Weight loss. It seems to be on almost everyone’s list. Whether it’s those last nagging 5-10 lbs or 100lbs.
There’s one thing everyone probably feels the same on… they want the weight gone and they usually want it gone fast.
Instant gratification. Instant results. Look lean overnight. No flab. Fit. “Toned”.
It just doesn’t happen. You don’t get fat over night and you won’t get thinner over night.
Enter shows like “The Biggest Loser”. A game. A competition. Winner takes all prize money and the claim of winning… not to mention a smaller body than what they started with. Shows like this tell us lies about healthy living. They tell lies about what you need to do to have a level of success in becoming more fit.
Sadly, I’ve always viewed it as a show gambling with peoples lives. I always wondered what the real health effects could be to those who participated. Some of these people are well… huge… and they have them doing so much hard work and doing it like… a zillion times a day with a huge calorie deficit. What consequences could they suffer ?
The show also shows us some lies I believe we’re led to believe about weight loss.
Well interestingly enough an article just came out this week that I’ve been following…and can I say …. I have a lot of thoughts on it? Perhaps you’ve seen it on TV or the internet.
I mean… my two cents worth… but some of the things trouble me.
I’m certainly no “expert” or “professional” but I do view weight loss in a sane and practical manner. It’s worked for many and also people I know and have worked with.
The article overall was pointing out that the contestants metabolisms had slowed because of the extreme process they put their body through losing weight ( no surprise there) and that nearly all had gained their weight back ( and a few gained back more weight) the article cited that their bodies basically fought to get back to an ideal weight and that’s why they were gaining the weight back.
Ok… I do believe that we all have a weight “zone”. That is a place where our bodies are naturally, and biologically meant to be. It explains why you might think you want to weight 150… and you’re at 155… and you work like crazy to achieve that number… but without constant, rigid, determined discipline… you will go back to 155. YET…. it’s probably easier and more sustainable for you to stay and hold that weight than it is at 150 because your body might be naturally designed, biologically, to be at the 155 weight.
Personally, I’ve found that to be true. As an athletic person I’ve realized I have a weight that I see when I’m in heavy training. I’m super lean and don’t ever have to think much about what I’m eating ( no, I don’t eat whatever, I still eat healthy) I realized when I’m not in heavy training ( like running 40-50 miles a week) by body naturally went back to where I was before heavy training. It’s a weight that I stay within 5 lbs of one way or the other. I don’t stress over it and I don’t think much about it. It’s pretty sustainable for me… meaning I don’t have to rigidly control my eating or exercise in unhealthy ways to stay there.
There is no way I can sustain the heavy training I do for a marathon or when I was ultra training, all the time. No matter how much mentally I might want to do it. Naturally, that kind of exercise will keep me pretty lean.
Same with contestants on this program. They worked them out 3-4 times a day. They worked out for 7 hours a day, every day. One man reported burning 8,000-9,000 calories a day.
Do you see a problem here ??
Without this high level of calorie output, something will give.
Then, you take people who have been in a pretty deprived environment of all things they’ve loved… involving food….. you restrict them in crazy ways… they are hungry all the time….
then when the show is over…. they go back to their life… and here is what I believe ( and again, just my own thoughts and opinions)
you can put someone through the paces of losing weight by exercising them hard and drastically cutting calories, but if there isn’t a mental change with food… we’ve got problems boys and girls.
If they haven’t learned to build new positive habits to replace the negative or if they don’t have an understanding of WHY they eat… we’ve got problems.
People don’t weigh hundreds of pounds without there being deeper issues and problems that need addressed. If there hasn’t been behavioral changes they will go right back to what they know and what feels comfortable.
Yes, they all probably have some metabolic issues now due to what they put their bodies through. But when you gain back hundreds of pounds, that is an eating issue. There is no way someone’s “ideal” weight is 400 lbs. or 300 or whatever. You don’t get to that weight without eating food…and a lot of it.
So when they go back to old eating habits, and aren’t exercising in the insane way they did during the show… the writing is on the wall… and when they’ve been taken so far in the rapid weight loss direction ( because it’s so fast and crazy) their body will respond and start adding weight back on. Call it our bodies survival mode kicking in.
The article does say they are encouraged to exercise at least 9 hours a week and monitor their diets to keep the weight off. This is certainly sane and practical advice…but they have to do it.
This now becomes their responsibility…. and if they have the same negative habits in place or aren’t strong enough in new ones… they will slide back.
One contestant talks about how two treats can turn into a 3 day binge. Binge eating will obviously lead to a return of weight.
One man is only eating 800 calories a day in the “real” world. 800! Talk about messing with your metabolism.
Ok.. I will just say the whole article kinda left me with my mouth hanging open. One mans workout “routine” after the show….. was nothing short of brutal… workouts all through out his day…hours… and with hardly enough food to support all of his exercise. No wonder his body didn’t want to give up fat.
I’ll tell you what troubles me most over this whole thing….well there’s a couple things….
First, I’m worried that overweight/obese people will see this and say… “well, see I’m just meant to be this way because it’s natural, biological” and try and justify it…kinda like the new “I have a thyroid disorder” reason for not being able to lose weight or being heavy ( and for the record… I have thyroid issues so I can say that.) I’ll say it again… no one is biologically meant to naturally, and in a healthy way, weigh hundreds of pounds.
The BIGGEST thing that got me in that article?
this line….”the only way to maintain weight loss is to be hungry all the time.”
Why on earth do you think people fail at it? They hate being hungry! I hate being hungry. We aren’t meant to walk through our days miserable, hungry, and constantly thinking about food. The next meal. The next thing we can put in our mouth.
That is disordered thinking.
We have a life to live and it shouldn’t be focused on when we can consume our next meal, or being so hungry it’s all we can think about.
I lost weight slowly and steadily over a period of a couple years. I didn’t starve myself. I ate food. I learned to eat the right amounts of food. I didn’t walk around hungry ’cause I’m not into that kind of sick pain 😉 It’s what has kept me successful… and others too who do this… you eat to lose weight and you don’t live in a state of being hungry.
Again, I’m certainly not some expert but I think this article and the show in itself reveal a few things .
- Slow, steady weight loss is what is required for it to be sustainable and lasting.
- Fueling our body with adequate and healthy foods with purposeful exercise is really the only way to achieve those goals of weight loss.
- You are not on a time frame to make it happen. Live your life one day at a time, seeking to make good choices, forgiving yourself for not so good days and continuing to take steps forward.
- Don’t quit. Know that things are going on even if you can’t sometimes “see” anything.
- Without changing our negative habits, and understanding our relationship with food and why and when we eat it, lifestyle change will be hard.
- More isn’t always better. This is a huge lie. The extreme measures people went through show us that exercising for hours during the day and drastically reducing our food will contribute to metabolic issues and our bodies will fight back against these things.
If you are working to lose weight remember there are no quick fixes or extreme measures to permanent success. There are no magic pills, potions, drinks or elixirs to make you thinner. (use that money to buy good food!) Putting on weight takes time, and taking off weight takes time. Don’t buy into overhyped lies that try to tell you any different.
So dear readers, have you read the article on The Biggest Loser contestants? What do you think about it? Do you ever think such extreme measures are successful? What has helped you be successful in weight loss?