Wednesday, January 5, 2011
The Biggest Loser Post
With a new season just begun (no spoilers here!) & it being Wednesday, I'm thinking about "The Biggest Loser." Wednesdays at our house, along with being known as the weekly holiday of "Garbage Truck Day," are "BL" days. With two little kids & a Zumba addiction to feed, 7-9 on Tuesday night just doesn't cut it. Through the magic of Hulu, we can wait to shill out 2 hours (cut down to 1.5 without pesky TV commercials) until after the kids are in bed & we should be doing laundry or cleaning something--or just talking like grown-ups.
I'm not going to lie, I'm a total fan-girl. I love just about everything about BL, probably because it came along at just the right time for me. Not only does it make for great Reality TV, but it's motivational, too--just look at how many of your FB friends posted something about making a healthier snack choice on Tuesday night because they couldn't watch BL & eat cake. This will be the fourth season that I have watched. I got hooked last fall when I was pregnant & tired & TV was a good way to pass some time while I watched my ever expanding belly. Ironically as I got bigger, the contestants got smaller & somehow it gave me hope.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about that season. I am firmly convinced that when the stars aligned & I found BL while pregnant, it freed me from the guilt that I would have felt if I watched under other circumstances. I am ashamed to admit that I probably would have turned it off & passed the contestants' success off on Jillian, Bob, & some mysterious ability on the part of the producers to cast super-heroes cloaked in the bodies of obese individuals. Instead, I watched & gave the show time to show me that these people were absolutely ordinary & while they were in an extraordinary environment which accelerated their progress, the results weren't entirely out of reach. I've since read that a week on the ranch is comparable to a month of intentional hard work at home & my experience tells me that is about right.
Weight Watchers once the baby came, but I hadn't counted on being so excited, inspired & motivated. In particular, Rebecca Meyer (that season's At Home Winner & Des Moines native) really grabbed hold of me mentally & just wouldn't let go. I thought about her & her journey & her success constantly. I even became one of "those" people: last August, I wrote her a fan letter. In all actuality, it was probably my first blog post--my first attempt at putting into words all the things that were changing in my life.
Here is the letter, one of many many like it that all BL contestants probably receive, & for this & reasons I can't even articulate, I will be forever thankful to "Biggest Loser."
I hope this isn't horribly inappropriate, but I wanted to take a moment to thank you. When you went on Biggest Loser, you not only got your life back, but you helped others do the same, & I am one of them. I'm sure you hear things like this all of the time, but allow me to bore you one more time. I had never watched the show prior to your season. I had been obese most of my life. When your season came on, I was pregnant with my second child. Being pregnant allowed me to watch without the guilt that surely would have pushed me away. Without the guilt, I was able to see the journey from start to finish, which helped dispel the myth I had lived with my entire life: some people just can't be thin/healthy, some people are just destined to be obese. In a family where obesity is the norm, I remember learning to expect obesity in my life by the time I was in middle school. I can vividly remember the moment when I had the thought that my mom was fat & I would be fat when I was a mom. Watching the show, & specifically you, brought me to a point where I began to realize that any body can be pushed & reshaped & reclaimed. Your determination, spunk & hard work were such an inspiration to me. The fact that we are close in age & both from Des Moines made you identifiable. For the first time in my life I saw someone real kick the weight & regain a healthy life. You showed me that it isn't impossible, it's just hard. And then you showed me that even though it's hard, it's worth it. I'm worth it.
I had my baby on February 16 & weighed 269 lbs when she was born. I gave myself six weeks to recover & then hit the ground running with a revamped & healthy eating plan. Since then, I've lost 55 lbs & a month ago I started something I've never done in my life: I started working out. Five more lbs & I'll reach my pre-baby weight, but I can't wait to start working on all of the extra lbs that I can't blame on my kids! I've never felt physically or emotionally better in my whole life & for that I really needed to thank you. Not only did you help save me, but I'm excited to break the obesity cycle in my family & give my new daughter something that I never had: an expectation of health & wellness & life.