Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It should be called...." Biggest Eating Disorder" instead!

Some of you friends out there are not going to agree with me on this.

There was a point in my life I wanted to be a contestant on the Biggest Loser. (No I have never been large enough to actually be considered....but I sent in a tape once) I thought about how great it would be to lose large amounts of weight in a short time. To have a trainer telling me what to do, and what to eat. To be able to only concentrate on losing weight, and nothing else. How great does that sound? Actually I should ask...How delusional does that sound?

I know some of you out there are so in love with the Biggest Loser...feeling that it is so inspirational. But when I have dissected the Biggest Losers is nothing but UNHEALTHY!

As someone who is currently healing and going through the recovery process of an active eating disorder (ED) I would love to point out...why this show drives many to unhealthy weight loss expectations, eating disorder behaviors and even eating disorders.

*Extreme Weight Loss in an Extremely Short Time Span!

When I first started treatment for my Ed I was told this by my therapist "A quick fix is bound for a quick failure". This is how I look at this show. These contestants are expected to lose an ridiculous amount in a short time. From my understanding most of the contestants gain back half and sometimes all of the weight they have lost after leaving the final show.

I can not remember who it was, there was a gentleman who broke a one week record of 31 pounds lost in one week (I might be off the figure a little). Though this is extraordinary, you have to consider that some of the weight loss is not body fat. There are 3,500 calories per pound of fat. That means he would have had to use more than 108,500 calories in that one week. This kind of fat loss would practically be science fiction, kind of like what you saw in the movie Nutty Professor with Eddie Murphy. Why is this? It goes back to "A quick fix is bound for a quick failure." (in addition to some other factors, which I will state.) That weight is bound to come back. Unrealistic!

Bringing me to the next point...UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS!

Is this kind weight loss is achievable? I must say that it appears that it can be. I remember when I lost an extreme amount of weight when I first aggressively started losing weight a few years back. I was literally eating nothing, less then 1200 calories, and burning an excess of 3000+ calories a day. I was working out at least 4 hours a day. Though it was possible to lose a lot of weight in one week as body fat, it felt like I was exercising from morning to night. I was also limited to a particular diet deplete of any junk-food. This is also the case for the Biggest Loser contestants. In the real world, you have your time filled with work, family, and only Heaven knows what else. They eat minimal calories and purge all of their calories through exercise. Some of you may say..."but you have to burn more calories then you eat to lose weight." But they way they are exercising is unhealthy. Many people think that "purging" is only done by self induced vomiting, however it is not. It is also done by laxative use, and EXCESSIVE EXERCISE! They work out for a minimum of 4 hours a day...that is considered excessive exercise. (sorry to break it to you.) That is not Healthy..I don't care who you are.

FYI...your body needs AT LEAST 1200 Calories a day to even run for a female and 1500 calories for a male (that is just to function) On the biggest loser ranch it is reported that most contestants eat less then 1100 calories a day (you do the math)

Exercising while on such low diet
You are losing tons of muscle, which is what burns the most calories for you. When the calories is too low, then the body is put in a semi-starvation state. As once body’s blood sugar supplies are used up, the body breaks down protein stores–muscle mass and enzymes to help create more blood sugar that the brain and blood cells needs to survive.
Not mentioning extreme exercise or over-exercising, just trying to exercise while on such low calories diet will worsen the situation, as the body’s starvation state is exacerbated because the exercise calls for even more energy.
Massive gain after massive loss
A millions of people shed massive of weight quickly, but they gained it back when they return to normal eating or normal life, because most of the weight loss is due to the muscle and fluid loss. And no one can sustain on 500-1000 calories for the rest of their life, and you cannot get all of the nutrients and vitamins your body needs with only 1000 calories.
In conclusion, stop dieting on such low calories and over-exercising, which is very unhealthy and very dangerous, and stop losing weight so quickly and make changes that you will actually be able to sustain for the long run, that’s how you will be able to maintain your weight and achieve long-term weight loss or fat loss.

Since I have been in treatment for Ed..and before I had Ava I gained 50% of my weight back...why? because I was eating such low calories, purging, and over-exercising. Believe me.....this is why most of the Biggest Loser Contestants gain their weight back. (or parts of it)

When a contestant on the Biggest Loser only loses 1,2,3,4 even 7 pounds they are devastated. just lost 4 pounds in a week AWESOME. Instead they are completely torn up about it...their teammates give them so much guff because of it...then you "fall below the yellow line"... Talk about a downer. This isn't good for their mental health, which can lead to eating disorder lies such as "the more weight you lose the more beautiful you are." or "you didn't lose enough weight you are a week you must eat less and burn more." UNHEALTHY!

