Obesity Shows; How NOT to lose weight

Have you ever watched one of those shows where they help obese people lose weight in a record amount of time? They may even pay for a tummy fix if they manage to lose a certain amount of weight which qualifies them for the procedure.

I have always watched with a sense of increasing horror. In all of the different shows I saw, whether it was the US versions or some local version, one thing was always true: These people would get seriously tortured. And I am not saying this in a figurative sense. These people would be literally tortured for the entertainment of the viewer.

Their torture would not only be in the physical sense, but often in the emotional sense as well. Despite how horrendous torturing people for entertainment is (it is a thing done throughout the ages), the thing which makes it even more devious is the fact that it is sold as to the benefit of the victims. To the viewers, as the only way one can be healed from their affliction (obesity).

“Are you entertained…?”

The thing is that when I first saw these shows I allowed myself to be entertained. I watched and agreed that these people should be grateful that someone took the time to scream at them as a drill sergeant to get of their glutes maximum of epic dimensions and sweat all that fat of.

Aside from the obvious lack of love for my fellow humans, the way the shows were  going about helping these people is just downright flawed.

Taking a human whose body is overweight and subjecting them to high intensity workouts is stupid if you want them to develop the necessary habits to transform their relationship with food and their body and increase their health.

For the moment, let us assume that the producers of these shows do not know better. They really are convinced that making a 200 kg person sprint and go crazy on a cross-trainer is the way to make them permanently lose weight. 

The Flaws

Flaw one: Joints

The effect of this regime on the joints of these people… The body mass they carry is in no proportion to the load baring capacity of their joints. So you have a person of for example 200 kg (= 441 pounds) with a skeletal structure of someone who should have a maximum healthy weight of 80 – 90 kg (176 –  198 pounds) and then they think it is a great idea to have them repeatedly sprint for their dear life.

The weight transferred to your knees while running is 4 – 5 times your total body weight. So, staying with our example of a person weighing 80 – 90 kg, this is a load of 320 – 400 kg (704 – 880 pounds) at the lower end (80 kg) and 360 – 450 kg (792 – 990 pounds) at the higher end (90 kg). Now let’s say that you have an individual with a skeletal structure able to support 90 kg, but with an actual weight of 200 kg. The person’s knees can safely bare 450 kg maximum while running but are subjected to 800 kg at the lower end. That is a 350 kg (772 pounds) accident waiting to happen.

Flaw 2: Diet

The “fatal car crash” diet these people are put on… The amount of calories they end up consuming, is putting them in a state where they are constantly on the brink of binge eating. Just because they are never feeling satiated. From what I have seen, food density is also not considered when constructing these diet programs.

Flaw 3: Time

Time is a logistical one, I guess, thinking from the perspective of the show producers. They need to have the season of a show done in a set amount of time. The problem with this, is that it is not healthy for people to lose so much weight in that amount of time. This ties into the previously mentioned issue. If you need people to lose weight in a certain amount of time for the show you are producing around their progress, capital constraints come into play. These constraints dictate the amount of time you have and in how much time significant weight loss should be achieved. This has nothing to do with the health of the subjects.

Profit is paramount

Some of the methods employed by the show producers, both the exercise regimes and the diet plans, are based on their capital constraints and not on what is healthy. The sad thing is that these media productions are in significant respects responsible for how a majority of the population thinks about what course of action is right when it comes to regaining a healthy weight.

Linked to this is the role of the cosmetic surgical industry. In some of these shows (I am loath to say most), the participants put up with the abuse, lured in by the promise of getting a free surgical procedure. That is, if they make “weight”. The surgical procedure is needed to relieve them of the excess skin they will be having after the weight loss. The irony in all of this is that your skin is an organ just like any other. It is adaptive like the rest of your wonderful God given body. Under the right circumstances it just adapts to your new body composition. The methods in these shows actually prep you to need such an operation.

Truth & Solution

The truth is that getting at a body mass and weight which is most definitely unhealthy takes years. Getting back to a healthy body composition and weight also takes years. There is no quick fix, but there is a healthy and sustainable one.

On average it takes an obese individual at least three years to get back to a healthy weight and body composition. This is with the use of a sustainable diet program which considers the caloric density of different food items and a sustainable progressive exercise regime.

The thing is that by the grace of God, you can regain your health with the right knowledge, support from your social environment and patience. Yes, that soul toughening virtue. Seeking a quick fix for the reality of an unhealthy body will do you little good as your character has often eroded with your physical health. Fighting your way back is God’s way of giving you the chance to re-forge not only your body, but your mind and character as well.

Have you struggled with getting and keeping your weight at a healthy level? Did you consider following such a routine as shown in the programs we talk about in this article? Let us know your thoughts on their effectiveness and what you found to be the hardest part of maintaining a healthy weight.

In the next article we will go into the steps one can take to heal the body, with healthy food, sufficient exercise and patience.