I'm now on Day 2 of my weekend resting marathon, continuing to lie in bed (a little grammar note: you lie, not lay, in bed--maybe one day I'll bend your ears with an explanation of that common error...) and trying desperately to avoid total frustration!
For better or for worse, we have a TV in our bedroom, a leftover from my many months of convalescence from two surgeries a few years ago. In the past day and a bit, I have been spending too much time watching TV. This morning, I decided to swallow my bile and watch "The Biggest Loser", more or less from start to finish. In my opinion, it was disgusting.
TBL is an entertainment program that thinks it's rendering a public service. The media is all abuzz with America's obesity crisis so it's not surprising that an enterprising network soul decided to cash in on the hysteria and create TBL. Ooh, what fun! Pitting people against each other, tears, fake praise ("this guy is like a brother to me, the best person I've ever known...but here's your name--oops, your head--on a platter and you're out of here"), anger, insults and the promise that finally, you, the fat slob, will come out of the fatsuit and emerge as a beautiful swan.
I've got to digress here. TBL reminds me so much of a character in the Archie comic books. I don't remember her name and I don't know if she's still part of the Archie cast of characters, but does anyone remember the ugly, fat girl? I remember an issue where this girl was somehow transformed into a gorgeous, perfectly coiffed and dressed slim girl. Then, just as suddenly, the beautiful body burst apart and out emerged the ugly, fat girl that everyone knew and (didn't) love. The transformation had been real, but only temporary and the poor girl had to go back to her miserable, fat existence.
Of course, this is not the message that TBL is trying to transmit. However, that is precisely what will no doubt happen to a number of the contestants and viewers. Instantaneous just doesn't work. And by "instantaneous", I mean the length of one TV season. Creating a radical change by taking people out of their normal environment and imposing a totally unrealistic regimen of diet and exercise on them will yield quick results...quick and usually fleeting.
I was also horrified to see how destructive it is to a person's self-esteem to "only" lose a pound or two in a week. On the episode I just watched this is exactly what happened to two of the women contestants. I think that one must never forget the influence of monthly hormonal fluctuation on women's weight loss. It can never be overstated. I saw two women crushed by their failure. OK, maybe they were "asked" by the producer to look so crestfallen, but this is not healthy, either for them and for viewers, who I suspect often know little about the factors that make for consistent and permanent weight loss.
Superficial and psychologically violent--TBL is a big winner for the network and its advertisers. Is it a significant player in helping people to reach better physical and psychological health? I think not.
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