Take The Biggest Loser Off The Network
Take The Biggest Loser Off The Network
The Biggest Loser (TBL) is a toxic demoralizing show that is spreading fat-shaming hatred across North America. It needs to be canceled to stop the physical and emotional injury season after season and before a contestant, or a viewer looking to duplicate results, actually dies.
First, TBL supposes that fat people aren’t actually people. They’re just animals that need to be pushed around and “punished” because they’re “weak”, “lazy” and “stupid” for eating their way into their situation in the first place. If you don’t subscribe to that idea before you tune in, research shows that watching the show may change your mind! A study published in the Journal of Obesity suggested that watching even one episode of the Biggest Loser increased hateful weight bias among viewers! This is particularly concerning to me when there are children watching, as it’s easy to sense and duplicate the disgust for fatness when they see it in their peers or even themselves.
Second, I’ve heard some fans of the show say that it’s “motivating” for them to watch. Really? Do you feel motivated to seek out a personal trainer when you’ve watched them degrade these people to the point of having an emotional anxiety attack, or a physical expulsion of the meager portion of diet food the’re allowed to eat? Do you have the financial, emotional and physical capability to quit your job and make losing weight the only thing on your agenda until the weight is gone? Here’s the thing- if losing weight is a goal of yours, that’s great, but wouldn’t you be more motivated by seeing someone do it in a way that you could realistically duplicate? As Hibbard told ABC news, she has had fans of the show tell her they’ve been trying to lose the weight as fast as they’ve seen her do it on TV, and in the process, have now developed eating disorders. Is this the kind of behaviour we want to inspire in the general public? Apparently, the show is not only unhelpful for viewers, but it’s also incredibly dangerous.
Finally, even if it were easy to fit extreme weight loss into your normal daily life, wouldn’t you want to do it in a healthful manageable way? The recommended speed for weight loss that can realistically be maintained is 1-2 pounds per week. Guess what happens when you drop 25lb in seven days? Well, you can read on for the “real world” examples, but as a nutrition expert I have an unsavoury spoiler alert for you. A lot of that weight lost is a combination of water and muscle, which in turn slows your metabolism down and makes it almost impossible to maintain your new weight eating anything more than bird food. What’s the result? You gain the weight right back, and often more due to that sluggish metabolism.
Over the past year or so, I’ve seen a number of articles emerge where past TBL contestants have “come out” to tell their stories. As a Registered Dietitian and a human being, these forthcomings have been heartbreaking to read. While I always found the show repulsive and dangerous for its outrageously forward fat-shaming, these brave tell-alls revealed a whole other layer of danger. From severe exercise injuries, to humiliating challenges, to eating disorders, to extreme 8-hour workouts, and 1000 calorie diets, this is not a show about people getting healthy. This is a show that takes pleasure in watching people reduced to animals and broken down until they’re even more sick.
Please help me get this show off the air so people who haven’t read this article can no longer be indoctrinated with this unhealthy rhetoric. Yes, the contestants on the show choose to be there, but from what I have been told, they are threatened if they speak out or want to leave, and are bluntly victimized by the show for its financial gains. Please sign and share the petition to help support a social shift away from hate for our bodies, food and self.