Monday, July 11, 2011

Weight Loss Reality TV - Motivation Or Fear Factor?

Just caught a segment on Good Morning America about LaRhonda Darby who lost 203 pounds via the Extreme Makeover - Weight Loss Edition reality show. First of all my congratulations for the momentous task that she undertook and succeeded at!  My comments are in no way meant to downplay what she accomplished.

In the GMA segment they of course showed video clips about her GRUELING weight loss experience.  In fact, according to a news report from TMZ she was actually hospitalized at one point due to dehydration. 

During the interview the concept of  "motivating others" came up, but as I was watching all the snip-its of LaRhonda Darby's brutal weight loss battle I begin to wonder if instead the opposite was happening in the minds of other overweight people, to the tune of "IF THAT"S WHAT IT TAKES,  I'M HAPPY TO STAY FAT!"

Now most of us realize, that this is reality TV full speed ahead, where the real goal is ratings, thus everything has to be tailored to generate the highest level drama, suspense, and emotion, so as to entertain the viewers and keep them tuned in.

So I am not blaming LaRhonda, she really should be an inspiration to others. proving that the task can be done.  But I have a lot of problems with weight loss being turned into entertainment, because these reality shows aren't very realistic.  And in a nation of ever increasing numbers of fat people - one stat says 63.1% of Americans overweight in 2009 - we need a healthy dose of reality as to how the average person can lose weight without killing themselves or taking on herculean tasks.

First of all, who can devote themselves full-time to the endeavor - most of us have to work and/or raise a family.  Second, most of us do not have access to a dedicated  professional  trainer. Third, safe sustainable weight loss is a slow process that involves a lifestyle change that can be maintained forever, not just until the pounds are gone.  Finally, the average person who wants to lose weight, is only looking at 10-20 pounds which certainly doesn't require such an arduous experience as taken on by those we see in prime time TV.

Watching one of these shows could be just the thing to ensure that the average person NEVER even takes a stab at weight loss, simply because they feel they could never deal with the aggressive measures shown on TV.  

The power of weight loss entertainment TV - motivation or fear factor?????

Again - not being critical of LaRhonda Darby - she did something amazing and I don't want to take anything away from it.  My 70 pounds of weight loss are very paltry in comparison to her 203 pounds...

1 comment:

  1. As a fitness coach I try to stress the importance of finding exercises that my client not only can do but actually enjoys doing as well. The days of "No pain, no gain" should be long gone. A successful "diet" isn't based on the actual plan. In fact, success comes to those that can do their program day in and day out. Don't limit yourself to what you see on T.V. Your imagination is your only limit. If you like looking at birds, try incorporating a long walk to where the birds are. If you don't want to go to the gym buy a book about bodyweight exercises.