I watch a lot of weight-loss shows. Despite knowing how unrealistic it is I still watch Biggest Loser and Extreme Makeover etc. religiously. I’m a sucker for transformation stories. I’m a sucker for watching people change their lives. However, there is an alarming trend amongst weight loss success stories that I am fucking sick of – and I need to rant about!
92% of people who go on one of these weight-loss shows and lose weight go home and become…..a PERSONAL TRAINER! You can get certified online (no lie) in just a few hours. It infuriates me. Not just because losing weight doesn’t make you an expert in weight loss but because they have learned unrealistic habits – things like cutting everything but vegetables from you diet to dropping 11 pounds in 5 days by working out 9 hours a day. That is NOT real life. I’ve ranted about this before. Now set that aside and I will share what really grinds my gears about this….
Every time I hear a past contestant say they are pursuing a job as a trainer (or worse - a motivation speaker – gag!) I think to myself -
What did you want to be when you were little? What’s your PASSION? What dreams did you have before you gave up on yourself? What did you want to be when you were little? What are your passions? Now….why aren’t you pursuing those dreams??
I understand that once you’ve changed your life you want to share that with everyone and their Mom – but to me it seems like a cop out. Anyone who becomes obese has more going on inside them than just a love for food. I was a workaholic, overachiever who wanted to be perfect in any capacity she could – since she had failed at having a perfect body. I’m mostly over that now. I schedule workouts and usually stick to the schedule. I don’t turn to food for comfort from stress. I’ve made awesome strides; all while succeeding at a job I really enjoy doing. I didn’t give up on my career just because I was fat.
I also understand that some people were lost before they lost weight (no pun intended) or before they found the exercise that changed their lives. So, I don’t consider Zumba instructors or people who pursue their new-found passion for healthy cooking to be in this boat. It’s the personal trainer / motivational speaker schtick that kills me.
I took to Facebook to rant about this last night and my friend Sandy had a great point I wanted to share: You know why? Because these people lost weight in a way that makes health and fitness their entire 24/7 lives. They never learned how to fit it into a normal life. Therefore, if they have a job where they’re not working out at least 8 hours a day, they are gonna pack the poundage back on SO QUICK.
YUP – exactly. I have learned how to lose SLOW (unbelievably slow) and I’ve gained and lost again. I’m human. Humans fuck up. Humans have lives outside of weight-loss and counting calories and tracking calories burned. Humans are not machines. My brother used to tell me that dreams are what separated us from the animals (pretty sure it’s a move quote I’m hacking) and he’s right. So, what are you dreaming about? What can you not wait to do once you’ve conquered a hurdle like excess weight? I can’t wait to live a more active life than I have now. I can’t wait to have a family of my own so I can pass on healthy habits to my kids and I will do that while maintaining a career I’ve had since I was 21 in a field I am passionate about!
As promised (just for you Gary!) here is my mini-rant on “Extreme Makeover Weight Loss” – ABC’s answer to “The Biggest Loser”.
The show started last year and I mentioned once before that I wasn’t a huge fan. I’m a little more on board with the show now. This season they focus a lot more about the person’s background (which I think is important!). What choices did you make, what circumstances happened that caused you to balloon up to your current size? You didn’t wake up one afternoon weighing more than a half-ton. Just like I didn’t wake up one morning at 400 pounds. A lot of bad decisions and wrong turns went into that number. I’m a firm believer in fixing the root of the problem instead of the side effects. I was unhappy with who I was as a person and I turned to food as a comfort, an activity etc. I can eat healthy and go to the gym or barre all I want ~ but that won’t fix what’s on the inside.
I have this saying at my desk at work, in both my phones and next to my bed:
Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
Back to the show so the host is also the trainer, Chris Powell. I like him, I like his philosophy’s concerning weight-loss (except for one giant exception which I’ll get to in a second). He advocates healthy eating, cardio, weights and most of all – figuring out why you overeat.If you don’t know what got you lost in the first place, how can you prevent yourself from getting lost again?
