It may come as a surprise but, like many of you, I watch the Biggest Loser. There’s a lot I like about the show. I like watching someone take the reins of their life; I like witnessing their transformation. I like knowing contestants learn about what got them heavy in the first place. NBC has announced that this season the contestants will be bigger than ever, that is they will weigh more. And though I consider myself a fan of the show, I have to take issue with this.
There have been some great stories on the show. I wept while I watched Abby, a contestant on this past season. Abby had lost her whole family in a car accident. Her weight was a visual representation of her grief and loss and her feeling lost. As a mother, it’s also heart wrenching to listen to contestants describe loveless childhoods. Whether overweight or not, many of us can identify with these struggles. But are we more captivated by these stories if these contestants are larger? Or is this where the line is crossed into making a spectacle of vulnerable people? Should a 500 plus pound person run a mile or workout hours a day?
I know full well, from taking about weight and life all these years with clients that one’s problem’s or issues aren’t proportional to the pounds they need to lose. Pain and also progress are size blind. And then I need to remind myself this is TV and reality TV and the audience is made up of people who love the American Idol try outs and the jilted bachelorettes. I just don’t think being 500 pounds is a laughing matter.
Do you like The Biggest Loser? Would you be more likely to tune in with larger contestants? I’m curious to hear.