Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Biggest Loser: Final cut

Just a warning, this is a super-spoiler post. If you don't want to know what happened on "The Biggest Loser" this week, go read my fluffy post from earlier today. I actually forgot that today was TBL review day!

This week was all about how much the contestants had changed in 17 weeks. They showed the contestants their first workout with the trainers and recreated some of the moves, demonstrating both how different they looked and how much stronger they were. Other than Ron, all of the contestants are so thin now that it's hard to remember what they looked like when they arrived. Seeing the tape inspired Tara to pull out a little black dress that she had brought with her as goal clothing, and it looked absolutely amazing on her. Helen also looked great in her skinny jeans, and Mike pulled out his goal jacket. I think that putting on real clothes helped inspire them, because those three were the ones who were in no danger of elimination. Amazingly, Tara has never set foot "below the yellow line," which is probably the only reason she made it to the finals.

The most annoying thing about this season is the contestants' tendency to choose to keep weaker players around instead of welcoming competition. Filipe and Ron had the lowest percentage of weight loss this time, and instead of keeping Filipe around, Helen and Tara chose to get rid of the person they perceived as the biggest threat. They must not know how to do math, because even though Ron hasn't lost a ton of weight yet, he was the biggest player at the start and still could surprise them with a huge weight loss. The final four contestants have a month to go home and lose as much as they can for one last pre-finale weigh-in. I don't think Ron going to step back and let himself be the next one cut. He is going to go home and use all the crash-diet tricks he knows to knock one more person out of the competition.

I'd like to recast the final four as:
  • Tara
  • Kristen
  • Mike
  • Nicole
That would be a competition worth seeing.

If there is a next season, I hope that NBC gets rid of the team idea. It seems to have encouraged a sort of gameplay that takes what should be a show about weight loss and turns it into Fat Survivor.

There is still something to admire in the show, though. The contestants have only been on the ranch for 17 weeks. In Week One, the contestants had to climb over one sand hill and they all struggled and had to help each other out. This week, they had to climb 17 of them, carrying a pack that contained 17 bags of sand equal to their weight loss from each week. They had to climb each hill and dump the sandbag representing each week's loss. The contestants all finished it (though Ron got help from his son, who carried his weight for him). It was meant to show the contestants how hard it was to carry that weight around, but it is obviously much easier to be a fit person carrying 170 pounds of sand in a bag than to be a person carrying 170 pounds of extra fat. This was underscored when each of the contestants had a follow-up visit with the show's doctor and saw how much their size, their medications, their health risks, etc., had changed in just 17 weeks. The show attributes this mainly to the weight loss, but it's clear that it's actually also because of the exercise and diet changes. Even before the contestants had lost a significant amount of weight, they were already able to ditch medications for long-term chronic illnesses like high blood pressure and diabetes.

I wish the show would highlight that more, because I think that people watching the show could easily be led to believe that they have to lose 100 pounds or more before they would see any benefits, and that would be discouraging. If they focused more attention on how even a small weight loss accompanied by lifestyle changes helped the contestants, I think more viewers would be motivated into action.


  1. I just started watching the show this season and I'm enjoying it a lot.

    What bothers me is that any weight loss under 5 pounds is looked at as a failure. I am thrilled to have a 1 pound weight loss.

  2. The people on the show are eating, sleeping, breathing weight loss. They have hours each day to exercise and rest and fix healthy foods. I think it's fair to expect more from them than what people can achieve in the real world where they have jobs and families and social lives. It isn't fair, however, to expect TBL-style results from yourself when you don't have the same advantages.

  3. Fabbo stuff Jen... I can't believe it's nearly over! Will miss your recaps. I saw some of the Aussie TBL when I was over there and it was simultaneously inspiring and cringeworthy, hehe :)

  4. Fat are totally right about that!

  5. Hey Jen, great recap! I loved the sandbag challenge. Such a therapeutic exercise for them all.

    I'm pulling for Tara now. She deserves to win. But I bet Mike does. In 2 weeks we'll find out!

  6. Totally agree with your "recast final 4".

    I will be completely beside myself if Ron figures out a way to win this thing. My only hope is he is in the bottom 2 next week. Surely America will not vote for him??!?!?!?!


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07