Daily appointments with the scale, mobile apps for tracking your progress and wall charts for exercise don’t receive a second look from some people. To others, it is like coming face to face with your worst nightmare. People dealing with weight issues don’t always need daily reminders of how deeply we fall into the “red zone” in terms of pounds.
Frankly, most people are reminded each and every day of their lives about their weight. Scolding and child-like chastising aren’t productive at all in terms of motivation. What you need and what most folks want is encouragement and support. You need reassurance that you’re not alone. I never thought I’d see the day when I could honestly say “you can learn something from watching reality tv”- but surprisingly, you can! Extreme weight loss shows have dispelled myths that obese people are lazy. Many times these shows can be educational and teach health lessons for people of all sizes. If you don’t take anything else from them, here are four things to pay attention to when watching Extreme Weight Loss shows.
We’ve all heard the old saying, “actions speak louder than words”. If someone is planning to drop 200+ lbs, they can talk themselves out of their commitment before they even get started. Embarrassment, fear of ridicule or inferior thoughts all work in a vicious cycle of self-sabotage. When the first Extreme Weight Loss show aired, networks broke ground for instilling a completely new thought process in its audience. Now, you’re able to follow along with real people and experience the ups and downs of their transformation right beside them.
The most valuable lesson these brave people teach is the power of deciding to improve your life. Even against popular opinion, even with a lack of support, even when your brain and body are screaming “Stop!”, they teach you to listen when your heart whispers “Keep going.” It worked for them, why wouldn’t it work for you? All you can do is take things one step at a time. Remember, “one minute leads to the next”- so make each minute count!
Quick Fixes Aren’t Always What They Seem
Or safe, for that matter. James Garrison was a contestant on the first season of Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition. On the show, his goal was to lose 313 lbs within one year. Despite the suspected challenges of losing almost a pound a day, Garrison accepted anyway. By the time the show aired, the country was introduced to the heartfelt story of an obese man trying to live a healthy life.
Unfortunately he’s says that the producers’ the need for him to reach his goal and entertain viewers surpassed the importance of his health. Consequently, his journey didn’t end with the last episode of the season. Garrison acquired over $50,000 worth of medical treatment. According to his claims, the participants were instructed to follow unhealthy practices to achieve their goals so quickly. Garrison says he shares the behind-the-scenes truth because he wants the people at home to see how damaging losing weight too quickly can be. (Note: Garrison made these claims in 2011 but has since taken his blog down. I wonder why…)
Avoid the diet pills and fast schemes; your goal is to be healthy. This will require a complete lifestyle transformation. Listen to your body when setting your pace. There are people who do programs like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig and lose tons of weight and those who would call it a scam. The truth is that there is no one size fits all plan and there are some crazy, unhealthy plans out there. Also, understand that even weight loss show contestants gain the weight back after being on a supervised plan. Another reminder that you have to commit to longterm lifestyle change.
Make A Plan And Acknowledge Your Accomplishments
Another strong focal point to be learned from Extreme Weight Loss shows is the importance of setting goals. We know you probably have an ultimate goal. You want to get down to “x” amount of pounds or “x” dress size. You may even have a timeline, but depending on where you are in the process, meeting up with that “x” can seem so far away. It’s important to hold on to your long-term goals but it’s the short-term successes that’ll get you there.
How much would you like to lose in the first week? What unhealthy foods do you want to scratch off your grocery list? How long do you plan to exercise each day? Meeting these milestones deserves as much applause as losing all 200lbs. Once you’ve outlined your goals, come up with a few rewards and incentives. Learn to treat yourself for a job well done. It wasn’t handed to you and you’ve earned your right to have some fun!
There’s No “I” In Team…
But, if you look closely, you can make out “me”. These shows also let us know that, even with a skilled team of the industry’s top professionals, your success will ultimately boil down to your effort and commitment. All the meal plans and exercise routines in the world aren’t enough to make you get up and get started. None of the medical research known to man will be able to convince you to do what you need to do to save your life.
In most cases, it takes years, even decades to pile on enough weight to enter the Morbidly Obese category. Although it only takes one day to wake up and say “enough is enough”, try to be compassionate with yourself during the process. Reality television shows can serve as a healthy form of morale, but it’s important to remember that you’re watching a part of a production and in some cases a competition. The ultimate goal for most people who aren’t on these shows is to become healthy. Change your habits to live a healthier life and the weight won’t have a choice but to fall off. You’ll be able to tell by your clothes and your energy level. You won’t need to check the scale or the calendar.