Weight Loss reality shows...Opinions?

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What does everyone think of the popular weight loss reality shows? Biggest Loser, Heavy, etc?

Do you think that the contestants are losing weight "properly"?

Do you feel like these shows are good in that they give inspiration or bad because they set unlrealistic expectations for people? Or both?

In the over 10 seasons of Biggest Loser, what percentage of people would you guess were able to keep the weight off?

I'm posting this to strike up a conversation. This is not a hot topic for me at all. I enjoy watching the shows. I think it would be great to have shows with people who are not "overly" obese and have 50 pounds or less to lose also. The large weight loss numbers are exciting, but a show with contestants losing 1-5 pounds per week would be more relevant to me.

Replies

  • rbloedow
    rbloedow Posts: 47 Member
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    To be honest with you - I think any improvement in the lives of someone who honestly needs it - it's good. Maybe I'm biased though, but I recently won a contest through A&E: I won a 10 day trip to Hilton Head Health (where they filmed Heavy) and got to experience everything the people on the show were subjected too.

    I understand what you mean by unrealistic expectations - I think it's important to realize what kind of diet and workout regiment these people are subjected too - I ate 1200 calories a day, and was involved in 5+ hours of exercise per day. Most people don't have that kind of time, nor opportunity to focus solely on their weight 24/7. In the 10 days I was there, I dropped 19lbs. It has been about three weeks since I left and I have lost 9lbs on my own.
  • shesblossoming
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    I think while it's lightly grazed in these shows, I feel that a lot of emotional issues are not addressed throughout the weight loss process. In Heavy, what I enjoyed in the first few episodes was that these people were kept in a controlled environment for a month and then given the opportunity to do it for themselves. Any weight loss was good weight loss, and there is no goal. There's no one to beat. I also loved a lot of the counseling.

    While I do thoroughly enjoy Biggest Loser, it's just another game show to me. I'm definitely glad that these people are losing the weight, but there is no real focus on food addiction, depression, etc. Other than Jillian Michaels making one of the contestants cry. "WHY ARE YOU SO FAT?" Really? I think she's really cool but if you want to create a spark inside of me, some sort of drive, the last thing you want to ask me is why I'm so fat.

    I feel that these shows have two sides. They are incredibly inspiring. I watched a few episodes of Biggest Loser and then immediately started on MFP. It made me realize that I didn't have to keep on barely existing. I could live without gasping for breath. But on the other end, I do feel that it gives other people these goals that are very unattainable. For someone who is morbidly obese, you're going to see large weight losses. I've had weeks where I've lost up to five pounds just from exercising and eating the right foods. But more often than not, I have weeks where I just lose two pounds or less. I am very focused on attainable goals and count the ones I exceed as a bonus for hard work. We aren't able to see the exact food they're eating everyday or their calorie counts. And 90% of an episode is them sweating. It's exhausting watching them work so hard. It's taken me months to stay on the elliptical for more than thirty minutes, and these people do this hours every single day. It definitely takes a lot of drive to keep it up.
  • tladame
    tladame Posts: 465 Member
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    I enjoy watching these types of shows because I love seeing the transformation / before & after pics. However, I think they are a bit unrealistic. That isn't the way most people lose weight in the real world. I applaud those contestants who have been able to keep the weight off, that can't be easy. It's sad to see the ones who have gained the weight back, after all that hard work.
  • MinnieInMaine
    MinnieInMaine Posts: 6,400 Member
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    I've been a pretty big fan of Biggest Loser for the last few years but I honestly am not sure if I'll keep up with it now that Jillian's gone. I love Bob but not as much as I love Jillian.

    Overall - although I think their rate of weight loss is unrealistic and therefore skews the general public's view of their own progress when they try to lose weight, I still think it's inspirational to see a 400 pound person killing it in the gym. When I started my own journey in 2010, it helped me realize that if they can do it as big as they are, I sure as hell should be able to get my butt in gear too. The only thing I really dislike about the show is the cheesy ad placement.
  • Kelblue1
    Kelblue1 Posts: 139 Member
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    I agree with others.. I love to watch these just to see the before/after pics... but I feel that anyone put into that enviroment (biggest loser) working out all day and being told pretty much what to eat can lose weight. BUt in real life.. who has that many extra hours to work out. I am a stay at home mom and I can barely get in 2 hrs a day working out. I get up a 6 am and don't go to bed til 11:30 or so as it is. And I refuse to put my kid in the gym daycare every single day for more than an hour. I hope that doesn't sound snotty but I don't want others taking care of my kiddo when that's the whole reason I stopped working is to take care of him.
  • VeganGal84
    VeganGal84 Posts: 938 Member
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    I think that they do more harm than good.

    They make people think that programs such as Weight Watchers and My Fitness Pal are stupid because they encourage slower weight loss (.5-2 pounds per week).

