I find The Biggest Loser, currently on ITV, or if you prefer, the US version on SkyLivingIT one of those totally polarising programmes. You either love it, or hate it.
I have been hugely disappointed with the, much advertised, UK version both from a Personal Trainer’s as well as a TV viewers stand point.
Let me clarify that, from a PT issue, the trainers are truly excellent. I find them inspiring, challenging and greatly motivating. However as a PT myself I think that the image portrayed by the editor stereotypes PT’s into the “Bootcamp Billy” mould of simply shouting at clients. I am FULLY aware that this makes great TV, and that off camera there is a huge amount of encouragement and psychological support given – I blame the editors. They only seem to show the beastings and not the other exercise, leading the viewers into thinking the 6 hours a day workouts are all like the minutes shown on a Monday evening.
What dismays me more is the complete lack of nutritional advice given on the programme. Oh yes, we see them tempted by chocolate and cake, but there is no positive dietary message given. Whenever I see the US version I am struck by the cooking tips, advice on how to order “off menu” in restaurant, explanations of different foods and their merits etc.
This culminated in the UK version having one of the trainers “taking a step back” (ok, a PR spinned sacking) after advising the contestants to only eat apples and nuts to try and lose extra weight. After 6 weeks, totally submerged in this world of diet, nutrition and exercise, had these people been properly educated they all would have noticed that this was wrong.
Clearly they were advised badly, but still they should have known by then. we were then shown them facing the “Ultimate Test” where they were faced with anything they wanted and told to eat what they want. They all froze, totally panicked by what they saw, unable to make decisions After 7 weeks of apparent “total lifestyle and dietary advice and coaching” they had no idea. They then chose foods and the viewer was not told whether these were good or bad choices.
Again, watch the US version, and at least once an episode you will given simple, easy facts that will help you decide what choices to make.
If all this sounds bitter, or like sour grapes, don’t get me wrong. The changes the contestants are making are truly wonderful, both for themselves, and their families. However I do feel that the actual educational benefit to the viewer is minimal, when it could be immense.
And after all this supposed comment on the right way to be healthy, lose weight and eat properly? An advert for the Biggest Loser range of foods. So what do they advocate? Fruit, vegetables, vitamins, low GI foods?
No, a Biggest Loser shake for breakfast, a meal replacement bar for lunch and a “Healthy” meal for dinner. Correct me if I am wrong but doesn’t that go COMPLETELY against the whole anti-fad diet, quick-fix solutions choices that they purport to be advocating?
From a TV spectacle point of view they’ve missed the drama and emotional involvement of the US version as well. The weigh ins have no suspense. Not even Davina saying, “to be safe you need to have lost x lbs”. All we get it “You’ve lost 5 lbs – let’s put that up on the board so it says….5lbs”
I applaud the contestants wholeheartedly, and wish them the very best in life. I am just saddened that what is such a positive message has been ruined by the poor TV crew and the blatant fact that the show seems simply to exist to flog a re-branded Slimfast diet.
This is just my opinion, what do you think of the show?