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Everyone’s a Winner, on Biggest Loser…

I have a good cry almost every week. I can predict when it will happen, Tuesday evening between 8 and 10 p.m., that’s when you’ll me glued to the TV, watching my favourite show, The Biggest Loser.

 It is without a doubt, the most inspirational and motivational show on TV. Despite it’s high ratings, many people I know haven’t given the show a chance.  Initially, they saw previews of overweight people being worked like dogs- yelled at by trainers – sobbing uncontrollably, and thought it was a show that ridiculed the obese; in fact, it’s the exact opposite, Biggest Loser saves lives.

 Contestants are chosen from video submissions, in which they explain their reasons for needing to be there, why they need to lose weight.  These men and women, young and old, have come to the realization if they don’t change their lifestyle, they will most certainly die prematurely.  Some weighing between 300 and 400 pounds, are already on medication for high blood pressure, diabetes and more.

 In addition to the obvious medical reasons for wanting to lose weight, contestants come with their own emotional baggage. Parents who feel guilt for having raised overweight children, wanting to become better role models.  Others, having lived the first half of their life as ‘the fat kid’ who don’t want to live the rest of their life that way. Some just want the ability to be physically active and play with their kids.

 The teams of two are made up of fathers/sons, mothers/daughters, best friends and husbands and wives. They push each other through a series of mental, physical and emotional challenges and intense workouts. The two teams with the lowest percentage of weight loss fall below the yellow line, one team ultimately being voted off by the other contestants. 

 This is usually when I reach for the Kleenex. Unlike other game shows where contestants are happy to wipe out an opponent, contestants on Biggest Loser are usually in agony over having to send someone home. They understand the reasons why each of them need to be there; in many cases, it’s a matter of life and death.  So it’s usually ‘with a heavy heart’ and much emotion, contestants are voted off.

 Who’s the driving force in this weight loss madness? Trainers Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper. Jillian is best known for her tough ass, in your face methods of motivating her team. Bob, heavily tattooed, but soft- spoken guy is seen as the nicer of the two. But both get results!

 Imagine yourself on your worst day hiking up and down a steep hill for hours in the hot sun. Now imagine yourself doing that carrying an extra 150 pounds! That’s what the contestants are up against. Barely able to walk without breaking a sweat when they arrive at the ranch, within weeks they are climbing mountains, pumping iron, and coming to life! The pounds begin to fall off immediately and after medical evaluations some are able to discontinue diabetes and blood pressure medication. It’s truly amazing.

 So you’re thinking you’re not overweight so you would have nothing to gain from watching the program. You couldn’t be more wrong.

 Watching Biggest Loser teaches you compassion, acceptance and understanding. You learn not to judge the book by the cover. Obesity isn’t all about the food. Many obese people are fighting emotional demons like loneliness, abandonment and low self-esteem, which got them to the weight they’re at.

 You will learn the importance of a healthy diet and exercise in your own life. You will learn that what seems impossible can be done with determination and persistence.  

 Watching Biggest Loser has inspired positive changes in my life. I’ve increased my workouts.

 I go the extra mile, especially on Wednesdays after watching Biggest Loser the night before, if that four hundred – pound guy can climb a mountain, I sure as hell can do the stair master.

 We used to have pie and a coffee while watching the show. No more. I no longer buy cookies and chips, replacing them with healthier choices.  I’ve learned water and sugar free gum are my friend.

At the finale of Biggest Loser the person remaining who has lost the highest percentage of weight loss is crowned the Biggest Loser.  They receive two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. More importantly though, they win back their life!  Not only are bodies transformed, (you don’t recognize them they look so fantastic), lives are transformed, self-esteem is restored and finally, these people have control of their life and hope for the future.

 This is one ‘game show’ on which everyone truly is a winner.

 Inspiring? Motivating?  Oh yeah!

Biggest Loser – have your Kleenex ready.




1. Hali - February 25, 2009

I don’t watch Biggest Loser, but I do feel their pain – maybe that’s why I don’t watch it. I would find it difficult to see what can become of people – unhappy souls lost under layers of fat. It would be even more difficult to watch those who don’t succeed. I think it’s admirable that the contestants appear on tv and let so many people see their vulnerabilities. More power to them and success in becoming the people they so desperately want to be.

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