Yesterday marked the first week of the ninth season of The Biggest Loser. NBC usually carries two series each year. I believe this is the 5th year. As most of you know I am a big fan of the show. It wasn’t always that way.
I first watched The Biggest Loser in the 5th season and I couldn’t finish watching the episode. I was channel surfing and came across the group of contestants as they were working out in the gym. Jillian and Bob were screaming at them, the contestants were crying and I felt pity and shame for them. I felt pity and shame for them because I didn’t know the shows premise, nor did I know that these contestants wanted to be here. that they needed to be here. I remember feeling like they were being made fun of because they couldn’t complete the workouts or the tasks that were presented to them. I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to witness such an atrocity.
As the season moved on I began to pick up on newspaper and radio articles about The Biggest Loser. I heard people around me talking about the episodes. I couldn’t bring myself to watch another episode during the current season.
The following season was about to begin and I decided to watch from the beginning. I needed to see what the intrigue was and how these people actually changed their lives and actually lost weight.
Well, episode 1 changed everything. All of my preconceived notions about the show were trashed. I watched how these contestants are at their last straw, they are at the last stop before the pine box. They are excited to be on The Biggest Loser, they are excited to have help to change their lives and to change their bodies.
I learned that the contestants are not being made fun of, they are not on the show only to win the prize of $250,000, they are not there for me to feel pity or shame for them. They are here as a last resort, a new beginning. They are ready to CHANGE.
Change is hard. Change in uncomfortable. Change is what will save them.
The ninth season began with the contestants weighing in on a scale in front of their community instead of on campus. My thought was that they would have the whole community to support and follow them. The community would be more involved in their journey. Not only that, but it shows that the contestant is really ready to change. Getting up in front of your neighbors, coworkers, friends and family with a pair of shorts and sports bra is no small feat. That’s a huge testament stating “I’m ready” in my book!
Each season the contestants are more unhealthy than the season prior. This season brings the heaviest person yet at 525 or so pounds. Twin men at 484 and 485 pounds. It’s crazy, it’s sad, it is a testament as to the way people are living .. or not living their lives in this day and age. It’s epidemic.
20 years ago the average woman size was a 10. Today it is a 14 and a 16 is a close second. The average weight for a woman at an average 5’4” was 130 pounds. Now she is 160 pounds.
This season the teams are family members. Mother-daughter, father-daughter, twins, cousins. Shortly after the contestants arrived they were told they would be riding their bikes..26.2 miles! A full marathon of bike riding. The team would ride stationary bikes and when their total mileage was 26.2 they could stop. The last two teams would not be going to the house. They would be going back home! Yellow and Blue were going back home, just like that. They will be back in 30 days to compete against one another on the scale, the winner will be allowed back into the house and onto the show.
The weigh in last night was absolutely insane. The smallest amount lost was 13 pounds. The twins each lost 23 pounds and they were still below the yellow line. One of them had to go home. The biggest contestant ever lost 34 pounds! In one week! Women lost 25 and more pounds, the biggest first week losses ever. Amazing. The are rock stars!!
From my perspective I see changes taking place on Day 1. There is a spark of hope in their eyes, one more chance at change, they begin to believe they can do this. After a successful week they know they can have another successful day..and another. Little successes that lead to big, life changing success. It’s all about change.
When discussing the show with others invariably they will ask me “how can they get so large? How can they do this to themselves” I don’t understand how the question can be asked. I want to respond that I don’t understand the question. Don’t you see..this could happen to anyone? Haven’t you ever had an addiction, weight that you couldn’t get off, one day it is one pound, then it is 10 pounds and then it is 20 poounds, one day you don't feel like exercising, then it is two days..then a year has passsed, one day it is a cookie, then a brownie, then a cake..haven't you had the feeling of despair..or hopelessness? I guess not, but I can’t believe it is so. Man, I've felt all of the above and continue to do so. It seems that every day is a battle with food. I will never be able to out-run what I can eat.
It’s going to be another great season. Cheers to the contestants as they change their minds and their bodies, cheers to the trainers as they teach the contestants and cheers to NBC for letting me watch the process. I learn something about myself with every episode.
Jillian has completed an 8 week episode series which will be airing this year. I’m sure it will be every bit as interesting as The Biggest Loser.