Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Biggest Loser Finale: Going too far?

I've watched the Biggest Loser since season one. I know a lot of people have a lot of opinions on it - and many have been critical. I haven't really been a critic. Personally I've always found a way to be inspired and entertained by show. I think there are some good messages in there even if rapid, large weight loss is unrealistic for most. Plus I love Dolvett :)

I thought this season was OK. It took me a little while to really warm up to the players but by the end I was really rooting for Rachel. She is a bright, beautiful young woman. She has the heart of an athlete that was trapped in a body that didn't match her spirit.  She killed the sprint triathlon and week after week she worked harder than anyone else and week after week she proved her toughness, perseverance and strength on the scale.

Rachel before

But now it seems that same amazing drive and focused personality could be backfiring.

I'm not a doctor and perhaps her nearly 60% of her body weight drop is OK for her. Perhaps carrying a mere 105 pounds on her frame is OK. I'm not an expert but I have to say she didn't look healthy and I was alarmed and I wasn't the only one.

Twitter lit up with worry and criticism. Hell, even Jillian and Bob couldn't hide concern when Rachel appeared and check out the contestant in red behind Jillian.

But Rachel was unaware of the shock she sent. She stood there, beaming with pride. Her hard work apparent for the world to see! She did it. She took on the challenge she was given and worked hard, stuck to her diet and literally worked her ass off. She was proud and then she was rewarded by nailing better than any of the other contestants the goal of the entire show: Biggest Loser!

Oh boy.

My fear as someone who struggles with weight and balance is that she could potentially be developing a disorder. She's felt "punished" and felt her relationship dramatically change with her Dad when she put on the weight and now she's been encouraged and celebrated week after week for taking her weight loss to new heights.

Has it all gone too far?

Maybe this is a healthy weight for her. I know plenty of very naturally slim people who would be offended by the idea that they were unhealthy just because they are uncommonly slim. Many of them can't gain weight if they try. But my gut says that for Rachel, it might have crossed over to a not so healthy place and it really isn't her fault. I can't blame her. When you live in the mind and body of a fat person it takes a long time for you to realize that you're thin. When I lost my weight I thought I went from a size 18/20 to a 12 and I was thrilled. My stylist friend thought 12 was too big for me but you couldn't tell me that. I believed that was my size - until she made me try on what I thought was a ten and it fit! Wow a ten! Only it wasn't a ten - it was a six. I was a size six / eight but my brain, despite the weight on the scale didn't register that. I am sure Rachel is not registering her size. Even the scale is deceptive for her. She is potentially living in varying states of "I can't believe I'm doing this!" Constant pats on the backs and an intense fear of letting it all slip to shit and eventually putting the weight back on. Even if someone says to her, "you're looking a little thin" she's not going to take it as concern - she's going to take it as a compliment - surely (fat her) couldn't be too thin. Especially with how fast the weight came off - her brain hasn't caught up to the body yet.  It could be dicey.

My hope is that she just got this thin for the show, to win the big prize and that her weight will normalize to what is healthy/happy for her and she'll comfortably maintain that.

My fear is that we've created a real issue. Someone who will obsessively count calories, fret over any ounce gained... Did we hand this girl an eating disorder?

By the way, Rachel wasn't the only one that flirted on the maybe too thin side. Runner-up Bobby looked like he had perhaps lost a wee too much too.

Only time will tell.

Did you see the show?



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