hold onto every last calorie so we can make it through the next starvation period.
This is the idea behind your metabolism slowing, and this is how you gain the weight back.
So What Am I Missing?
The News may be correct about our bodies biologically wanting to gain back the weight, but what they’re not confessing is this: Biggest Loser knew what was bound to happen after the show was over.
In the article you’ll read, “Researchers knew that just about anyone who deliberately loses weight — even if they start at a normal weight or even underweight — will have a slower metabolism when the diet ends.”
Okay, that’s great, but that’s also only one factor. What about…
- …the state of contestants’ mental health? Aren’t they tired? Are they willing to hold up this kind of lifestyle forever? What could be some healthy alternatives they can use at home if they don’t want to live by such strict standards?
- …the knowledge on what’s truly “healthy?” Did contestants learn how they can make healthy foods affordable? Did they learn what ways they can actually cook quick, healthy meals once they returned home?
- …when life gets stressful? Did contestants learn how to deal with hard situations at home that don’t include eating to satisfy one’s negative emotions like anxiety, stress, and anger?
- …workouts? No one has time to complete 8 hour workouts anymore, so what kind of workouts can they do at home that are effective and sustainable? What if people can’t afford a gym membership? How can they keep up their activity levels in the comfort of their own homes, backyards, neighborhoods, or parks?
- …maintenance? Did anyone teach contestants how they can slowly bring back up their metabolisms? Their leptin levels are slim-to-none; therefore, their satiety levels are slim-to-none. Although it may be extremely difficult and possibly time consuming, I don’t think this step is impossible (i.e. bring in the reverse dieting professionals!) After any diet change, maintenance is always the most important factor.
- …the host of other factors that play into living a healthy lifestyle, both mentally and physically?
I understand with age our metabolisms slow down enough as it is. But this is why keeping a healthy diet and physical activity routine is so important.
My greatest point that I want to make is this:
Maybe, instead of giving people a reason to believe they are fat because their bodies want them to be, the News, new articles, and Media should be offering information on how to positively avoid that situation. If people are so interested in the topic, why don’t they touch on the more informative and effective ways of achieving sustainable weight loss?
The Take Away
Well, my friends, you may not like me for this, but truth, and the name of the game is this:
sustainability rules all things.
If you want to be healthy for life, you have to start changing your lifestyle.
AND THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU NEED TO TAKE DRASTIC MEASURES!!!!
^That’s the part that so many people are missing because Media tells us other things that deviates our focus away from this.^
You cannot just wake up one morning and decide you’re going to go from 3-creams-and-2-sugar coffees to straight black coffee. *Spits it out and says I’m never doing this again.*
You can’t just walk out of work one day and say you’re going to start exercising on the elliptical for 2 hours every day. *Until 2 weeks later you’re tired…and then the day after that you’re tired too…and then the day after that you have a meeting that runs late…[Fast forward 2 months later]… “I need to get back in the gym.”*
I mean you can do these things, but will you really be able to keep it up?? Uhhh, the short and quick answer is: no.
[I can tell you right now, I’m learning this the hard way just being on the Whole 30…more of that to come later.]
But my point is this: any type of lifestyle change needs to be taken in steps. Your body needs time to adapt — It needs time to adapt to a new diet, it needs time to adapt to new workout regimen, it needs time to learn how to deal with stress without the satiety of food, it needs time to heal. Everything takes time, and your body takes the most of it.
So be kind to your body. Give it the time it needs. Don’t force it to go through drastic measures. Love yourself, love your progress, and love every single thing you’re body is capable of. Be grateful, be kind, and be patient.
*Bows down and thanks the class for coming*
Lol, that last part had me feeling like a yoga teacher…
What I really meant to say is this:
Don’t be a sissy. Work hard, stay disciplined, and eat PROTEIN. *Schwarzenegger accent*
Again, I’m kidding..