I’ve talked about my love/hate relationship with weight loss reality shows in the past. They are still a guilty pleasure of mine. I really don’t know why I still enjoy them when they make me feel so bad sometimes.
The only weight loss show on during the summer that I watch is “Extreme Weight Loss” (I think “The Biggest Loser” isn’t coming back until the fall or winter). I was watching it last night when I started to think more about why I watch these shows.
On “The Biggest Loser”, time is condensed, obviously. You are watching one week of footage in a single episode. But each week there is only one episode on. So it’s almost like it’s in real-time.
On “Extreme Weight Loss”, each episode represents an entire year (each episode follows a single person for one year). Every week, it’s a different person’s year.
I think I’m holding myself to the standards that these reality shows are creating. It’s not normal to lose weight like that. And I think that “Extreme Weight Loss” is making me judge my weight journey really badly.
Within a 2 hour episode, you go from seeing someone who is even more overweight than I am to seeing someone who is pretty much at a goal weight. That all happens in 2 hours. But in real life, that took a year. It makes things seem so quick and easy when they aren’t. Even though the contestants on these shows have pretty much no distractions while losing weight so they are able to focus on it 24/7, you still don’t really see the struggles someone has when the scale jumps up suddenly. You only see the weigh-in where the weight is down (this is not technically always true, but the majority of the time it is).
Why should I think that my journey should only take 2 hours as well? And the weight loss goals that they reach are completely unreasonable for me. On last night’s episode, the guy features was challenged to lose 118 pounds in 3 months (he was over 200 pounds overweight). If I lost 118 pounds in 3 months, I’d pretty much be done. That’s not possible (or if it is, it is definitely not healthy).
I should not look to these shows to be examples or even inspirations. They are for entertainment purposes only.
It’s hard to find inspiring people in the real world who have gone from obese to a goal weight. Most of those people either gain the weight back (like I have several times), or they aren’t out and about sharing their story. And some of the ones I have seen are people who had weight loss surgery or have used some other method that I don’t want to do.
So I need to turn myself into my own inspiration. I need to start thinking that losing 2 pounds in a week is awesome instead of horrible (since all the people on reality shows seem to lose double digits every week). I need to start think that it’s ok if my journey takes a year, or two years, or even a decade. As long as I keep going. And I need to start thinking of all those reality shows as mindless entertainment instead of examples.
It’s not easy to change how you think, but I’m really going to try.