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.’

Fat Tuesday

I’m introducing a new feature to my blog.  DSC_2873Fat Tuesday.

It’s because I’m fat.

Last summer I wrote an article for a new magazine called Unfiltered.  The magazine is a view of the youth ministry life outside the church walls.  My article (on the struggle to lose weight) garnered some attention….and I was offended.  I know, right?  Most authors love it when their musings get noticed.  But I was a little mad.

I have written LOTS of stuff on youth ministry.  I’m passionate about it.  I’m pretty good at it.  And I love investing in the youth ministry community!  So I was a little trepidatious when the editors asked me to write something on weight struggles.  It took some time to get something on the page, so finally I just threw in the towel and stopped trying to write a ‘good’ article…and I just wrote.

With this article, I was writing about something I was NOT passionate about.  I was writing about something I hate about myself.  I was writing about something I have failed at for 40 years…and this wasn’t a success story from which anyone could really benefit.  My publisher and editor were reveling   My youth ministry colleagues were complimenting.  Even my wife quietly assured me that it was the best thing I’d ever written.  And I was heart-broken.  I wanted my most revered writing to be about youth ministry, not my huge and clearly visible failure.

That being said, the article forced me to face some areas of my life that are not shiny and pretty and perfect.  And the article became cathartic for me…for a while.  I began to rewire some of my thinking.  I started losing some weight.  I began a journey to wholeness.  I thought it was a game changer.  I was wrong.

It was a strong first half (or whatever those sports analogies are for starting out strong…I’m not really a sports guy.)  But the game is still being played.

And as I was evaluating my blog, I realized that I do not write ministry stuff here because I’m an expert or successful.  I write about it because I’m still in the fight.

And so I introduce to you Fat Tuesday — not because I am an expert.  But because I’m still fighting.  You’ll find some of my personal journey here each Tuesday.  Sometimes pithy.  Sometimes raw.  Always authentic – because when we hide our weaknesses, we lose the game.

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