The Biggest Loser: Singles

Posted on January 29, 2012

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So this season of the Biggest Loser, as we all know, is all about singles. All the contestants are unattached, and “looking for love”. Makes for good tv I guess. Already there’s rumors of hook ups and some less than subtle hints at possible flings, and also, it’s a bit confronting in the way that people like to watch. Twice on radio, and four times in my every day life I’ve heard people mocking it. One particular radio show played a clip of a contestant talking to themselves in the mirror, and laughed hysterically about what she was saying. Twice I’ve heard comments along the lines of “how sad is it?!” followed by laughter. Maybe it is a bit sad, a show full of obese, single people, apparently so desperate to find love. Fat, lonely people? Hilarious to those who are comfortable and getting laid regularly.

But I dare say a great proportion of that is for ratings. These people aren’t on the show to find love, they’re on the show to get healthy, to feel confident, to learn to love themselves. This is what people told me when I tweeted my disdain, and it makes sense. Sure, they ham it up for the show, and it’s edited to be more focused on that than they are in reality. So in that sense, good for the contestants.

What has really bothered me is the message this sends, regardless of what the contestants get. They have a reality that’s more balanced, I can assume. Psychologists and dietitians and trainers who focus more on them than their “single” status on Facebook. But the overwhelming message is: these people are single and unloved because they’re fat, they’re here to change that. Even if they intended it to be: these people need to learn to love themselves.

They got closer to: here are some lonely people exercising, crying and binge eating for your entertainment.

How I see it, obesity is health problem. Too many fat cells and their side effects. Losing weight doesn’t change who you are, it changes how many fat cells you have. Sure, you might feel sexier, you might gain integrity, determination, become happier. What the show suggests is you’ll also be more attractive, people will accept you, want you, you’ll be “better”. And that, is a terrible message to be sending. I honestly don’t think weight loss is sustainable if it’s done for the wrong reasons, and while the contestants might not have it wrong, some lonely overweight viewer, who now feels even more inadequate because they’re fat and single too, might. It’s hardly going to pump anyone in that position up, or build their self esteem.

Ultimately, if you don’t feel like someone can love you, regardless of your fat cell count, you have more work to do than cycling while holding a pole above your head.

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