By now we’ve all seen or at least heard of the reality show The Biggest Loser. The show, whose morbidly obese contestants compete against each other in grueling hours long workouts (often to the point of exhaustion and sickness) in an effort to lose the most weight and gain a $1 million dollar prize, is arguably the most popular weight loss show on television. But is it leaving viewers with a bad taste when it comes to exercise?
While the The Biggest Loser does show that it takes lots of hard work to drop weight and change your body, there are some who feel that the intense workouts shown might be causing sedentary viewers to skip workouts. Let’s face it, the workouts on the show are tough, even for some health nuts, but they aren’t accurate representations of what a normal workout is for most people in the real world. But if you’re an overweight person watching a show about how someone like you can lose weight, of course you would thing 3 hour workouts in the hot sun is the only way to go, and that’s not exactly an encouraging sight.
According to experts at the University of Alberta:
“People are screaming and crying and throwing up, and if you’re not a regular exerciser you might think this is what exercise is — that it’s this horrible experience where you have to push yourself to the extremes and the limits, which is completely wrong.”
However, many would argue that weight loss shows like The Biggest Loser should be seen as inspiring and prove to overweight viewers that if they work hard and stick with it the reward at the end, while not exactly $1 million dollars, is just as sweet. The reality of reality shows is that there might not ever be a way to realistically show someone how to lose weight. That would be boring and take way longer than the 6-8 weeks shows have to fill.
My advice, instead of overweight viewers using reality shows as a guide, they should use life and action. Find real life examples of people getting healthy the right way and instead of watching other people lose weight, get off the couch, get moving and actually become a person that does what you see on the screen.
Do you think weight loss reality shows do more harm than good?