Friday, December 15, 2006

The Biggest Loser

Erik, a deli owner from NY, was the winner for this season of The Biggest Loser. In the picture below, taken at the beginning of the show, this 35 year old man weighed in at 407 pounds.

By the end of the show, after the eighteen weeks (or whatever it was), Erik had dropped 214 pounds to finish at 193 pounds. He lost more than half of his body mass.

Here is the after picture:

I'm not a big fan of reality shows -- most of them seek to exploit or embarrass the people who go on them (The Amazing Race on CBS is an exception, and there might be others). But with The Biggest Loser, all the contestants have an opportunity, whether they win or not, to seriously impact and change the quality of their lives. All it takes is the desire to do it.

Everyone who competes gets a chance to learn proper eating skills, proper exercise techniques, and how to deal with the emotional aspect of who they are. Obviously, NBC shows the most dramatic moments these people face, but many of them seriously struggle with who they have been and who they are becoming.

The Biggest Loser might be a truly all-quadrant reality show -- which is not to say that it is integral. The show obviously deals with weight, diet, and exercise. It also deals with emotional eating, self-esteem (building some), motivation, and self-awareness. Because millions of people watch (including many of my clients who use it as motivation), it has the power to shape cultural values in terms of weight and health. And as a TV show, it makes money for NBC, sells products (like the 24 Hour Fitness logo that is everywhere), provides some compensation for the contestants, and generates a cascading flow of economic impact.

Maybe some other shows can demonstrate the same impact, I don't know.

I encourage my clients to watch this show, and we discuss the methods used and the lessons learned. Most find it inspiring (and it makes me seem like a softy compared to how hard the contestants on the show get pushed).

Congratulations to Erik on his incredible transformation!


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