I'm not sure I can control the hate I feel for "The Biggest Loser". I know bad TV gets made every day; I only get 50-some channels, so I'm guessing I don't even see half the crap that gets made.
But "The Biggest Loser" is a problem for me because on national TV, it's putting out the message that every fat person can be thin, if they just work hard enough. Work out for 3 hours a day! Weigh everything you eat! Spend hours thinking about your body and how you can make it better! Do it, fatties! Because then you can WIN. BY BEING THIN.
In some ways, I think the message for fat people is getting more insidious with every year we wage this stupid 'War on Obesity'. Because I think people might be starting to get the point that it's not as easy as 30 min of exercise and a 'healthy diet' for everyone. But instead of something clicking in these peoples' heads, and instead of them realizing that thin might not be a worthy goal, they've double down and instead said: "Welp, if you're fat, you need to be thin. Ergo, you need to work out three hours a day. How can you not want to be thin, and thus want this for yourself? Forget a life; your life should be devoted to being thin." And I'm pretty sure that "The Biggest Loser" is playing to this audience like a love letter to thinness.
I don't know if anyone who's reading this saw the NY Times article about keeping it off (an article that made me sad for so many reasons), but it's worth looking at. The accompanying slideshow profiles a couple who have mostly kept if off (okay, mostly is relative; the woman had gained back 30 lbs) by obsessively (hear me: OBSESSIVELY) keeping track of food and exercise. No days off. Exercising for 2 hours a day, weighing all the food they eat, keeping written AND digital food journals. Stepping on the scale EVERY DAY, even on vacations. They're retired, so basically they've devoted their lives to thin. And the woman STILL gained back 30 lbs.
I was telling someone I know about this story. When she heard the details of the story from me, her response wasn't "Well, that isn't worth it" or "holy crap, that's not right". Her response was: "They must be doing it wrong. They need to see a nutritionist." Honestly, I can't believe those were the sentences that came out of her mouth. I was stunned. It seems self-evident to me that no one, point blank, should have to give over so much of their lives so that their bodies look a certain way. I don't WANT to work out three hours a day. And I don't think that makes me a bad person. I'm not suggesting, by the way, that this lady I was talking to DOES want to work out three hours a day. I'm sure she doesn't.
But I suspect that she might have been thinking that if she were a good person, she would want to work out three hours a day, so she could be thin. And I guess that's what I'm trying to say: shows like "The Biggest Loser", and stories like that one in the NY Times are saying that it's IMPERATIVE for a fat person to make the effort! And the effort isn't just 30 min of exercise anymore, or moderated eating. It's three hours of hard work (preferably with an attractive thin yelling at you) and weighed food, where dessert is a punishment and can make you lose at the game of life.
I don't want that life. I don't. And I don't think you can turn your nose up at me for turning that life down. I'm worried, though, that "The Biggest Loser" might be teaching you to.