Anyone who knows me knows I love NBC’s weight-loss reality show Biggest Loser! There are a number of annoying caveats to the show that I am forced to ignore like the well-placed commercials for the show’s sponsors like Brita and Jennie-O. Aside from that, I think the show has merit. America is FAT! Not just a little overweight but morbidly obese. According to the American Heart Association, 154.7 million Americans over the age of 20 are overweight or obese. Since the show’s debut in 2004, contestants have lost tons (literally) of weight. Not to mention, the viewers who have participated in the at-home challenges. The idea of a show that promotes a healthy lifestyle and gives people hope is my choice over teen mom’s or overweight child beauty pageant contestants any day.
There have been years of criticism regarding the over-the-top training methods. However, numbers don’t lie. Contestants lose body fat and gain muscle and they get their lives back. Not all of the contestants maintain the weight loss and they have had several return for additional assistance from the trainers but overall, they find a new appreciation for life and good health.
We were all shocked when this season’s winner, Rachel walked out from behind the curtain at a scary 105 pounds. After losing 60% of her body weight, the trainers were floored and albeit a little freaked out when they saw her. The main thing that kept drawing my attention was her face; she appeared gaunt and unhealthy. According to several of the articles I read, people were criticizing the show for not paying attention to the off-camera habits of the contestants and allowing for unhealthy practices. I have watched almost all 15 seasons of this show and I have never seen anyone go to that extreme. Perhaps Rachel’s circumstances were an anomaly? Perhaps she had previous issues with eating disorders that reappeared during the show? Bottom line is that she was under a doctor’s care the entire time and they did not see an issue with her weight. Even if they did, they cannot make her eat more or exercise less.
Critics will use this one instance to bash the show, however I hope that people will continue to see the show as a positive light in the negative realm of reality television shows.
What do you think? Do you think Rachel went to far? Do you think the show is responsible or does this point to the personal responsibility of the contestants?