His program is set up into 3 month segments – Phase 1 is three months of boot camp essentially. Phase 2 gets you read for a physical challenge of some kind (hiking, biking, triathlon) and then Phase 3 prepares you for skin surgery. During Phase 1 Chris moves in with you and transforms your house into a gym. Woo! I’m fine with this. However, I think his weight-loss goals are often entirely too lofty. In 90 days he has some contestants losing 120 pounds. Do the math – that’s 1.3 pounds a day or a burn of 4666 calories PER DAY. That’s insane + frankly unsustainable. Ya know what happens when you lose that much weight that quickly? Loose skin. Like woah. Like this:
Why does this happen? Extreme, rapid weight loss causes your skin (which is an organ) to be unable to adjust. Your skin is a living organism ~ it expands (stretch marks) and it contracts. However, it does so slowly. By losing more than 1-2 pounds a week you not allowing your skin a chance to rebuild its elasticity and go back to normal. Now, will it ever be perfect? No. You will still have stretch marks and in some cases when you lose 200 + pounds you will need to have skin removal surgery in some areas. So why am I bitching about it? I don’t like the EMWL goal of Phase 3. Skin surgery. EVERY contestant has it and every contestant is excited about it. Skin removal surgery is a HORRIBLY painful process – why would you WANT to lose so quickly it became your only option? Oh right, because you’re on a game show. In addition skin surgery can be looked at like corrected vision surgery. You must maintain your current prescription for X amount of time (I believe it’s a year) before you can undergo laser eye surgery. On the show you literally hit a weight-loss mark and BOOM – you qualify for surgery. No maintenance required! This is (in my mind) a very bad practice. When you reach a goal there needs to be a level of maintenance to ensure you’re really there – you understand what’s required of you physically and mentally. Having skin surgery at the 9 month marker is instant gratification. If you haven’t learned anything ya know what happens? You’ll balloon back up to where you were.
I feel strongly that gastric bypass is not a choice for me – you guys know that – but the reason I’m so against it is tied in with what irks the shit of out me about this show. With GB you don’t learn to eat – you can still eat cupcakes and ho ho’s – just not as many as before. Hell you can lose 200 pounds and go right back to where you started if you’re not careful. Your skin (which is now scarred) will stretch back out and you will be right back in the same pickle you were in before….only now you have physical scars to remind you of your failure.
Do the contestants look amazing? Of course. This is Mike – he went from 493 to 238. He’s a different person! Oh and he also had almost 3 FEET of loose skin removed. Needless to say there are no pictures of the “after” showing the scars.
So, that’s my beef with the show. Yes it’s got some merit but dammit, why rush the process? Why advocate for dangerous surgery when it could (hopefully) be avoided.
I am losing weight. SLOWLY. Sometimes at a snail’s pace! But, I am keeping it off and learning a lot in the process. What I ate on a day-to-day basis 2 years ago is world’s away from what I eat now. How I feel about myself is also world’s away. I don’t want to be skinny – I want to be strong. I don’t have my mind set on a number I must weigh or a size I must attain (though for a long time 143 was the number and 8 was the size). I’ve come to a point in my life where I want different things. I want to be curvy yet strong. I don’t want to rush this process and end up looking like Frankenstein. Of course, that’s me – you’re welcome (as always) to your own opinion. That’s what makes this great nation so great – to each their own.
Pop quiz time!
A. A cool rock band from Nebraska that was huge during the 90′s and had hit songs such as “All Mixed Up” and “Amber”.
B. The non-emergency number for NYC
C. The weight I have been stuck at for longer than I care to remember.
D. All of the above.
If you guessed D, you’re correct! Once again, I am back at 311. I feel like there’s something blocking me from getting lower…and I can’t figure it out. It must be mental, because I have been doing great at the gym (going nearly every day and getting in good workouts). My diet hasn’t fluxed too much…and I have been cutting out coffee at night as much as possible to prevent headaches. What the heck am I doing wrong?!
(I wrote that last night and this morning I think I figured it out)
I have been stressing lately and when I’m stressed, I eat. When I stress eat I forget to write down what I’ve eaten! A quick mental tally and I am over my daily allowance by about 500-700 calories a day. EEP! So, I pulled out the ole food tracker and I’m back in the saddle.I hate writing down what I’ve eaten – but I know it’s a necessary evil!
This set back got me thinking about Courtney from Biggest Loser. She was my absolute favorite contestant in the history of the show. Sweet, funny and so POSITIVE all the time! Honestly, it was almost annoying how optimistic this girl was, haha. Well, she got stuck in a rut and ended up being sent home. The contestants are still vying for an at-home prize, so they aren’t allowed to do camera interviews, but I read in OK! magazine that she was doing AMAZING and can’t wait for the finale. She said the secret to her success is to just keep fighting. A blip from the interview can be found here. Here’s Courtney’s before and after. I’m printing them out and sticking them on my fridge!
I love this girl so much – and I swear, looking at her inspires me to get my shit together! Together Marci and Courtney have lost 310 pounds….that’s me minus 1 pound! Wow. Just wow!
