This country is overweight, for the most part. At least 2/3 of the population is either overweight or obese and that makes shows like “The Biggest Loser” appealing. While being inspirational, it is also grotesque, punitive and redemptive. Contestants collapse from exhaustion, cry and vomit then call each other “losers.”
However, NBC has said “Our contestants are closely monitored and medically supervised. The consistent ‘Biggest Loser’ health transformations of over 300 contestants through 16 seasons of the program speak for themselves.”
Yet not all experts are buying into the show’s success being long lasting for the contestants. Including Jillian Michaels, the show’s famous trainer, as actually quit three times, the latest in 2014. She cites being “deeply concerned” about the “poor care of the contestants” on the show.
It has been proven time and again, that regardless what kind of weight-loss program people participate in, they will gain half of their weight back, if not more. The most successful type of weight-loss programs are those where the participants make small changes over a period of time. Many experts say the chances are those who participate on “The Biggest Loser’ do not have weight loss and keeps it off.
When the show first started, the contestants most likely didn’t have any idea what they were in for. Some former contestants have said they are embarrassed to even participate in what one former contestant called “a fat-shaming disaster” that pits the obese contestants against each other in a competition to lose the more weight than the others.
With more than 7 million viewers each week and approximately 200,000 people auditioning, you can’t argue that it is one of, if not the most popular reality shows right now. Let’s not even consider the $100 million that the show rakes in annually with ad sales of ancillary products like clothing, cookbooks, DVDs, protein powder and video games. Not to mention the branded weight-loss camps that brings in 10s of millions of dollars every year.
The Lucky Ones – Maybe
When you beat out 200,000 others and are chosen to be on the show, how can you not feel like you’re the lucky one? So you don’t complain or question anything, right? You figure a successful show isn’t going to do you wrong. You sign your rights away on a contract to make your personal story line property of the show and you’re forbidden to talk badly about your experience or the show.
Then you are flown to LA and greeted by a production assistant at your hotel. They get you checked in and take your room key card. If you aren’t filming, you are locked in your room. Your cell phone and laptop are confiscated for 24 hours and the hotel has agreed to watch you so if you leave, they let the show’s people know. Some former contestants believe that their computer was bugged before being returned to them. ,
Off To The Ranch
This sequestered life lasts for 5 days and then you are some of the finalists are sent to “the ranch” to live, work out and in some descriptions, suffer in seclusion. You are given a medical examination and begin the work-out routine right away. Those at the ranch can’t call home for 6 weeks. Then when they can call home, it is a monitored 5 minute phone call. Regardless of any type of family emergency, if you leave, you’re done.
The work-outs are long and stressful. One former contestant said her feet bled the first 3 weeks on the ranch. The work-outs are relentless with activities like body-weigh work, rowing, kettle bells, stair-master and others like working the tires. And it starts like that the very first day – you aren’t eased into a work-out program.
The ones that don’t go to the ranch are sent home where they are to attempt to lose weight long and then come back toward the end of the show’s season. Maybe they are the lucky ones?