    People who haven't seen me for a few years will get really excited about my "new" body at first, and then ask me how I did it, and how long it took... I can see their excitement go waaaaaaaaayyy down when they hear that it's taken over 2 years and I'm not quite done yet. Like they were hoping I'd say, "I lost 75 pounds in 6 months doing this" and give them a magical cure for their weight problems.
  • rachel1496
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    I usually watch BL towards the end of the season because I too am a sucker for before and after pics. The only weight loss show I really love is X-weighted. I don't know if it's on in the states, it's Canadian but it's by far my favourite. They get a trainer they meet with once a month or so but the rest of it is up to them and you get to watch how they try (and sometimes fail) to fit exercise and better food choices in with jobs, families, social lives, etc; The losses are usually more realistic than they are on BL.
  • brbetha01
    brbetha01 Posts: 179 Member
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    To be honest with you - I think any improvement in the lives of someone who honestly needs it - it's good. Maybe I'm biased though, but I recently won a contest through A&E: I won a 10 day trip to Hilton Head Health (where they filmed Heavy) and got to experience everything the people on the show were subjected too.

    I understand what you mean by unrealistic expectations - I think it's important to realize what kind of diet and workout regiment these people are subjected too - I ate 1200 calories a day, and was involved in 5+ hours of exercise per day. Most people don't have that kind of time, nor opportunity to focus solely on their weight 24/7. In the 10 days I was there, I dropped 19lbs. It has been about three weeks since I left and I have lost 9lbs on my own.

    Wow - I bet that was an experience. I would love the opportunity to workout that much a day with a controlled diet for 10-days just to help me re-focus and learn new things.
  • HappyathomeMN
    HappyathomeMN Posts: 498 Member
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    I think that they do more harm than good.

    They make people think that programs such as Weight Watchers and My Fitness Pal are stupid because they encourage slower weight loss (.5-2 pounds per week).

    People who haven't seen me for a few years will get really excited about my "new" body at first, and then ask me how I did it, and how long it took... I can see their excitement go waaaaaaaaayyy down when they hear that it's taken over 2 years and I'm not quite done yet. Like they were hoping I'd say, "I lost 75 pounds in 6 months doing this" and give them a magical cure for their weight problems.


    THIS^^^^^^

    People who haven't seen me in a while expect this magic answer of take this little pill once a week and watch your "problems" disappear - UGH!! NO, it takes hard work, attention to detail and planning. I don't feel the shows set realistic expectations of how to proceed and how to plan. I get my before and after fix right here on MFP!

    I make the choice to work out, to plan food and sometimes, I plan "bad" food and lazy days too, it's all part of it. It's learning what works for you, not what works on TV or for everyone else.
  • olyrose
    olyrose Posts: 569 Member
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    I do mostly enjoy them, but I think the biggest problem I have is that they can't (or maybe don't) illustrate the internal struggle of wanting to eat too much or not having motivation to exercise. My problem isn't that I don't know which foods are healthy, it's that it's hard to get through the cravings or the habits of over eating. Those shows make it seem like one day something clicked, and they worked out a bunch and lost weight. Like the only struggle was the physical endurance, rather than the emotional or psychological issues. It almost makes it seem too easy.
  • rbloedow
    rbloedow Posts: 47 Member
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    To be honest with you - I think any improvement in the lives of someone who honestly needs it - it's good. Maybe I'm biased though, but I recently won a contest through A&E: I won a 10 day trip to Hilton Head Health (where they filmed Heavy) and got to experience everything the people on the show were subjected too.

    I understand what you mean by unrealistic expectations - I think it's important to realize what kind of diet and workout regiment these people are subjected too - I ate 1200 calories a day, and was involved in 5+ hours of exercise per day. Most people don't have that kind of time, nor opportunity to focus solely on their weight 24/7. In the 10 days I was there, I dropped 19lbs. It has been about three weeks since I left and I have lost 9lbs on my own.

    Wow - I bet that was an experience. I would love the opportunity to workout that much a day with a controlled diet for 10-days just to help me re-focus and learn new things.

    Trust me, it was - The third day into it, I was questioning my sanity. But I really liked it because it provided the perfect jump start into a healthier lifestyle - they had all kinds of classes on managing your weight, to making better food choices, dealing with psychological issues, etc. I also got to connect with a group of people who were going through the same situation, so much liek this website, it was great support.

    The food is totally controlled, but it's prepared by gormet chefs and you are allowed to make your own decisions. You get to experience first hand that eating healthy isn't just rice cakes, wheat bran, and a bowl of strawberries - the focus was moderation. They want for everyone to record their meals and calories - which was my biggest motivator in joing MFP. In the end, I got to experience what I was really capable of, and I was able to get off on the right foot.
  • SueInAz
    SueInAz Posts: 6,592 Member
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    I'm not a big fan of "reality" shows in general because I don't think there's that much that's real about them. Most of them are scripted or only show the parts of a situation which will slant the thing and make it more dramatic than it really is. I've heard interviews with people who have been on various "reality" shows, and they'll tell you that the way they were portrayed isn't really who they are or that situations which made the broadcast didn't really happen the way they were portrayed, etc.