I leave for Cali for vacation in a week. I’m excited. I have 12 hours of bellydancing classes planned – which means a TON of cardio, woo! Our hotel has a pool (swimming!), a full gym (good workouts!) and a hot tub (recovery!). I’m really excited. Oh and we have our photoshoot with Pixie!! Since that post I’ve gone down 1 pants size and about 30 pounds. Not bad, but I could have done better. That being said, I fit into the pants I REALLY wanted to wear for my photoshoot with her! YAY! So, there’s a silver lining to every cloud.
I have been thinking about some good challenges to get me under 300. When I get back I am starting a strict low-sodium regimen (right now I am eating WAY too much salt..and I have the bloated feet to prove it!). I’m also going to try to hit 1 hour of exercise (any form) every day. I will be seeing my BFF Julie in NYC for July 4th weekend. That will be 5 weeks from my first day back in Boston – I think I can get to 290 in 5 weeks (21 pounds) and when I do, I will be as small as I was in college when we met! Woo! How’s that for motivation?! Of course, in college I had the worst hair everrrr, thankfully that’s been rectified!
I still have another weigh-in Friday and I have my fingers crossed for a number other than 311!!
Ya know what they picture and me have in common? We’re both plateauing.
All cheesiness aside….I am stuck. I’m at 323 and holding, which isn’t bad, but it’s not exactly where I thought I would be with just 2 weeks to go until Vegas. I haven’t tried on my black pants….I’m too scared to be disappointed. Of course, I have a back up pair of pants for the show but they’re not nearly as divine.
I wish I could tell you that my Lent challenge was going amazing- but I’d be lying. It’s HARD! Giving up alcohol was easy (believe it or not!), giving up desserts has been pure agony. I am a SERIOUS sweet addict! I think I’m going to challenge myself again to give up desserts from April 18th- May 17th (the day I come home from Vegas til the day I leave for vacation). I always knew I loved sweets but I have never been so aware of how often I eat them before! I also realized one of my triggers is watching the Food Network. Anytime I see someone making sweet things, I want them! Top Chef and Chopped both don’t bother me (more so because I’m focused on the “competition” angle, if you will. Sidenote: I want Richard Blais to win!) – but “Food Network Challenge” (the show where they make CRAZY cakes….oh man, it’s pure torture. So, I had to give up watching shows that make me hungry too! I’ve cheated again since I last confessed (haha) – I had a cannoli yesterday. It was a crappy day and I once again needed sweets for comfort. I don’t understand myself sometimes. I KNOW it’s bad for me, I KNOW I gave it up until Vegas….but when I WANT something everything I know goes out the window!
Anyone else feel this way?
My exercise level has been good – I’m proud of how hard I’ve been working in the gym. Of course, I need to get there more – but the 4 times I got there last week were all good workouts. Listening to motivational songs is helping (which might sound lame but it’s true!). Last night I was pedaling away on the recumbent at a faster rate than usual and thinking “Well, I could just stop now, I don’t want to overexert myself” and what song came on the shuffled playlist? “You Get What You Give” by the New Radicals. “Don’t let go! You got the music in you.” Somehow, hearing that forced me to push on.
I’ve been really inspired by Courtney from the Biggest Loser; the girl is a rockstar. Before coming to the show, she lost 112 pounds on her own. That takes determination! She’s always so sunshiney and positive, it really makes me want to keep trucking, even when the road isn’t smooth. She is my favorite contestant on the season – I really hope she wins. So often shows like this end up with a winner than worked the hardest just to get to the end and then falls off. She is someone who will stick with this for the rest of her life, hands down.
I haven’t chatted about snacks lately, so I should mention my current favs. I made a trip to Trader Joe’s for lunch and some snacks earlier this week and when I got back there was a “Kind” bar in my bag. I checked my receipt and I didn’t get charged for it, so I considered it a freebie and tried to today. It was DELICIOUS! Holy mackerel I am totally buying more. 190 calories (perfect for a snack) and 50% of all the vitamins/minerals/antioxidants you need in a day. Pretty rad. They come in yummy flavors too (I had Cranberry Almond) – including Coconut which might be delish….but will give me hives. Wah.
Do you guys go through waves of favorite snacks? Do you switch them out based on the weather? Soon I will be able to get nice, fresh berries and I’m excited for that. I’m also excited to get over to Wilson Farms in Lexington this weekend (hopefully!). It’s an AMAZING farm stand with local and globally sourced organic fruits and veggies. A true New England gem! Do you guys shop at farm stands when possible? I had never really thought of where my food came from (naive I know) but my brother is really into knowing the origins of what you eat and that has made me think.
