Counterargument: Who is REALLY The Biggest Loser Winner?

Last week, we published a post from Zola on whether the TV show “The Biggest Loser” helps or hinders overweight people. Zola’s stance on the matter is that it is demotivating, disheartening, and unrealistic. You can read her entire post here: Who is REALLY The Biggest Loser Winner?

Well, after publishing that article, we received this counterargument from a Healthy Trucker reader who wishes to remain anonymous. We thought we’d share with you all today. What’s your stance on the topic?

A Healthy Trucker reader writes…

The Biggest Loser Winner Danni Allen before and after

Image from CBS News

Does “The Biggest Loser” do a disservice to fat people?  Absolutely and unequivocally no.  If anything, it’s serving as a wake up call to the many of us who are obese and suffering from heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.  The clock is ticking.  But TBL shows us that it IS possible to change your lifestyle, improve your fitness level and lose weight.  It motivates us to get up off the couch, get active and to eat healthier.  I know I never feel more motivated to move my body than after I watch the contestants on TBL sweating and struggling through a tough workout.  Is it going to be easy?  I think we all know it’s not.  But if they can do it – I can do it too.  The first step is educating yourself about nutrition.  Good carbs or no carbs?   Does fat make me fat?  How does sodium affect my health?

I don’t think any reasonable person expects to lose weight at the same rate as the contestants on TBL.  Those contestants are staying at a weight loss facility where they work out 5-6 hours a day and  have access to doctors, nutritionists and trainers.  The rest of us have to work for a living.  But I can make the same positive changes in my lifestyle that they are making on a smaller scale and still see results.  I can gain knowledge of new exercises and recipes to implement in my own fitness and nutrition program.  And each time the scale inches to the left, I know I’m making progress.  My prize may not be a quarter of a million dollars, but it’s something much more valuable – my health. 

Are the trainers harsh?  Yes, sometimes they are.  Because they have to be.  It’s called Tough Love.  It’s complacency that got us to where we are today – fat and out of shape.  It’s too easy to say “I’ll work out tomorrow” or “just one more slice – I’ll start my diet tomorrow.”  We need someone to get in our face and say, “There is no tomorrow – get your butt off the couch and get on the treadmill!”  It’s true that what motivates one person may not necessarily motivate another.  That’s why you see the gentler side of the trainers working on an individual basis with the contestants from time to time.  They attempt to get to the root of the overeating problem so healing and lifestyle changes can begin.  Acknowledging a problem is the first step to overcoming it.

If your goal is weight loss – it is all about calories.  There is no magic pill, powder or fad diet.  You have to burn more calories than you take in.  The number of calories your body burns at rest in one day is called your Base Metabolic Rate.  The average BMR for an 175 pound woman of average height would be approximately 1500-1550 calories.  A diet of 800 calories is not only unhealthy, it’s dangerous.  What happens when you reduce your daily caloric intake to a mere 800 calories?  Your Base Metabolic Rate slows to a snail’s pace to match your caloric intake and causes your body to store any additional calories as fat.  Simply put – your body thinks you’re starving it and it’s going to hold on to any calories you ingest like a winning lottery ticket.  And when you binge on the weekends after your metabolism has dropped to that low level, all those extra calories are being stored as fat.

So what’s the secret to getting out of that rut?  Giving your body the nutrition it needs on a daily basis along with a sufficient number of calories so your metabolism doesn’t drop into the dead zone.   The Biggest Loser uses the following formula to calculate daily caloric intake:  body weight x 7 = your daily calorie count.  Therefore a 200 pound person would be on a 1400 calorie a day diet.  That’s significantly more than that 800 calorie a day diet.  Their body is still getting the calories it needs with nutritious unprocessed foods and they are avoiding that dreaded sluggish metabolism. They are eating every 2-3 hours so their blood sugar doesn’t drop and cause hunger. 

This year in particular TBL focused on the epidemic of childhood obesity.  Children learn bad habits from their parents, so if they can educate just one parent on healthier choices for their child, then they have made a positive impact.  We saw this year that good eating habits and exercising are actually contagious – many of the contestants’ families adopted a more healthy lifestyle and lost weight at home.  Whole communities came together to work out and get fit together. 

So is “The Biggest Loser” having any impact on society?  Yes, most certainly it is.  I am living proof of that.

Disclaimer: This is an opinion post.  It is not meant to represent the views of as a whole.

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