So I’ve been thinking about The Biggest Loser and its impact on American culture for some time. I can’t help but notice all the efforts in government and healthcare to inspire change and how little really gets done. Cross that with The Biggest Loser and you have to ask – is The Biggest Loser scalable to the population?
What I am most impressed with is the “short timer success”. Estella was only on the ranch for a week and at her age all the odds were against her. I mean, only young males lose weight right? It’s too hard to teach an old dog new tricks… maybe not!
Estella started at 242 and weighed in at 159# losing 83 pounds, 34% of her body weight.
Jerry at 63 years old started at 369 and weighs 192# now losing 47% of his body weight. He passed out his first hour on the ranch and he was only there two weeks! Wow.
Damien and Nicole had similar results! I think that she is a role model for many women, but especially African American women who have a higher rist of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
from the Black Women’s Health Imperative
Black women have the highest or near highest rates of most major chronic conditions (hypertension, diabetes, stroke, most cancers, glaucoma, arthritis and lupus) and risk factors for poor health (obesity, sedentary lifestyles, drug dependence, tobacco use, depression, sexually transmitted diseases, low immunization rates and partner violence). This is not surprising given the barriers created by government health and welfare policies to comprehensive health services for women. There are welfare policies that discourage pregnancy by denying dependent care coverage for subsequent children; and “reforms” that force women into the minimum wage workforce without affordable childcare, job training or family supports. These barriers must be pulled down.
You can’t discount Carla in that inspiration either… as a young, obese black woman who weighed 379# and lost 128# – and entire person! 34% of her body weight. Do the math. Losing 10% can cut risk of diabetes and heart disease. Imagine how much healthier you are at losing 34%
Filipe and Sione are also inspiring. Their work with their Island culture and bringing it back to the community is exactly what needs to happen to create systemic change. You start in the family and community with people you know, trust, and love. That’s motivation for you! How many people will they touch who will then go on to a healthier life?
I think Dane, Blaine, Mandi and Aubrey’s experiences also shed some light on the realities of weight management. How do busy parents, single parents, working parents raising kids and trying to keep a family together make that dramatic change to initiate weight loss. It shows the importance of taking that first crucial step and sticking with it; maintaining – not gaining; and enjoying the journey. Bernie Salazar wrote about the importance on enjoying the journey . So Aubrey gained 9 pounds… but she realized she was going in the wrong direction.
I loved her quote on her spot.
“every day I have to make the conscious decision to do things the healthy way”.
She’s right. It does get easier to do make those decisions. They become second nature. Pick something and make that change. If you drink coffee for breakfast and that’s it. Start there. Research shows a healthy breakfast helps in weight management. In fact, 78% of the members of the national weight control registry eat breakfast. Get on it. Start with one or two “easy” changes…
Jerry had a great quote too…
“Once I let my mind go, my body could do the work.”
Our brains can absolutely sabotage us. The subconscious does not allow you to become the person you deserve to be! This is a key point in one of our “mantras” in The Nurture Principles – motivational wellness “edutainment” and workshops Bernie and I developed together.
I think it Mike’s story is particularly troubling. 18-years-old and that quality of life. He had to work hard to get that big and we saw him work even harder to get that small. What does his story say about the influence of family on weight status – a lot! Ron (Mike’s dad) takes a lot of responsibility for his sons and he should.
I think there is a scary side to the show too. Helen is 5?6? and now 117#. That puts her BMI at 18.9 at risk of underweight. Is 117# really a realistic long term weight for her or is she trying to win the money? I would hate for people to be discouraged by her results by feeling that Helen’s outcome is unattainable. I actually think she was healthier when she ran the marathon. She left the show at 140# so this 117# seems too low. Contrast that with Mike’s BMI at 5?11? and 181 pounds is 25.2 which is “overweight” on the BMI scale – anything over 25 is in the overweight category. But he looks so healthy. Tara too… 139 pounds and 5?9? gives her a BMI of 20.5 – a “normal” category BMI. I think Tara is adjusted back to reality. I am not sure about Helen… she seemed desperate to nail it. Tara only lost by 5 pounds. Looks like Helen should gain a little. I think she will when the fanfare wares off. If she really wants to inspire she needs to be real.
Bottom line. It’s a tv show. It’s a fantasy land. But the reality is lives are at stake and lives are changed. The changes catch fire in families and communities and a lot of good can come out of it. But there is such thing as “too much” of a good thing… balance is important. Don’t lose sight of what’s important. It is not about the money. It’s about life.