After The Biggest Loser finale tonight, the Twitterverse blew up with accusations of a certain contestant becoming anorexic in an attempt to win. When Rachel (spoilers, sorry/not sorry) came out, you could feel the air suck out of the finale. I immediately thought “WOW” then thought “hmmmmm…” and then felt a little uneasy. I mean, people can look completely different and weigh the same. Heck, Jameis Winston and I weigh the same. I’m not Heisman material. So I thought “she used to be a swimmer and swimmers can be smaller.” Then she got on the scale and weighed 105. Whoa.
After that…Twitter got relentless, and since it was social media, it was pretty harsh. Criticism came from all directions from your average troll to previous Biggest Loser contestants who said that “women should be curvy” (which is a controversial comment in of itself). I’m a little ashamed of the way some people in the weight loss/fitness online community responded. It’s always interesting when people go from inspirational to ravenous. No grace. I thought this was a safe community? A place where we can struggle together and be supportive of one another. Why can’t it be a different struggle? I feel like we need to really reevaluate how we respond to something like this.
I have also read a lot of insane comments on the Biggest Loser’s Facebook page, however it is interesting that #boycottBiggestLoser isn’t a trending hashtag…
Anyway, this is when a lot of people are going to come out and say that Biggest Loser is a horrible show and does horrible things for weight loss in America (and I whole-heartedly respect that opinion. I know plenty of people who have that opinion.) But the fact of the matter is, for me at least, that the Biggest Loser has done some amazing things in the way we view obesity in America. It has created an awareness that obesity is a pandemic in America, but it is also treatable. Sure, their product placements are dumb and drive me nuts, but they are an evil that goes beyond the show itself. Think of the literal tons of weight the contestants have lost and the millions of people this show inspires. I know it inspired me when I first started my weight loss journey.
While it might look like Rachel lost too much weight to us, we don’t know her whole story. Just because we have a Twitter account doesn’t mean we get to play morale judge, jury and executioner. I ask that you don’t let this alleged controversy overshadow one of the best seasons of this show. Think of Tumi’s amazing success and how she has become a passionate runner from being an obese contestant scared of life. Think about Craig who has changed his family tree by losing weight to avoid having fatal heart disease like his father. Think about Reuben and how we have seen him transform over the past decade. Do not take this away from them by focusing on a single contestant.