FAT TUESDAY: Biggest Loser’s Unintended Message

biggest-loserLots of fat people watch it.  Even healthies tune in.  NBC’s The Biggest Loser has been a cultural and weight loss phenomenon.

Little known fact to some who read this blog – I actually auditioned for Season 8 of the Biggest Loser.  I went through several rounds of casting before I got cut — and it was devastating.  Truly, I would rank it as one of the top three most disappointing, and in some ways disabling, moments of my life.

In the five years that followed, I picked up on some subtle messages that BL sends the viewers.

You aren’t a winner until you lose the weight.   Weight loss is worth any price – loss of dignity, endurance of abuse, ‘playing a game’.  Relationships only matter insofar as they benefit your position.

Don’t misunderstand – there are some really positive, life-changing messages, too – and I would jump on that show in one hot second.

But my life goal is not what it was five years ago…my intent is no longer ‘thin’.  Now…it’s ‘whole.’

Author: Darren Sutton

I've been in student ministry nearly 30 years…which generally just confirms how much I still don't know. Some days I'm the pizza-eating, over-responding, teaching-on-the-fly, desperate-for-volunteers, frustrated-with-co-workers youth leader that we all are. And sometimes…I knock it out of the park. I'm everywhere on social media that you are!

2 thoughts on “FAT TUESDAY: Biggest Loser’s Unintended Message”

  1. I too am a Biggest Loser Fan and many years watched it while eating snacks and even a few years would try to use it as motivation. Sad is finding out some of the ins and outs of the show and realizing that 60% of those that lose weight on the show gain it back or even more. It is great that it does provide inspiration or motivation to make life changes…it is sticking to them and making the choices needed to get to health. Health is not a number on a scale but making right choices and being intentional in changing what is now normal. I made that change in the last year and have seen some good results but there are days of ups & downs. I am with you on the goal not being “thin” but getting to the right mindset….thanks for sharing Darren!

  2. I agree with both of you (Darren and Scott). The Biggest Problem (see what I did there?) is that the show, the results, the motivation, the inspiration is all about reaching the “finish line”, which in this case would be the finale or trip or prize or whatever they get at the end of the season. This enforces a DIET mentality, which is why most of us can’t lose the weight AND keep it off, we yo-yo up and down, cursing every trip to Target to buy, yes ANOTHER, pair of jeans because the pair we have either won’t button or fall to the floor, even when wearing a belt. Diets come and go. I diet to reach a certain weight, then I stop doing what I was doing to get to that weight because I made it, and the vicious cycle continues. It needs to be about a life-long lifestyle change for health and not vanity of perfect abs or sculpted/chiseled/rippling anything.

    So, kudos for wanting to be “whole” instead of “thin”. Thin is overrated anyway ;). And I’m right there with you. 50lbs down for me in the last year and counting.

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