TODAY’S ADDICTION: THE BIGGEST LOSER

First, let me just say that I am an emotional person. I’ve cried in MANY movies. I love a good tear jerker. I wear my heart on my sleeve (which I don’t always recommend) and try to be sensitive to many issues. If you have read any of my blog so far you know that I grew up with an obese parent, my father. He died when I was 16. In fact, the anniversary of his death (which is kind of odd to title it that way) was yesterday – 23 years. Growing up with an obese parent has lead me to be sympathetic to the plight of people who struggle with weight issues.

Although not obese myself, as an adult I have always struggled with my self-image. This is mostly about my weight. Sure it’s not healthy, this is what killed my father, but it’s a stereotype that no one wants to fall into. I love to eat just as much as the next person and unfortunately because my life isn’t where I thought it would be in more than one way, I eat to make me feel better – which in the end makes me feel worse. This is just a hint of the vicious cycle of someone with bad eating habits. HEAVY PEOPLE ARE RIDICULED. PERIOD. Maybe more accepting by today’s standards yes but still there are scores of thoughtless, ignorant, cruel people that make fun of fat people. They don’t realize the life long impact this may have not only on the life of the person they mock, but that person’s friends and families as well. It’s an issue close to my heart to say the least.

When I first heard the title of the show,”The Biggest Loser“, I thought to myself, “O.M.G., that’s awful.” I soon realized that it was just the hook that Hollywood needed to get attention. For those of you who do not watch or have lived under a rock for the last few seasons in particular, you should consider tuning in. This is not another tasteless, crass reality show about who’s life is a train wreck (see VH1 or MTV for that). This is about inspiring people to believe in themselves, to learn what it takes to live a healthy (both physically and mentally) lifestyle.

Bob Harper & Jillian Michaels, the extraordinary trainers, friends and guidance counselors of the contestants single-handedly show each and every one of them that overcoming their weight issue is very real and very attainable. Through diet, nutrition, exercise and a whole lot of building up the good and breaking down the bad they simply transform. We are all capable of so much more than we think. This show demonstrates that with an issue that people would think otherwise insurmountable. They help them find inner strength that has been buried beneath weight and poor self esteem for years, to learn how to love who they are, to learn that they can be whatever they want to be. If someone can turn their life around and overcome what is seemingly an unbelievable challenge of losing hundreds of pounds…. what else can they do? What else can they change? The skies the limit. And these contestants do it. Every season I am awe inspired but what these people have achieved. I cry in almost every episode, sob in many and watch every season finale open jawed and stunned. What other TV show does this? In my opinion, none.

AND, It’s not just a show anymore. It’s a movement, a crusade even. They are literally teaching and inspiring millions of people all over the world to be healthier. And the ‘movement’ is just continuing to grow. Not only are they encouraging people and teaching them how to eat healthier, they know how best to pay it forward. One year ago, The Biggest Loser partnered with General Mills and Feeding America and created the “Pound for Pound Challenge”, an initiative that encourages Americans to lose weight and feed the hungry. For every pound dieters pledge to lose, a pound of groceries will be delivered to a local food bank. General Mills will donate $0.14 to Feeding America (up to $800,000), enough to deliver one lb. of groceries. This year, the Pound for Pound Challenge helped Feeding America deliver more than 3.5 millions pounds of groceries to local food banks. How awesome is that? THAT IS AMAZING. I just find this idea to be a godsend for millions. You can read more about it here.

Is it perfect? Almost. The only negative to this show is the ‘in your face’ product placement. It is so unnecessary. And I bet Jillian, Bob and any cast member who has been forced to hold up a pack of Extra gum or Ziploc bag has hated to have to do it. Aren’t these people making enough from the commercials? Jesus. But really if that’s the only thing than that’s a good thing.

To all of the ‘behind the scenes’ Biggest Loser people please accept my personal thank you. Bob and Jillian, O.M.G. you rule. To the NBC executives who made the decision to extend it to a 2 hour show – Bravo. To all of the contestants, I have thoroughly enjoyed watching each of you grow in spirit while shrinking in size. It would not be fair to pick favorites especially since there are so may contestants now 😉 I also mustn’t forget the host, Alison Sweeney. I didn’t mind Caroline Rhea, she made me chuckle from time to time but admittedly she wasn’t all there as a host. Alison Sweeney is perfect for this show. Why? Because she too seems to wear her heart on her sleeve. Looking forward to next season… starting next week.

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