Is The Biggest Loser Losing More Than Weight?
by Melissa Minners
I didn’t watch The Biggest Loser from the first season, but once I did find the show, I really enjoyed it. Yes, there was a game involved and people were competing for money, but it seemed that the trainers and others involved on the team really wanted to help these people lose weight. They would do it by changing the way people think about food and exercise and, ultimately, change the way they thought about themselves.
Over the years, things have changed. For one thing, the show always promoted fitness equipment, clothing, supplements and the like and I never liked that much. Although they pushed items like snack bags, heart monitors, the only foods they promoted were fresh things like Subway sandwiches or Jennie-O turkey burgers. But now, the show is promoting Biggest Loser meals, passing it off as something that is healthy for folks on the go. Now, I don’t know about you, but most frozen meals contain high amounts of sodium and preservatives. For a show that always used to preach against such eating, how does The Biggest Loser explain such a complete turnaround on their thoughts on frozen meals?
Just before Jillian left the show, the producers thought it would be a good idea to bring in new trainers and pit them against Bob and Jillian. I found that to be a big mistake, but I understood what they were trying to do. They knew about Jillian wanting to leave, so they were actively looking for a replacement. Too bad neither of the new trainers fit the bill and it would figure that, in the end, it would be Bob and Jillian-trained contestants competing against one another for the win. The following year, they brought in two new trainers to compete against one another and Bob. That wasn’t too bad and we finally saw a trainer (Dolvett) that could be as competitive and enjoyable against Bob as Jillian – and he was hot to boot.
Now, the show always had a great deal of drama – any show in which health problems and obesity come into play will have drama. In fact, finding out the dramatic backstories of each of the competitors is one of the things that made the show incredibly interesting. It helped you relate to the competitors and even inspired many a viewer to believe in their ability to lose weight. I expect that kind of drama. I also understand that this is a game that is about more than just losing weight, it’s about competing for a whole load of cash and the only way to win is to be the last person left in the house.
But the drama of late has become fairly unbearable. We’re talking Survivor-style drama: Who hates who? What alliances are being made? Whining about workouts to the point that even the home viewer wants to reach through the screen and slap the competitor. This year, for the first time, someone actually left the show after two weeks. That was a spot that someone who really needed to lose weight could have had, but instead, this selfish competitor took that spot and quit weeks later. What kind of nonsense is that? There have always been annoying competitors, but this season, there are way more than one. This season’s theme is No Excuses, but I’ve heard nothing but excuses all season…and whining…and hating…and back-stabbing. In fact, this season, the competitors are less focused on losing weight and more focused on the drama in the house.
The past two seasons have proven that The Biggest Loser is losing a lot more than weight – it’s losing focus. The past two seasons, the competitors are putting up lower weight losses than ever before. Some of the contestants are rather large, yet the weight loss numbers are slow. There is no reason why some of the finalists are still overweight. In previous seasons, people were nearing their goal weight by the next to last week. In the last couple of seasons, the finalists weren’t even close to their goal weights and last year, The Biggest Loser was a contestant that he was more focused on the money he would be winning than the weight he would be losing and the health he would gain. Thanks to the loss in focus of this player, he will probably gain back all of the weight he lost for the show.
If The Biggest Loser continues in this vein, they will lose a lot more than weight or focus…they will lose viewers. They will lose the viewers who watch to get tips on how to eat healthier, exercise more efficiently and more. They will lose the viewers who watch for inspiration that will help them reach their own weight loss goals. And they will lose me who looks for all of these things.