    Home makeover shows often leave the homeowners with shoddy workmanship that looks great on TV but doesn't hold up in reality. I feel that weight loss shows do the same for the contestants. They're left without the real tools to help them keep off the weight they unrealistically lost in a "boot camp" atmosphere. No one with a real life has time to work out 5+ hours a day and for most of them, a 1200 calorie diet isn't sustainable on their own when there's no one regulating the food supply. I guess the fact that people like to watch them is good for the networks, but I really think these shows would be better off being canceled.
  • whatwentwrong
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    noooooot a fan of the biggest loser. i don't know about heavy- i've heard it's less exploitative than other weight loss shows, but i don't really like shows about weight anyway. except huge :D

    i read this a while ago: http://www.bodylovewellness.com/2010/06/09/kai-hibbard-biggest-loser-finalist-part-1-of-3/
    this interview is from a HAES website, so take it with a grain of salt, and i'm sure not everyone had the same issues as this woman, but it certainly did not improve my opinion of the show.
  • EdensMummy
    EdensMummy Posts: 106 Member
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    Lol, as I'm reading this, I'm watching Biggest Loser Australia (although I'm in the UK).

    I've never seen Heavy or X-Weighted...but we have BL here and I think it's more positive than negative because I think it highlights that anyone, no matter how big they are or how bad their habits, can make life long changes to their health and well being.

    However, Biggest Loser has these people in controlled environments, working out several hours per day. I don't know about the US version, but they didn't actually show what they were eating in the house in the UK version, and I noticed this at the time and thought it was strange and quite irresponsible...but after they leave the house they are let out into the big wide world and 12 weeks later they have a final weigh-in, so they do have to go back to their 'normal' lives and they do continue to lose weight. Regardless of anything and everything though, these people do change their lives for the better and I think that's a positive thing.

    It's a better signal to send out than all the celebrity magazines that show already slim celebrities losing yet more weight by eating juiced carrots and only egg whites blah blah.
  • mericksmom
    mericksmom Posts: 222 Member
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    To be honest I loved Heavy before they went on the 6 month weightloss at hilton head. I liked seeing that they took a month to teach them how to eat right then sent them home to see if they can do it real life. Hilton head did go into the aspect of why they were eating this or that much by having the see psycologist (sp) and try dealing with the emotions behind it.

    Now do I take heed at their advice and all that stuff. No not really I was watching for enjoyment. I am now losing weight because my new years resolution was to better myself in any and everyway and I am still continuing on with it. My issue has been under eating feeling guilty because I stay at home take care of the house and kid while husband goes and work hard for us. We dont have a lot of money so I feel bad because I dont need to eat a ton of food and waste money because I am eating us out of house and home.. I now dont think that way.
  • tladame
    tladame Posts: 465 Member
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    I was just watching "Heavy" online. During the show, half of the commercial breaks were ads for McDonald's. WTF???
  • HMonsterX
    HMonsterX Posts: 3,000 Member
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    While I do thoroughly enjoy Biggest Loser, it's just another game show to me. I'm definitely glad that these people are losing the weight, but there is no real focus on food addiction, depression, etc. Other than Jillian Michaels making one of the contestants cry. "WHY ARE YOU SO FAT?" Really? I think she's really cool but if you want to create a spark inside of me, some sort of drive, the last thing you want to ask me is why I'm so fat.

    Err, are we watching the same program? TBL is, and always has been, not only fixing the weight side of you, but also addressing WHY you got that way, trying to heal the scars that got you like that so you avoid going there in the future! Making them cry is what it takes with some people to get their barriers down, and get to the root of their weight gain! If you dont address the reasons WHY you overate, you may end up going back down that road!

    While i agree the weight loss they get is unrealistic in the real world, the message it promotes is a positive one. Its not about surgery, bands, lipo, etc. Its about diet and exercise. Great for everyone in the real world. They are full time exercisers on there, which most people just cant do in real life. So ignore the numbers, and take the message on board.

    EDIT: With regards to what they eat in TBL, the american one is rather unashamed with it product placement. If i hear Jennie-o turkey breast one more time...
  • Sjennings13
    Sjennings13 Posts: 21 Member
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    I enjoy watching these shows and think they can be inspirational but on the other hand I think they are not very realistic as who really has time to work out 5-8 hrs a day?? I work a full time job and have 2 kids, there is no way i could fit that kind of work out schedule into my life.. But I still think it is neat to watch and see how they do and know that if they are able to work out then I can too.