The Biggest Loser has been the subject of some criticism that it is demeaning to its participants. However, when the contestants are able to make positive lifestyle changes based on their time on the show, it can show that there are benefits to outweigh the possible costs of appearing on a reality show.

There’s another criticism coming to the fore, however. Does the show, and the amazing number of pounds lost at some weigh-ins or overall through the show, set an unrealistic expectation for the home viewer? Some people – including a former participant – say yes.

The New York Times recently explored the topic. One “serial dieter” the Times spoke to said the show makes her question her own success. “I find myself in the beginning of every season raring to go,” said Renee Peters. “But then they’ve lost 70 pounds and I’ve only lost 5 in the same time frame, and I find myself eating ice cream.”

Of course, it’s nearly impossible for any home dieter to replicate the “fitness rehab” type of environment of The Biggest Loser campus. There, the dieters can focus on their weight loss all day long, and can work out up to five hours a day with access to the inspiration, motivation and expertise of professional trainers like Kim Lyons and Bob Harper.

But it’s not just the official program that gets airtime that contributes to the success of the contestants. Kai Hibbard, who lost 118 pounds in the last season of The Biggest Loser, blogged about dehydrating herself and spending up to six hours in and out of saunas to lose a last 19 pounds in the weeks leading up to the finale. She says the weight came back almost immediately after the show. Of course, the home viewer doesn’t get that part of the story, which might lead to feelings of frustration and disappointment. Kai is trying to set that straight now, clarifying that “You should only be losing half a pound to a pound a week…If so, you are doing an amazing job.”

What do you think? If you are working on your weight, do you find The Biggest Loser inspiring? Or do you find yourself disappointed with your own results when you compare with their big numbers, even with the knowledge of their additional resources? Leave your thoughts below.

– Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist

Source: The New York Times
(Image courtesy of NBC)


Staff Columnist, BuddyTV