Just to get it out in the open, I don’t watch “The Biggest Loser.” Maybe that seems kind of strange for a fitness person, or, maybe not. I have watched the show, I just don’t watch it, watch it. But if I was going to watch it, it would definitely be when Jillian Michaels is on. Without her, it just seems like a sad shadow of itself. Bob Harper is cool and all (I did love his book), but Jillian really makes the show.
I think a lot of people feel that way, which is why it’s big news that she’s back on. That’s right, starting with a new season in January, Jillian is back, and she’s bringing a new twist: overweight teens. I’m not sure how I feel about this idea. On one hand, I think featuring teenagers struggling with weight and dealing with the emotional and health issues that accompany obesity could be a real eye-opener for people. Studies show parents don’t really see their own overweight kids, instead labeling them, “big for their age,” or as “carrying a little extra baby fat.” Maybe featuring overweight kids will help more families to see that being “chubby” isn’t safe or normal for their kids.
Childhood obesity is a sickening problem in this country and I do think that the more we see it, hear about it, and learn ways to address it can only reinforce the dire situation we are putting our kids in.
However, (and it’s a BIG however) I’m not sure I see how they are going to incorporate teens into the show in a truly helpful and respectful way. According to NBC, kids won’t be subjected to public weigh-ins, or elimination, nor will they be sequestered at the ranch, as is the norm for adult contestants. Apparently they also plan to have the input of plenty of experts in order to handle the teens’ issues sensitively. I hope they address the habits that got these kids to “The Biggest Loser” in the first place, and show how they plan to get the rest of the family on board to support a healthy lifestyle after the show is over.
I know Jillian also has very personal feelings about this topic, as she herself was an overweight teenager.
I trust she has her heart in the right place, and that she really wants to make a difference in people’s lives. She’s tough and can be harsh when necessary. I think it works because she clearly has a true passion for living a happier, fuller life through health and fitness. I dig it. And even if her approach doesn’t appeal to everyone, I think it’s worthy of respect.
NBC though? Hmmmmm. They likely want a shocking new format, along with a boost in ratings.
What do you think, gentle readers? Are you interested in seeing teenagers on “The Biggest Loser?” Do you think it’s a good idea to open kids up to such public scrutiny on such a sensitive issue? Frankly I’m surprised NBC doesn’t just turn this idea into a spin-off: “Biggest Loser Teen Addition,” or something like that. It seems to make more sense than trying to fit it into a format that already works the way it is.
Maybe I’ll turn into a “Biggest Loser” watcher after all.