The Biggest Loser – Is This ‘Reality?’

Pardon me while I remove my kid gloves…they will not be necessary. Those easily offended should switch channels right now and check out what’s on Lifetime.”Reality television.” You have to hand it to the geniuses from TV Land for coming up with this gem. “Let’s just show people life at its worst, hey, we’ll make BILLIONS!”

It worked. “It” almost always works.

“It” is the insatiable desire to stoop continually lower in order to draw out what’s left of our animal instincts. It s the process of force-feeding our senses with visual junk food to the point where reality becomes nothing more than a grim blur a distant line we once drew in the sand, now stirred by the winds of impatience and greed.

After all, Mr. Suave, our fictitious lord of TV Land, knows we’re tired of seeing people beat each other up, eat maggots while their 10-year-old kids participate, and checking out who will be sacked in the next boardroom meeting. He knows we want something really juicy. No worries there’s a new offering from our digital friends of fun, fame and instant wealth. Even better it’s disguised as TV that’s “good for you.” It’s manna from heaven, folks reality TV that helps people lose weight! What could be better than this?

Just about anything.

“The Biggest Loser.” The title says it all, doesn’t it? Perhaps Mr. Suave merely enjoys his double entendres.

The premise, in case you haven’t seen this living room dreck, is quite simple: get as many overweight people as possible to team up and see who can drop weight the fastest. The person who drops the most amount of weight (i.e. muscle, water, and a tad bit of fat) is awarded the honorary title of “Biggest Loser”, along with a hefty sum of cash.

My guess is the money will be used to pay for therapy and medical expenses this poor “loser” will one day incur after playing the “loss at any cost” game.

To be fair, it’s nothing most of us haven’t done in the past. You know the miracle diets, magic weight loss pills, and “no exercise” promises we’ve all fallen for? Yeah, those. The only difference is that our faces and bodies were not plastered all over the boob tubes in millions of homes, influencing people of all ages to replicate our insanity. Our reward? The hope of jeans that fit again. Millions of dollars would come only if we won the lotto.

Folks, this is the line in the sand. For years we’ve let Hollywood tell us how to think, how to be ‘cool’, what to wear, and even how to vote. Now Hollywood wants to tell us how to lose weight in prime time, no less. They have the solution to America’s growing obesity problem. It s penitence for a pound of flesh. The plot is as ancient as the Old Testament, as the movie “Seven” morbidly demonstrated. Only this time penitence comes with a reward in the form of pennies lots and lots of pennies.

The real loser here is the overweight American media hound. The desperate individual who struggles with their weight, becoming overly enthusiastic while watching someone lose 40 pounds in a week. I can hear the conversation now: “My nutritionist said a pound a week. HA! Look what JOE did!”

Of course, “Joe” is vomiting, depressed and pushed to the point of literal death in the process…but hey, he lost the weight, right?


Joe is ruining his life nothing short, lest you be deceived by the hype.

Joe (the names have been changed to protect the gullible) has just fallen into the trap most dieters have succumbed to for a long as man has tried to shed his dreaded spare tire. Weight gain, you see, is a slow process. No one gains 100 pounds in six weeks. But lord knows we demand to lose 100 pounds in six weeks! The kid in us screams, “I want it now!” We always seem to listen to that little inner brat.

Now we have our media hero, Mr. Suave, who calmly assures us that our inner screams will result in a dieting process that’s fun and healthy. Hey, it will even make someone really rich!

Mr. Suave’s inner child needs a spanking.

Believe it or not, there are supposed doctors, nutritionists and fitness trainers involved in the production of “The Biggest Loser.” All these people should be stripped of their titles and force-fed gallons of raw butter. OK…perhaps not. But I’m tempted. Talk about the devils leading the sheep. Sure, let’s give a ‘professional’ thumbs-up to this travesty of a television show. We’ll make the contestants and the American people feel all warm and fuzzy about it. It’s all in the name of ‘health’, isn’t it? Sure it is. And war is all in the name of peace.

Friends, we do not need a reality show about a “biggest loser.” We need a nation of real winners. We need a nation that takes responsibility for their health and weight. Part of that responsibility is dedication to patience and effort. By all means, this should be a pleasurable endeavor something the producers of “The Biggest Loser” would never want to air. God knows we all hate watching happy people on television in this day and age. Misery spikes the Nielsen ratings, you know.

For those of us with our eyes toward the future and away from the screen, pleasure, patience and progress must walk hand-in-hand.

Find a nutrition plan you can stick to for life, not until your wedding, high school reunion, or bikini weather. Make appropriate and realistic lifestyle changes in order to create the foundation for an existence of vitality. Take your body and your health into your own hands. Don’t rely on Hollywood or some fad diet pill to give you what you haven’t earned. The pleasure in this game of fitness is in the journey, and that journey is based on reaping what you sow. Trust me it’s better than the alternative. I’ve been on both sides of the fence.

I just hope this winner uses all that prize money to buy real food, perhaps hire an ethical nutritionist and trainer, and join a gym. My prayer is for this individual to wake up and actually make a lasting difference in their own life and in the lives of the people now watching their every move. He or she will be the “Jared” of this generation. Fame brings with it the responsibility of fame.

This unfortunate person will soon become an unfortunate role model. Let’s just pray that true reality sinks in during this journey. Don t be fooled again, as Roger Daltrey once screamed.

TV Land has cast its anchor and is reeling in the fish on this one. Sad to say, America is taking the bait and Mr. Suave could not be any more pleased with the haul. The real losers will be the winner of this farce, the people who buy into the drama, and the creators of The Biggest Loser when they face their Maker. They have resurrected the demon of Anything At All Cost, all in the name of Big Green.

Personally, I rest a bit easier knowing that karma has a vicious backhand.

Jon Benson is a Transformational Lifecoach who specializes in nutrition, fitness and “value-driven goal setting.” He the publisher of, a website dedicated to providing free nutrition and fitness information for men and women of all ages. His personal coaching program, “TTP-90: 12 Weeks To Total Transformation” boasts a 98% success rate. Jon uses his own background, one of ill-health and obesity, to set an example that anyone with the proper strategies and tools can achieve a greater level fitness. He is the co-author of “Fit Over 40: Role Models For Excellence At Any Age”, and the author of “Seven Minute Muscle,” and “The Every-Other-Day Diet.” Jon is also the creator of “MealPlanner,” the ultimate software program for planning and tracking your weekly nutrition.