For several seasons, I watched “The Biggest Loser”, as well as several other “weight-loss shows”, and I formed some personal opinions based on my focused attention. I’ve also read quite a few follow-up interviews by people involved in the show – including contestants.
As a result, I’ve now chosen to boycott this type of TV “reality” weight-loss program. The article below was written by an exercise professional, and it accurately reflects many of my own thoughts on this subject.
by David Landau
In recent years Television has attempted to show the world what real life in America is all about. But in television unfortunately, there is not a control in order to turn up the brightness (intelligence). Be as it may, this is how many individuals do their research. Unfortunately many of them are stuck in television’s land of illusion. Much of what TV provides is promulgated half truths in the form of propaganda. The great philosopher Eric Hoffer once said, “Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves.” Knowing this, witty TV producers have consequently spawned a variety of shows that have come under the umbrella of what is labeled “Reality Television.” Like TV hasn't had its fair share of providing a fountain of misinformation. So therefore the reality has to be real; sure!
This concept of Reality TV more or less involves a type of programming that supposedly mirrors real world situations which feature the unscripted documented lives of genuine common folk. But if this were to be really true, the TV viewing audience would quickly abort those channels and never venture back to them again. After all, they would be looking in the proverbial mirror at the same sad said pathetic scenes they have often seen in their own lives. To take this actuality a bit further, someone else said, “Television enables you to be entertained in your own home by people you wouldn't have in your home.” The truth is, TV becomes sociological nightmare that spawns a show of its own, that could be called, “As the Public Turns.”
People however; need and want to get away (at least for a while from their dreary lives), so they turn to television. But as someone once said, “Television is not the Truth. Television is god-damned amusement park. Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, sideshow freaks, lion tamers and football players. We're in the boredom killing business.” Regardless of the aforementioned warning, the allure of TV continually stays fresh, even though the entertainment is often the same ole, same ole.
The producers of the “reality” genre have in many cases cherry picked fledgling third rate actors/actresses to fall in with the rest of the so called common “real” folks. With the additional dash of cleverly done scripting, editing, and post production trickery and voila – we have the emptiness of “real TV.” The perpetrators of this feigned rendering of faith certainly know their market. It has conveniently revolved around the typical American lifestyle. Case in point; today’s habitual American way of life is centered on the good old 9 to 5, or at least a great deal of it is. Prime time television has focused on this built in target of this traditional humanistic routine. In these dreary economic times, the common stressed out syndrome trickles in. People will seek their outs to de-stress so to speak. Middle age has set in or is just around the corner. Their leisure time becomes TV time and many are conveniently couched in for the nightly news and the network battles. Fantasy television arrives after 8 pm.
In recent years a craze has flourished in the ultimate form of this made to order “Reality Television.” But as it is in many cases, the trap of Reality TV simply fits the bill for many of those who are sedentary couch potatoes. It becomes habitual and “fitting,” just sit to down in the easy chair and get ready to surf the hundreds of TV channels that have you ready made for the taking. But alas, Reality TV is no more or less again a venue of generic entertainment that portrays very little liking to “real life occurrences.” But of course this vogue has become far reaching to the point where this idealism somehow portrays some “truth”.
Everyone these days is jumping on the bandwagon of “health and fitness.” Notwithstanding, Reality TV has waded knee deep into the “exercise” industry. Appearing out of thin air and looking for the easy mark, they are now presenting shows on how to “exercise” and diet to combat obesity. The most popular of these programs are sickening entertainment at best. The validity of this so called reality (as many before it), at best is specious. Again, fraught with the most suspect of all fitness marauders, these shows have hired these bottom basement performers. Unfortunately some of their targets are the clinically obese population. This gives false hope to many that watch, some of which may be morbidly obese. But nevertheless, they have put poor fatty at the center of attention. We'll call this show; “everyone’s a loser!”
Upon cursory observation, their approach is insane at best. They are worlds away from undoing genetic situations that are far beyond fixing in the manner they are exhibiting. But this is the classic example of the quick fix that rarely if ever takes hold once the charade is over. Such is television folks! These are not real life situations; they are anything but. So in actuality, the show is a mere fantasy. The existing episodes can be capsulated by their preoccupation of terrible muscle wasting activities that merely cause dangerous exhaustion and fatigue. Case in point; back over a century and a half ago, these exertions were seen as the worst of all menial jail labor. It was loathsome drudgery bound punishment for those that committed the most hideous of crimes.
Boy, how times change for the better? It was in the days before running water and electricity, whereas man and animal power stood arm and arm. The energy was in the form of human power and if it were appropriate today, we could harness some of this power and put it to good use. But this is hardly ever the case. What was human bondage yesterday is glorified as an exercise routine today. History therefore repeats itself in an ironic and pathetic parody. There is a Fat chance you could ever point this fact out, to all but a few. It can be simply summed up by the fact the body works as a scale and has a limited amount of reserves; whatever goes up, must come down (energy expenditure). The hidden factor in these shows is the forced descending dietary intake prescribed; pure and simple.
Their army - boot camp style based exertions (often in the mud) are actually dangerous, degrading, and counterproductive in the least sense. “Trainers” or actors as you might are literally treating their subjects like dogs. If you take an actual farm animal like a Pig, you will notice they are extremely active but are still fat, active pigs. Again, as stated often, it is not nice to mess with Mother Nature. But nonetheless, on come the pretentious fitness humanitarians that are merely pathetic poor man’s performers portraying themselves as experts in the exercise arena. Nothing ever changes!
