The Biggest LoserThis is a controversial institution. The weight loss program is an institution. It first appeared on NBC and then on USA Network. However, its weight loss strategy has been criticized. Jillian Michaels, perhaps the show’s most famous figure, is speaking out about her issues with its controversial tactics.
Burn Baby Burn
The Biggest LoserIt was a success that weight loss became a reality TV show. Contestants would be encouraged not to eat, and urged to exercise until they lost enough weight. The show’s timing structure means there’s immense pressure for contestants to lose weight by a strict deadline which is not always healthy. Others think the workouts and dietary guidelines are flawed. The show has a full “risks and criticism” section on Wikipedia, never a good sign.
Michaels is an authority in this field. She was a trainer for the show for 12 year before she left in 2013. In interview with TodayShe shared some of her concerns with the program.
All A Big Game
“Nobody should have been eliminated. That was my No. 1 issue with the show,” Michaels said, adding, “But the producers gamified weight loss. It was weight loss on a ticking clock.” She also felt like the show really needed to have a psychotherapist on site. Michaels would call her mother, a psychotherapist, for advice from the set.
Michaels says, “When you have someone that weighs 400 pounds, that’s not just an individual who likes pizza. There’s a whole lot going on there emotionally.” There’s deep work involved to help people mentally get to where they need to be, and the show didn’t exactly provide it, Michaels contended.
She is firm in her belief in her methods
Michaels defends the controversial diet despite all criticism. The contestants could consume 1,200 calories per day, which is roughly two big Macs and all the greens they desire. “The diet worked amazing. You eat less, you move more, and there you go.” Michaels dismissed contestants who gained the weight back after leaving the show: “they had unresolved issues with food.”
She also didn’t apologize for all the shouting and screaming that goes along with her training. “You need them to have a rock bottom moment where they’re like, ‘I can’t take one more moment.’” She said, “The ones I yelled at are the ones that kept it off.”
If you want a nuanced appraisal of the show’s methods, perhaps Michaels isn’t exactly an unbiased source. She does make the point that weight loss can be as much a mental as physical battle. As the show continues on USA Network, it’ll be interesting to see if any revisions are made.