Why is it when people decide to “lose weight and get healthy” they take on a kind of wanton fervor, like those contestants on popular reality shows? The premise of many reality-based shows is rooted in the saying, “He who gets there fast-eth, win-eth”. Take The Amazing Race. I’m not exactly a huge fan of the show, but I’ve seen bits and pieces, so I get the gist of how to get rid of cystic acne.
People tune in to watch teams intensely compete with one another, working ‘round the clock to arrive first at a particular destination, so they can win the big prize which is a marriage proposal from someone they met three months ago.
Wait a minute. I think I might be a little confused. No matter. The point is that imposing time constraints on these shows is paramount to viewablity, not to mention big, big business; after all, nobody wants to watch people strolling leisurely along the Tibetan marketplace, or watch a drawn-out relationship that develops at a natural and healthy progression, right? B.O.R.I.N.G! If you think about it, you probably face the same type of expectation from time to time with clients who assume you will just “cure” their Pet now and don’t consider ongoing management or treatment.
So what about the Biggest Loser? It is currently the eleventh most popular reality show on TV, and If there’s any reality show that can make a difference in the lives of its viewers, it should be this one, right? No big surprise, Americans are progressively becoming more out of shape. (In fact, the populace has grown 1% fatter since you started reading this blog! Not really, but I’m trying to make a point here.) Seriously, if there’s anything to be gained (excuse the pun) from watching a reality show, The Biggest Loser should be the reality show that earns a Golden Globe for its role in making a life-changing impact on its audience.
So here is my problem with the show:
While I love the fact that people on the show end-up losing weight and, I believe, keep it off, I have concerns about some of the underlying messages. Number one, when I tune into the first few episodes, I see morbidly obese people who haven’t exercised in years, moaning from the pain, struggling to achieve nearly impossible goals, like climbing some huge mountain with a 20 lb. backpack atop their bodies. Good for ratings? Inspiring to watch? Absolutely. Okay for the average overweight Joe or Jenny to attempt? Not so much. Exercising at this intensity is neither necessary nor recommended. Long term results come from small incremental changes that occur gradually, over time.
Imagine if you asked a client with an overweight pet to strap on a five pound weight and run them around the dog park every day. It would be absurd (not to mention dangerous). Instead, you prescribe a logical course of action that is appropriate for the pet in your care.
The other problem I have with what causes cystic acne is the large amount of weight people lose each week. Losing twelve-pounds a week isn’t a realistic goal and, frankly, doesn’t happen in the real world, yet, no one on the show tells you that. In our profession, we can be ‘coaches’ for our clients. After prescribing a plan for weight loss, we can check in with clients to monitor progress and adjust as necessary for the pet. This not only ensures better long-term success rates, but helps us see potential problems before they arise.
Now, I’m not saying don’t watch The Biggest Loser, I’m just saying, the show is more about drama and less about useful fitness info. Changing an attitude, a set of beliefs and behaviors takes time. It’s so not about getting there quickly because the fast approach never really works. No matter how entertaining it may be.