The television ratings for such garbage are beyond any rational understanding. In a “Real” world, these phonies would be thrown in jail and likely subject to their own suggested exertions as punishment. This is likely the worst case of fraud since the early exposure of the predetermined and rigged “quiz shows.” But everyone loves a popular winner, and for a while what looked to be totally on the up and up, wasn’t. But no one was hurt and no one went to jail. However, it is still sickening the way these Fitness Reality Shows actually have the following and ratings they do. True reality however is the final arbitrator, and sorry to say this is a hoax at best. It is simply a sad exposure of a group of people, some clinically obese, that may likely need real professional care.
The “fitness fakers” portrayed are simply sad pathetic morons making these predetermined genetic situations worse. These egotistical trainers show us only one thing for sure; it is self evident their conceptual range is profoundly limited. But remember again, TV is entertainment and has very little or nothing to do with the truth, especially in this scenario. The illustration of proper and appropriate fat loss would make an extremely boring show and would never sell. The truth has nothing to sell and therefore the Bull Shit will continue to march on!
In order to clearly understand the dreadful shortcomings here, there are lucid truisms showing up in history. With an inordinate abundance of opinionated ways to get thin, you would figure with all of this information available (with the inclusion of prime time TV), there would be a population of skin – skin - skinnies. Lets KISS (keep it simple stupid) and show truth does exist in a simple buried gem from History.
Good old Samuel Blythe was no more than a common man, but a man who saw the forest through the trees. The year was 1911 and Samuel although not a genius, understood what common sense was. He knew there were simple, but hard solutions for fat loss - for he was a “victim” of being amongst the overweight. He noted there were more systems of diet than there were religions. He practically tried them all, but all he got from the experience was the fact there was a sucker born every minute with two to take him. So from his own intuition and vast experience, he had to learn the hard truth through the experience of the “right way”. He knew it was a tough game, especially if one were predisposed to being fat.
After “running” through the treadmill of exercise and diets, he decided to take a step back to understand why he got so fat in spite of his efforts. Throughout his formal years, he was inherently a barrel chested and broad shouldered lad. He had an insatiable appetite that caused him to balloon from 185 pounds at maturity, to an extremely rotund 247. Knowing 300 was just around the corner, he knew something had to be done or else he would have been done! He looked over his intake of food and drink. Sammy found out through the process of elimination that he was eating at least 60% more than he required and was downing alcohol at an alarming rate that was undesirable at best. He reasoned the similarity of predicament to his simple understanding of how they fattened livestock. He figured he was just part of the herd so to speak. Previously, he had gone through several dietary wars with discarded diets that cost him over 200 dollars for each try. He finally figured it was a numbers game that could be won by cutting down the portions and balancing them out. He decided to diminish the quantity of his intake of food and not the variety. He had developed a personal liking over the years for his favorite foods and he wasn’t going to get rid of them. He simply reduced the amount over time and made his adjustments gradually.
Samuel knew in order to succeed at this “nonscientific approach” as he called it, he could not be in an impossible hurry to win the battle of the bulge. In the failed attempts leading up to this conclusion, he saw he lacked the patience needed to make his journey a success. He still enjoyed his desserts and breads, but simply ate less of them over time. Instead of chowing down a big pie, he ate a much smaller one for his desert and eventually cut out alcohol altogether. He was steadfast in losing the fat over a much longer period of time and it worked like a charm! In this process there were absolutely no lifestyle changes (other than no more beer) and that included no additional exercise or activity. There was a systemic adjustment that occurred from doing it over a longer period of time; his gradual modification allowed his stomach to acquiesce to the lesser intake of food stuffs; therefore no hunger pangs existed. He kept his weight off for the rest of his life and expressed he had gained a new lease which was most enjoyable. He was so impressed by his accomplishment, he wrote the book about his experience, entitled; The Fun of Getting Thin.
Lifestyles are individual and made better from successful choices which are unique to each person outside of the collective’s questionable opinions. The indiscriminate following of a trend or fad, especially one perpetrated by television hoaxes; allows for certain failure. Fitness Reality TV is a terrible farce. It literally makes fools out of people who are unfortunately exhibited as overweight contestants in a carnival like setting.
Certainly popular culture can take the blame in exposing something to the masses that in reality does far more harm than help. But again, such idiocy sells and makes millions of dollars as a result. Unfortunately, it only allows those really in need of help (most don't), to do their research by way of TV and popular magazines. These notions and solutions are worse than dead end roads, as there is no way out. The activities under the name of exercise shown should have a forewarning. Do Not Try This at Home or anywhere for that matter. This is malpractice at its best.
The people that are the subjects are comprised of those simply embarrassed about the weight they have gained through the years. In today’s “society,” being overweight is seen to be not culture friendly. A few of the others exhibited on these TV aberrations, are borderline to morbid obesity. They are in need of clinical and professional help to get them on a better track. This is not an indictment on the people who carry those extra pounds. On the contrary, they have been unfairly exposed by TV and these arrogant and obnoxious “Hollywood” trainers who are worse than useless! Don’t be fooled about the feigned concern of these trainer actors, it is a scripted nightmare! They are either guilty of unbelievable stupidly or outright criminal fraud, regardless of the supposed sincerity of their misguided beliefs! As a result, I will refuse to remain silent in the onslaught of such outrage.
David Lanau – fitness trainer for past 30 years,
whose focus is to separate facts from fiction, exposing exercise fraud. www. ExerciseFraud.com
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