Then there is the Humiliation Factor. It is completely degrading to put those people in those outfits to weigh in. As they are not already humiliated enough (yes I know they are the ones that applied for the show) to stand on the scale and let the whole world know they weigh 400 pounds, but they make them weigh no shirt, or sports bra, and tight shorts. Then when they are working out they are constantly yelled at by their skinny trainer who supposedly loves them, and told who pathetic they are. Some say it is tough love, but I don't see an ounce of love.

So now you know how this ED victim feels about the Biggest Loser...I think if you are looking to lose weight, that is wonderful and lovely....but trying it out biggest loser style isn't the way. We are way to quick to jump on the next biggest fad diet. Weight loss should be a lifestyle change and the road isn't fast to get there. "A quick fix is a quick failure."


Liz said...

I completely and totally agree with you! It is never safe to lose so much weight at once and you're right that it isn't effective! You are so much more likely to gain it back. I took years for us to create bad habits it make take time to work to create new habits, but the crash dieting and excessive exercise is NOT the solution! By the way, hang in there girl!

Mary said...

You're going to hate me now. Because I couldn't finish reading your article. While I understand your feelings and certainly "excessive" anything is not good for us, I think for some people -especially obese people who have 200 or 300 pounds to lose - their weight loss is going to be much different than people trying to lose 20 or 30 pounds. I also think "taking the stairs" or "drink more water" is fooling people. I think it is hard work. Dedicated. Every day. Sweating. "Purging through exercise" as you might say. Anyway, my opinion, I know. Your blog. :)

On a side note - this is the SECOND "issue" we've discussed, and a "don't be offended" blog post followed. I'm beginning to get a complex...

Marinda said...

I find the biggest loser really inspirational because the contestants are learning how to change their lives and are seeing that food isn't the answer when they have problems. I am excited for them when they lose the weight, but I'm more excited to see their ambition and zest for life come back after years of indulging and inactivity. I love the Biggest Loser and I watch it every week! I guess I won't invite you over for my finale party. :-)

Mary Ann Carlile said...

I don't think you were delusional at all to want to be on Biggest Loser, because I have always wanted to go to a "Fat Camp!" It would be a dream vacation of mine - the mountains, the fresh air, someone making me work my butt off, and planned meals where I can't cheat! Maybe one day...
While exercising 4 hours a day may be excessive for most, what about people like Shawn Johnson and Michael Phelps and other pro athelets who work out 8 hours a day? In the end, I just think that there needs to be a balance with it all.

That Girl said...

I think the goal to lose weight is inspirational...however it would be a lot more inspirational if they taught them how to live healthy, and in a year they lost the weight. Like I said many have not kept off the weight...and therfore have not learned how to live healthy. Also this post is coming from a person that struggles with weight loss issues.

Hogans Hotties said...

I agree with you COMPLETELY!!! I just think the show speaks for itself in not really working because they don't keep the weight off!!I do like the biggest loser, but i don't agree with their methods in that they try to lose so much weight such a short amount of time Lets try to put them in real life where they go to work, and get home and have kids and real life to deal with and have to make a quick meal and have to figure out when to go to the gym and incorporate a program that works in REALITY i think it would be tonz healthier and tonz more beneficial to actually learn something about keeping it off for good! I agree with you Kandis and always remember you are beautiful! Love you!

Danielle said...

I like the show. I have often thought the same thing (although I haven't actively tried to lose weight (but I totally need to!!!)). On the other hand, we don't see everything that goes on behind the scenes so how do we really know what they teach them there? And don't they go home for a month or something at the end? I haven't watched too much of it I guess, so maybe I shouldn't be commenting. Either way, I've cried at the end of every show. People's determination is AMAZING!!!

Burke Cynthia said...

I think it is almost impossible for obesely over weight people to conquer weight loss without seeing some durastic weight loss up front. It is a never ending road... even when your goal weight is acheived. You then have to focus on maintaining. Ron and his son Mike would have never done anything about it had it not been for biggest loser. Even if they put weight back on they will always no it is possible to take it off.
One of my biggest pet peves is to see an obese person say "diets don't work for me. I have tried them all" I say it's not the diet that is not working it's your lack of dedication, and self control that doesn't work.
I love biggest loser I think it is great to show us bigger people of the world you can exercise and diet and lose the weight. "IT IS POSSIBLE" and if they gain it back are they worse off? I don't think so. No matter how short of time they were their healthier thinner self they enjoyed it and now know how to get it back.
Love ya Kandis. Love your blog.