Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tiffany's Soapbox: The "reality" version of weight loss

I have never been a huge fan of reality television.  I will occasionally get sucked into a few shows, but never any of the ones involving competition.  They are ok, I just do not like them.  Except there is one subspecies of reality tv competitions that I absolutely abhor: weight loss competitions.  They come in many different forms, from Biggest Loser to Celebrity Fit Club.  And I. Hate. Them. All.

But this is not blind hatred, oh no.  I definitely have my reasons.  I think these shows are a slap in the face to any and every single person who attempts to lose weight.  Because these show manipulate reality.  First off, it seems like these contestants lose ridiculous amounts of weight during a week.  Former contestants have come forth to state that what was intended to represent a week in real life is not an actual 7 day period of filming.  So, they may take 2 weeks of film, and compress it for an episode to appear as a week.  Hence, people lose 10 or more pounds from one episode to the next.  In reality, losing that much weight in a 7 day period is NOT healthy.  And when "normal" people cannot attain that rapid weight loss, they get frustrated and give up.

Also, segregating contestants from everyone else in the world for weeks, where their only focus is exercise and a precise diet is not preparing them for the real world.  What happens to that person when they work forced overtime for a week and can't get to the gym.  What happens to that person when they go to a party with all unhealthy foods.  Teaching diet and exercise is wonderful, but do it in a way that is applicable to the real world,  not the reality show eutopian bubble in which the contestants exist.

And people say, but these shows are supervised by doctors.  Well, come on, you think those doctors are not getting paid?  And just because someone is a doctor, that does not make them ethical, or above the allure of reality show fame.  After all, Michael Jackson got his drugs from a doctor too.

The newest show in this vein is called Shedding for the Wedding, and it is couples competing to see who can lose the most weight before their wedding.  The winner gets the wedding of their dreams.  This makes me so sad.  These women probably feel horrible about themselves, and the couples that lose will probably not even enjoy their weddings as much as they would have, had they never gone on the show.  Trying to lose weight for your wedding is wonderful, but I think the show degrades these couples.  Why not focus on something more important, like preparing for your marriage?

I am all for people trying to lose weight to improve their health and self esteem.  But if you want inspiration, read about a woman named Kelli Mapes, instead of watching this trash.