TV Show The Biggest Loser, Good or Bad?

Jason Chiero, CPT Health Guide December 03, 2009
  • No one can argue the success of the popular television show "The Biggest Loser".  Most people would agree that the show can be very entertaining and inspiring for anyone who is trying to lose weight.  As a practicing Personal Trainer I can understand why someone would want to watch the show, but I do have to offer caution to you if you regularly watch the show and are trying to lose weight yourself.

     

    One of my biggest challenges as a Certified Personal Trainer working with people who are committed losing weight is to guide their expectations.  The show "The Biggest Loser" and other media have totally distorted proper weight loss expectations.  I have to admit that I don't watch the show regularly, but I have seen the regular weigh ins.  In these weigh ins contestants regularly lose 3-10 lbs in one week.  Contestants are often disappointed when they only lose a few pounds in a week.  This is where I have to specifically caution you.  Myself and most other experienced fitness professionals will tell you that losing 2lbs of fat per week is excellent progress.  In fact it is a healthy rate of weight loss.  Losing weight at this rate minimizes the possibility of a person falling into a nutrient deficit and ultimately gaining the weight back. 

     

    One of the other challenges I have in working with people who are trying to lose weight is to make sure they take the proper approach.  I have found that most people who make the commitment to lose weight using diet and exercise have trouble designing and executing a weight loss program that takes the proper approach.  The Biggest Loser also hurts most people in this regard.  What most viewers fail to remember is that for the contestants on the show losing weight is a full time job.  They exercise and diet practically all day, everyday.  They have the luxury of access to full time personal trainers and medical staff to help them while they are on the show.

     

    This is not the case to the in the "real world".  Most people who are trying to lose weight have the challenge of living their life and taking on weight loss.  Time and money are unavoidable constraints as most people have to balance family, job and finances along with diet and exercise.  In my experience, too many times I see the average person join the gym and begin to diet with a Biggest Loser approach.  They try to push their bodies through workouts that are unrealistic to maintain, while eating a diet that is way too low in caloric intake for their body function properly.  This ultimately leads to their body breaking down and suffering from injury or sickness.  Then the ultimate frustration sets in when they can't reach the unrealistic expectations they developed from watching "The Biggest Loser" or reading a popular magazine that shows someone who lost a bunch of weight in a short period of time.

     

    Let me end by giving you the same advice I give to my clients in the gym and online.  If you enjoy watching the tv show that's great.  Watch it to be inspired by people who are working very hard to lose weight.  Watch it because it is entertaining to see a trainer screaming in the face of one of the contestants.   Do not watch it to develop your personal weight loss expectations or approach.

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    If you would like you can learn more about my Weight Loss Training Program to better understand the approach I take for healthy, long term weight loss.  Just visit:

     

    www.emailpersonaltraining.com/weightloss

     

    I hope this helps.

     

    Jason Chiero, CPT