There’s a great discussion going on at 3FC on this topic, and one of my posts struck me as something I really need to remember. The easiest way to do that, seemed to be to put it here on my blog, so for what it’s worth, here it is:
I know that virtually everyone SAYS they know the show’s losses aren’t realistic (I believe them, or at least believe it’s what they think), but before Biggest Loser existed, I don’t remember ever seeing so many complaints on the 3FC and other boards about “only losing 3 lbs.” It seems that more and more folks ARE expecting much larger losses than ever before.
I think that on one hand, with the logical brain we “know” that those losses aren’t possible in “real life” (because no one has the time to work out 6 to 8 hours a day unless they’re independently wealthy and don’t have a job or a life). And yet the emotional brain says “I want that too – if them, why not me.”
Especially since the format hides how much work and time really went into those results. The week (which may not even be only a week) shows some intense exercising, but just a minute or so at a time. You see people being yelled at, and it encourages you to think of some of those folks as “slackers” (not realizing that your at-home exercise is probably 1/20th as long or as intense as the slowest, least achieving contestant). The show WANTS you to think that you would do better if you were there, you would APPRECIATE the opportunity, and you would be one of the ones that worked the hardest – Jillian would never have to yell at YOU.
It isn’t that people don’t think the show is unrealistic, it’s that I think there’s a big gap between the reality and many people’s perception of just HOW unrealistic the show is. People aren’t expextng to lose 20 lbs in a week – but they may expect still-unrealistic 5.
In part, because there aren’t shows praising and making a big deal out of the 1, 2, 3, and 4 lb losses, I think people are losing sight of just how incredible even the smallest losses are. It’s a big deal, and it should be treated like a big deal.
I don’t think ONLY TBL is responsible for the rise in unreasonable expectations, we’re an instant gratification society in more ways than ever before. I just feel that it’s one of the largest barriers to lasting weight loss, because when you expect instant, and don’t get it, that results in disappointment, and I think disappointment is the biggest source of failure when it comes to weight loss. People don’t quit because they ARE failing, but because they feel they are failing (often interpreting success as failure because they think, for many reasons that it “should be” faster and easier than it is – so they must be doing something wrong).