It is still mystifying why the incredibly negative TV show “The Biggest Loser” is so popular. Even the show’s participants and fitness professionals admit that they drive contestants to their limits causing them to engage in behaviors that are anything but healthy for the mere chance to win $250,000.00. In these difficult economic times, most people would chew their own arm off for such a cash award. But even if you take into consideration the possible prize, something just doesn’t add up.
What is the reason that so many obese Americans are lining up to subject themselves to public humiliation on a national scale? What amount of money could justify an otherwise rational person putting themselves in a position where life-threatening dehydration is (non-verbally) promoted, physical and emotional exhaustion is guaranteed, risk of injury is tremendous for weight loss that is hardly long term?
Fat people are hated by some, ridiculed by most and feared by still more. As a matter of fact many people would rather die than become fat. Many harmful behaviors like starving, binging and purging, too many hours of vigorous daily exercise, and crash dieting are happening every day because it seems that everyone is scared to death of getting fat. Yes, being overweight has been medically proven to be unhealthy but so is smoking, drinking, and all of the other destructive behaviors just mentioned. Yet no one ever teases, screams at, makes fun of or degrades a person for doing any of those things.
One of the nastiest public icons who embodies promotion of such hatred towards the overweight is also the most popular, Ms Jillian Michaels herself. It speaks volumes that so many clap, laugh and cheer this fitness professional on as she screams and curses at individuals as the cameras roll. She then makes public comments about how pregnancy is so awful “that she just couldn’t do that to her body.” Which leads one to wonder, “What does she really think?” The final slap in the face of overweight people everywhere has got to be her appearance on a recent “Dog Whisperer” episode where she seeks the help of Cesar Millan in order to be able to “better communicate” with her animals. Cesar Millan didn’t scream, curse, or stand over Jillian Michaels or the animals nor did he get into anyone’s face while making degrading comments in an effort to “teach, inspire or motivate.” Yet he was just as, if not more effective than Jillian Michaels leading you to draw the conclusion that not only is it unacceptable to treat animals in this fashion but it is also counter-productive.
With every “Dog Whisperer” episode Cesar Millan demonstrates how everyone can better interact with animals thus providing a valuable public service. Perhaps if Ms Michaels would elevate fat people to the status of animals then she could find a way to motivate, guide and inspire them without degrading, humiliating or compromising their health in the process.
But then again, America wouldn’t get their weekly fix of instant gratification (from quick but temporary weight loss heroes) and the sideshow “The Biggest Loser” and “Losing it with Jillian” provides at the expense of their fellow human beings who are risking everything they have just so that they won’t be hated, taunted and feared by you anymore.