The Lost Hope of 'The Biggest Loser'

Everything’s possible if you work hard enough. At least that’s what shows Biggest Loser (NBC), Extreme Weight Loss (ABC) and Fit to Fat to Fit (A&E) suggest to their audiences. But it’s not necessarily true, as The New York Times reported this week in an in-depth examination about the lives of Biggest Loser contestants—many of whom regained the weight they had lost over the course of the show after they left. As the Times reports, biology—specifically one’s metabolism—plays a significant role in determining a person’s weight and their ability to lose weight. This news may bring relief to the former contestants, but it also ought to challenge society about its own assumptions about individuals and weight. “As Christians we want to be welcoming to everyone and not judge someone based on their size but when it gets down to it, a lot of times we may think What is wrong with this person that they haven’t taken care of their health?” says CT’s online associate editor and reality television show fan Kate Shellnutt. Shellnutt joins Morgan and Katelyn this week in Quick to Listen to discuss the relationship between social media and weight loss, how reality TV shames the wrong people, and how we can honor ourselves. One of the main contestants profiled in the NYT piece is a pastor in North Carolina who gained back a significant amount of weight after going on the show. He says his metabolism is now so slow, “It’s kind of like hearing you have a life sentence." How does this idea challenge common conceptions about people who are overweight or obese, such as, "It's all their fault," "they're lazy," etc.? What's going on in our attraction to reality TV shows? How do they speak to our particular cultural moment or spiritual desires? What's holistic health? Are there specific ways Christian communities can lead on the issue of holistic health?

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