Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Biggest Losers are a Bunch of Cheaters

I don’t want to tell anyone I am on Nutrisystem. For all that our society claims to be open-minded and accepting, I think that people still tend to be very judgmental towards individuals who choose to lose weight using some sort of system. Even WeightWatchers is barely acceptable. But for those of us who choose JennyCraig, Medifast or Nutrisystem….it can get downright mean out there.

I first came face to face with this attitude when two ladies I know were discussing another lady we know, who had crazy success on Medifast. The woman in question is a kind, intelligent person, who had so far lost 60 pounds, and hoped to lose another 20. As I listened to these women criticize her chosen weight-loss method, I thought, “Who cares? If standing on her head and burping the alphabet helps her lose weight, good for her!”

The two ladies went on and on about how unhealthy it was to lose weight with packaged foods, and that sure, you could get the weight off, but that is the “easy” part. What about maintenance? I should have spoken up and told them that I would not call losing weight “easy,” at least not for me.

In my opinion, this woman had found something that worked for her. Keyword here: HER. And since it is HER choice, and she found something that works for HER, shouldn’t we then be happy, you know, for HER??

To illustrate this double-standard, think of person A and person B. A and B have both lost 50 pounds. A and B both modified their diets, and incorporated exercise. But A is using Nutrisystem, while B did it on her own. Do you think they will get the same amount of kudos? Hells no. B will get oodles of congrats, while A will be grilled with questions about whether her weight loss will last, and be lucky to retain her dignity. Why is this? If A and B are both healthy, fit and can get into a size 6, who cares how they got there?

I think that to some, choosing a weight-loss program that involves buying pre-packaged foods demonstrates an inherent lack of willpower. And that makes me want to chuckle. If I had oodles of willpower and self-control, I wouldn’t be fat. So, if I need a program that spells it out for me for awhile, who cares? If I choose a program that puts high fences up on my options for the time-being? Why is that a bad thing?

I look at those contestants on the Biggest Loser, and I think it is the same kind of idea. Those contestants are not on the Ranch forever, but most of them keep their weight off when they leave. No one is judging them or accusing them of cheating at the weight-loss game for going on the show in the first place. No one is yelling at the TV screen saying, “You should be able to figure this out on your own! Don’t accept the trainer’s help! Muscle through by yourself!”

So why do we judge people who choose a packaged-foods weight loss program? Why do we think that it is somehow “cheating” when people choose a more regimented plan? The Biggest Loser contestants learn things about exercise, eating and discipline by following their trainers’ plan. So why does it feel like a weight-loss “taboo” for me to follow Nutrisystem’s program?

It’s like admitting defeat, somehow. Like, I couldn’t do it by myself, so I had to order Nutrisystem. I'm gonna feel really guilty about that when I'm wearing a size 10 again. (Pause, not.)

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