Biggest loser…biggest winner?

So the other day I was doing a little channel surfing in between bouts of studying for FINALS (aka please kill me now!) and I happened upon a new show that I had been wanting to check out…”Losing it with Jillian Michaels”.  Some of you may have heard of Jillian Michaels from her other famous show, “The Biggest Loser”.

The premise of this show, is slightly different from Biggest Loser.  Jillian basically is making housecalls.  One “lucky” family gets her to stay in her house for a week.  Usually one (or all) of the family members are extremely overweight and often facing serious problems that come with being overweight (diabetes, heart disease, hypertension..etc).  The family members of course evaluated by a doctor, and then Jillian arrives, guns blazing, ready to turn the family around in a week.  After a week of grueling workouts (with typical Jillian Michaels behavior — yelling in your face, berating you, and being a drill sergeant), “lifestyle” changes — such as cleaning out an entire house of one of the contestants who was a hoarder, and lessons on nutrition and healthy eating, Jillian departs to return 6 weeks later and check on the family’s progess…AND award them with money from www.JillianMichaels.com.

Certainly, the idea of making life changes and moving towards being healthy is great.  But I have to say, I think the message that this show ultimately sends is this “Lose weight fast!  And make money too!”  What happens to these families a year later…when they no longer are getting daily guidance from Jillian and no longer have the monetary incentive to stay healthy?  In my own personal life, when I finally lost weight, it wasn’t because I hadn’t tried before…it was because being healthy became a way of life.  Waking up in the morning, going for a run, and eating healthy the rest of the day (for the most part!) became a part of my ROUTINE.  The incentive was getting my life back and having control of MY DESTINY.  Certainly the families that opted to participate in the show wanted to lose weight.  But I think the overall message that this sends is that losing weight is quick and easy, whereas the healthy way to lose weight and keep it off is much more gradual — making small, healthy changes that really count.  Losing weight isn’t quick or easy, there isn’t some magic pill or procedure that will make it come off.  Losing weight is a frustrating.  It’s a struggle.  It’s hard work.  I’m not gonna sugar-coat that one.  But once you establish healthy habits and make them routine, maintaining that lifestyle is easy in comparison.  It’s just a matter of getting off your butt and making a change — and you don’t need Jillian Michaels to do that, you just need to believe in yourself.

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