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The Biggest Loser Finale Controversy

Okay, Twitter was on fire last night with comments like “get the girl a sandwich” and “I wonder how the The Biggest Loser PR team is gonna handle this one.”

During the season 15 finale, an aspiring young athlete and person with human challenges (just like the rest of us) won the show at an astonishingly low weight.  Rachel Frederickson weighed in at 105 lbs for her 5′ 4″ frame. Glimpses of the trainers showed “shock” and the hostess even commented on the uncomfortable whispering that flooded the venue while Rachel took her spot on the scale for the final weigh in.

I have to admit I felt a little smug, sitting on my couch in my too tight at the waist pants while finishing off my youngest son’s bedtime snack that he had left uneaten.  See?!  It’s okay to be overweight because the opposite (being underweight) is just as bad.  It’s a lose, lose situation… so eat, drink and be fat.  Now I know in my mind that those thoughts are hogwash, but it was a moment that I wanted to use to make myself feel less accountable for my own poor choices.  The truth is, there is a place of ultimate health for every body and my struggle to want it badly enough will continue.

But I just wanted to share two points that have come to mind since the initial “OMGosh!” moment…

1) I feel bad for her experiencing two unhealthy extremes, but it makes sense.  Whatever addictive and neglectful behaviors led her to gaining too much weight, could have very likely contributed to her loosing too much weight.  There is an emotional, mental factor at play, and I have no idea what The Biggest Loser does to address it other than the once-in-awhile heart to heart conversations that one of the contestants will have with Bob, Jillian, or Dolvett.  I don’t know if there is professional counseling offered.  As a viewer we pretty much see numbers and that is how the show measures success.

2)  What would you do for $250,000?  That’s a lot of money.  That much money could make a significant difference in my family’s life.  I don’t think any of us can really say we would never do something like “that” (ie harmful to our bodies) for the sake of money.  In fact, I do harmful stuff to my body every day and gain nothing at all from it.   If the show is based solely on numbers (or percentages,) which I think it is, then “not loosing too much weight” is the real “temptation” that a finalist is faces.  Turning down a few cupcakes is not quite the same as turning down a quarter of a million dollars.

So, I wanted to throw those ideas out there.  I feel sad for Rachel and the finger pointing and mocking that she is now facing.  I hope that she will rise above it and continue to share her journey as I think a lot of people could learn from it.  If every cloud has a silver lining, maybe this incident will be an opportunity to raise awareness for eating disorders of all kinds and that as a people we can turn our focus toward health and strength instead of numbers on the scale and pant size.

PS. I love Bob.

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February 5, 2014 - 12:04 pm

Jo - Beautifully said

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