The Biggest Loser Controversy

Alright, you guys. A few weeks have passed now since Rachel Frederickson caused an uproar was named the season finale winner of The Biggest Loser after losing 60 percent of her original body weight. At 105 pounds, she won the grand prize of $250,000. I’ve thought a lot about this, and I want to dedicate a post to this subject today.

Rachel Frederickson The Biggest Loser[Source]

Before I share my thoughts, I want to say that yes, I watch The Biggest Loser. I watch the show for entertainment (isn’t that why anyone watches something?) and to relax on Tuesdays after I get home from the gym. I like watching the different competitions that the contestants take part in, I walk away from each episode with at least one new exercise idea, and I’m definitely a sucker for the heart wrenching stories that each contestant shares with the world over the course of the season. Plus, Dolvett is kind of hot, amiright?

However, I also want to say that no, I do not agree with everything promoted or done on the show. This shouldn’t come as a huge shock, but I don’t believe that the practices encouraged on The Biggest Loser are the healthiest ways to lose weight. First of all, nothing about the “reality” show is realistic when you think about it. The participants move to The Biggest Loser ranch where they are displaced from their families, jobs, other commitments, and LIFE. Of course weight loss will occur when put in a controlled environment without access to high calorie food. Of course weight loss will happen when working out for four to six hours a day. In any other setting, someone consuming this little caloric content while working out this much may be diagnosed with anorexic athletica or exercise bulimia. Scary. I also don’t love how the competition is based on only one number, the one on the scale. As a personal trainer myself, I would never scream in someone’s face, although that’s part of the entertainment factor for me. Finally, I can’t stand some of the promotion that takes place for the show’s sponsors. Foods that simply are NOT healthy and are full of chemicals are advertised as being THE solution to living a healthy lifestyle. Oy.

Despite these things, I still watch the show, and I watched the season finale this year. In full disclosure, my first reaction when Rachel stepped onto the stage was a loud gasp. I said out loud, “oh my God, she’s way too skinny.” I felt upset that David, my favorite contestant from the beginning, probably no longer stood a chance at winning. I felt sad that Rachel, who in my opinion looked AWESOME at the second to last episode, let herself get to “this point” and that thousands of young girls would now be looking to Rachel for inspiration on their own weight loss journeys. It seemed like the trainers and some of the other contestants, based on their reactions, shared my sentiments.

Rachel Frederickson - The Biggest Loser[Source]

I borderline obsessed thought about this for days after the finale aired. Maybe that makes me a weirdo since I don’t actually know these people in real life, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt like my initial reaction to Rachel’s weight loss was downright wrong.

Because who am I to judge how someone else looks? Who am I to define what is healthy for another person? Who am I to say that someone looks too big or too small? What business do I have body shaming anyone, whether it’s someone I know, a contestant on The Biggest Loser, or you as a reader of my blog?

What it comes down to is that I don’t have enough information to judge Rachel in either direction, healthy or not. Yes, my first reaction (along with thousands of others based on the social media backlash/outcry) was to say that Rachel looked shockingly “skinny.” But is it really that shocking? The girl was competitive by nature, which we saw throughout the entire season. She was competing for $250,000 to lose as much weight as possible. What would you do for $250,000? Everyone seems to be in an uproar over how much weight Rachel lost in the time she was back home before the season finale, but nobody seems to be paying any attention to the huge numbers that ALL Biggest Loser contestants drop week after week. When it comes down to it, is there really much of a difference?

I feel a little sick for Rachel, because she has been and will continue to be, the unfortunate target of body shaming. Don’t you guys think that Rachel was probably body shamed a LOT when she weighed almost 300 pounds? First she’s “too fat,” and now she’s “too thin.” Despite being the season finale winner, the girl just can’t win.

I guess my takeaway from all of this is to just proceed with caution when being quick to judge someone, in any aspect of life. I hope I don’t sound like I’m preaching, because this is definitely something I can work on myself. You just never know what someone might be going through. It’s unfortunate that people like to quickly share their opinions and thoughts, often without actually putting much thought into them at all. A couple of months ago, someone at work told me that they thought I looked “too skinny” and asked if I was eating enough. They may not have realized it, but those words actually really affected me and hurt my feelings. In the same month, a different person told me that I looked too muscular. That was only two people, so I can’t even imagine how Rachel feels, being at the mercy of everyone’s shaming. What is one thing to someone is another thing to another, but it all leads to the same result: let’s not be so quick to judge.

–Let’s chat–
Do you watch The Biggest Loser? What do you like or dislike about it? What were your thoughts on the season finale this year?

For more thoughts on The Biggest Loser season finale, check out these reads: