SciBabe expertly explains why 'The Biggest Loser' is a 'stupid f&*king show'

Dan Broadbent

Yvette d'Entremont explains why 'The Biggest Loser' isn't about losing weight, and reinforces awful habits.

Diet fads come and go. Be it Atkins, Paleo, or Keto (which just sounds like Atkins with extra steps?), or whatever fancy name you want to call it, they're all generally different shades of the same nonsense.

For most normal, healthy people, it comes down to a rather simple equation:

Calories in < basal metabolism + calories burned than exercise

That's it. Eat fewer calories than you're burning, and you will lose weight. (Source: Law of Conservation of Mass.)

Additionally, making drastic, unrealistic changes is a recipe for failure. Setting a goal to "lose 50 pounds" sounds great, and may even be the ultimate long-term goal, but in order to be sustainable, change needs to happen over a period of time. Set reasonable goals (like going to the gym 3 times a week), for the short term. As you accomplish your short-term goal, set new ones (like going to the gym 4 or 5 times a week, run a mile without stopping to walk, etc).

You should also expect and plan for failures. Life happens, and you're going to mess up. That's okay. It happens. But when you expect it to happen, it makes it easier to accept and recover.

Or, if you're more interested in making a TV show than actually inspiring and influencing change, you can go The Biggest Loser method.

My friend Yvette d'Entremont, perhaps better known online as SciBabe, recently posted about The Biggest Loser on Facebook. In her post, she explains why it's one of the most god-awful creations to come out of network television and hits on many of the things the show does that are just awful.

The TL/DR version of it is, in her own words, "Don't watch this stupid fucking show."

The Biggest Loser is going to be back on television. I am a huge proponent of people finding a way to eat that helps them maintain a healthy body weight, but that's not what this show is. Let's talk about all the reasons why you should watch literally any other fucking thing.

Historically, they have treated the competitors like they're defined by their weight. It's a "chance for fat people to get their life back." I've lost a hundred pounds from my highest weight. I guaranfuckingtee you, I had a life before I lost the weight.

The show promotes the idea of losing weight mainly through drastic changes to someone's exercise routine. In real world conditions, weight loss is mostly controlled via diet. Exercise is used to make your muscles, bones, heart, and lungs healthier. You put someone through eight hours a day of exercise, that'll burn sufficient amounts to lose weight, but it's not feasible (or healthy) in real life. Which brings up my next point...

They are goddamn starving contestants. I don't know if they're doing something crazy this show cycle like having people on a modestly reduced calorie diet and just going to the gym for an hour a day, but it's often been reported that they were on under 800 calories per day.

Contestants reported working through fairly serious injuries. Stress fractures weren't uncommon, risk factors for which include ramping up exercise too quickly and under-fueling. They literally goddamn broke peoples' bones for dramatic effect. Are you not entertained?

Lastly, the techniques they use on the show aren't a formula either for health or long lasting weight maintenance. It's hard to confirm an exact number, but an alarming percentage gain it all back with a side dish of other health issues from the extreme workout and diet routine. Though you could also say that we really haven't found any perfect way to accomplish lasting weight loss for everyone, a show that abuses peoples' health for entertainment ain't it either. When people leave the show, they will not be spending eight hours a day at a gym with Trainer McScreamy up in their face. They will try to avoid old habits, the likes of which this show does not do the work to address. They will be set up to fail.

And Jillian Michaels will be unfazed from atop her growing pile of money.

Don't watch this stupid fucking show.

Comments (1)
No. 1-1

I agree with much of what you write here, but there is no law of the conservation of mass!! Wouldn't seem such a big deal, but it is a stupid proposition (if I lose weight, it must go to someone else in my house? or what?) and it's the second time this week I saw it 'cited' to explain something or other. There IS a law of conservation of energy--but that is not what is meant here.
nonetheless, the program is in fact degrading in some ways, even though some contestants who work hard are rewarded and celebrated for that. and so i'll take your advice not to watch it.

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