On the docket for the weekend: lots of gymming, visiting WF hopefully and enjoying some matzo and eggs! I am not Jewish (but according to my friend Brad I am an honorary member) but I grew up eating matzo and eggs (thanks Mom!) and it’s almost Passover, so the stores are stocked! YAY!
For reference, this is matzo and eggs. Mmmmmmmmmmm!
Have a great weekend everyone!
While trying to kick my cravings – I have taken to writing down every single thing I crave in a memo on my BB (it’s getting ridiculously long). Tuesday at 3:15pm I was overcome with a craving for chocolate. I ALMOST broke down…but wait, I have NO snacks at my desk! Now, I normally keep a plethora of stuff at work…but I have recently been infiltrated by an angry mouse. He destroyed all my snacks (probably with friends). To make matters worse, he shit on my popcorn. Asshole mouse.
Anyways, so my desk is barren of snacks. I REFUSE to go to the vending machine. Refuse.
I dig in my purse. Surely I have something I can appease myself with right?? Enter: Extra Dessert Delights Gum.
I got these in my stocking for Xmas. Mint Chocolate Chip, Strawberry Shortcake and Key Lime Pie.
I tried the Mint Chip. It’s AMAZING. Craving – conquered!!!!!!!!!!! Fuck yeah!
I always laugh when I watch Biggest Loser and Bob goes on and on about gum. Who thought gum could curb a craving?! Not me.
Of course, I’m not thrilled with the idea of sugar-free (because of all the additives) – but if it prevents me from eating something I shouldn’t, I’m all for it!
I wonder if someone from Wrigley’s will see this post once I’m skinner and want to endorse me? I could totally be a Wrigley’s girl – I’m way less annoying than the Orbitz girl! Dontcha think?
Now, I have been religiously watching “I Used to Be Fat” and of course “Biggest Loser” and I figured I should post my 2 cents at some point.
I loved the first episode of “IUTBF” with Gaby, but I HATED Marci. I wanted to slap her for being so damn whiny. She looked amazing at the end, and I loved her trainer – but I still wanted to slap her. I also was disappointed that her focus was cute clothes at a snobby boutique. Really? I denno – I guess I need to remember what it was like to be 18.
The third episode was Dominick – and in case you didn’t see it, I won’t spoil it. I liked him, he reminded me a lot of someone I know (who shall remain nameless). I could relate to his mom wanting to make people happy with food. I can’t even think of how many times I have made someone cookies when they’ve done me a favor. In retrospect I think most of my life I have though of food as love/appreciation. Hmmmm! Anyone else have this problem??
Now, let’s chat about “BL”. My BFF Jewels and I love this show – but she’s been on vacation in Hawaii (that bitch!) so I have only had my mom to gossip about it with. So, this season has (in my mind) much more likable people. It also has two of the fattest contestants ever (Courtney and Arthur). It’s scary when you look around a grocery store or the mall and realize just how much of the population is overweight. How did we become the fattest nation?!
The “twist” this season is there are 2 sets of trainers. Bob and Jillian…and “the unknowns”. So NBC is being a bit dramatic. The “unknowns” haven’t been introduced and are training in a secret location in Malibu. Of course, being as nosey as I am – I Googled it to find out who they were: Cara Castronuova and Brett Hoebel. Thank you to Lisa Johnson for the info! Both seem like interesting choices. From what I’ve heard (sound-bytes from the show etc.) – they’re both very no-bullshit, which is good. However, I do wonder if Cara has any training at all….but, either way I’m excited for a new twist. I’ll be interested to see what happens next season since Jillian Michaels is leaving the show. One/both of them must be staying right?
Sidenote: Anyone else remember Kim Lyons? I hated her on the show. She annoyed the crap out of me.
Anyways, enough gossiping – back to the point! The contestants are way more likable, and they all seem to be pretty driven. I’ve noticed them using equipment I’m dying to try – but they don’t have at my gym – including Jacob’s ladder, a hand bike (I think that’s the right word) and they’ve worked a lot harder than I work. Now, I know they exercise as a job and are competing for money…but it forced me to remember to step my game up.
Arthur is 5’8″ and 507 pounds and this past episode he RAN for 30 seconds on the treadmill. If he can do it, I can too. I have no reason I need to wait until I hit a magic number to start pushing myself on the treadmill. If I’m planning to jog a 10K by October I better be putting in some serious work starting NOW.
Oh, and this season’s contestants have already started using the spin bike and having a Bob spin class! I have been talking about trying spin forever, but I keep saying I’m not strong enough. Maybe I need to bite the bullet and try?
OK – so the goal for the rest of the month: get my butt on the treadmill and jog for 30 seconds a few times!
February’s goal: spin bike!