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Friday, October 31, 2008

Oprah's "Biggest Loser" Show: Kinda Dull, But a Definite Reality Check

I watched most of it, cause I wanted to see what they'd have to offer (and maybe get me kicked in the butt a bit).

It was nice to see some former contestants, and Oprah was very up and encouraging and all, but Jillian looked like she was gonna fall asleep and Bob looked disoriented. What up with that?

Anyway, I liked that they had a segment with contestants having a hard time keeping weight off (or just plain not succeeding). For instance, in a VERY VERY brief update, they showed Ryan Benson (not in person), the first ever winner of TBL, who has a 100 pound regain. I'm sure he feels really bad about it. I wish they had been able to interview him.

The segment with Matt and Suzy Hoover (who still make an adorable couple, don't they?) was a needed reality check. When you stop doing what you did to lose (ie, keep food intake in check, exercise a lot), you regain. Matt was up about 50 pounds from his winning weight. And though they tactfully didn't get a fixed number from Susy, she was wearing a black turtleneck and was only shown shoulders up. We know "fat camouflage," don't we, ladies? We understand it.

Granted, Suzy's had two babies in less than two years--which she kept repeating, I'll add--and that's a definite factor. But she admitted to not being with it in terms of exercising and with also using the pregnancies as an excuse to eat for two--and eat a lot.

We understand that, too. (Hey, I have a reason to eat? Let's at it!)

This weight loss thing is hard. Maintenance is hard. It's all hard.

You know, THE BIGGEST LOSER should keep tab on previous guests, and all the ones who regained a lot should have a shot again--a sort of TBL Regainers show--maybe a shorter show to see if second time's the charm? Whaddya think?

Reality check two: What the successful maintainers do.

They exercise--frequently. They control what foods they buy and eat--consistently. Exercise. Calorie control. No big news there.

There's Ali, the woman winner of TBL, small and sleek and toned. They showed her in the kitchen, showing us what kinds of stuff she eats. From my calculations, her breakfast and lunches run about 200 calories each. And she excercises 2 hours a day (at least five days a week). TWO HOURS. If breakfast and lunch run (with whatever beverages and fruit she may add) about 500, then she's eating very little. What? Fewer than 1200 calories a day? TO MAINTAIN.

But SEEING it. Ouch. Reality slap, that one.

I forgot which contestant was the guy who showed his daily meal intake--the food arrayed on a counter. About 2000-2100 calories (for a tall fella). Very lean 3 meals and two snacks. Oatmeal with yogurt for breakfast. A few ounces of grilled chicken and steamed broccoli for lunch. Ezekiel bread with peanut butter for a snack. You get the drift.


Real life can't sustain 6 hours of killer daily exercise like the ranch. The 1200 to 1400 calories the women ate daily was paired with about 4000 calories BURNED OFF. Yes, that's a caloric deficit that ensures big losses. A pound a day plus is not surprising with that equation.

Overall, the show was worth watching for those of us on this particular journey or in this particular fight (choose thy metaphor!) for a look at how it really works. The difficulty to reach goals and keep to them, and the glow that comes from succeeding. Notice how much "shinier" the maintainers looked, that sense of satisfaction from making such a change.

No magic pill. Just grueling attention and effort.



Anonymous said...

Liked your blog. By the way, do you know where I can view this episode of Oprah online?

Once Upon A Dieter said...

Sorry, Anonymous, I do not. Although your best bet is to check the Oprah official website and maybe they have it there.

atara said...

I love little Suzy!

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