I’ve never really watched much of the Channel 10 show, “The Biggest Loser.”
However I’ve seen enough to question how it could be that a contestant who lost 13kg IN A WEEK could be berated by the trainers for not being “fair dinkum.”
Questions were raised about his effort in training, his adherence or otherwise to his eating plan and his general all round attitude.
Now it should be said, I’m talking about “Big Kev,” or – as his passport would say – Kevin, who upon entering the house weighed approximately 250kg.
This was manna from Heaven for the producers, as they were able to build up his arrival in the competition by promoting him as “The World’s Biggest Loser Contestant – EVER.”
This used to pass for entertainment in the olden days too – they were called Freak Shows.
I’m not criticizing Big Kev. Rather I’m criticizing the way in which Channel 10 and the producers have used Big Kev to boost ratings.
As he was put through his paces, he had (apparently qualified) trainers Shannan and Michelle yelling at him to “put in”. They dismissed his claims that he was sore, or that his feet hurt.
Now I only have 4 years of a Physical Education Degree, and 20+ years of fitness training behind me, but I would suggest that when a previously sedentary 250kg bloke is made to exercise at intensities that would make most of the people reading this very article huff and puff, there’s a fair chance he might get sore, or his feet may hurt.
After being vilified for a week or so, Big Kev took to the scales to demonstrate a 7 day weight loss of THIRTEEN KILOS!
Was he met with a congratulatory pat on the back?
No – again his commitment was brought into question. Obviously the trainers and producers were looking for a figure (no pun intended) that would make headlines worldwide to boost ratings and future salaries… maybe 20kg in a week? 25kg? Really what were they thinking?
I know that the Biggest Loser is not meant to reflect “real life.” I know they have medical staff on hand to tend to the inevitable health scares that crop up, but the problem is that thousands upon thousands of people – among them many teenagers – are watching this.
People who may struggle with their physical health, nutritional habits or body image, and here they have a half dressed Michelle Bridges lambasting a contestant because he only lost 13kg in a week.
To put this into context, most nutritionists recommend a healthy rate for weightloss is around 1-2kg per week. Big Kev was losing this PER DAY!
The fact that contestants are eliminated on a weekly basis because they haven’t lost enough weight only serves to further highlight that this show has no intention of genuinely addressing the health issues of “The Next Generation.”
But then a more supportive, less confrontational or sensationalized, more realistic approach to the wellbeing of kids wouldn’t get the ratings would it?
Author: Dan Haesler, he is a teacher, consultant, and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminars He writes for the Sydney Morning Herald and blogs at http://danhaesler.com/ and tweets at @danhaesler