This is what i've been waiting for...a contestant FINALLY speaking out!! (although i understand why they don't, the NY Times reported that contestants must sign a contract stating that they will not talk about the show and if they do they risk a fine of anywhere from $100,000 to $1,000,000 depending on how long they have been off the show) Don't get me wrong...i LOVE Biggest Loser!! i'm completely addicted...but finally we hear about what it is REALLY like on the ranch and how incredibly unrealistic that type of weight loss is and what life is like when the show is over. There are 3 parts to the interview...so far she has only blogged 2, the third is next week...i can't wait! to me the most interesting was "BL time", in what is 1 week for viewers, can be anywhere from 2 weeks to 5 days in real time. which would explain loss of 20 pounds or even a couple pounds (if the weigh ins are only 5 days apart).
I believe she could have an eating disorder, but I don't believe anything else she said. If it was so bad, why didn't she quit. They can't hold her against her will, that is called kidnapping.
Another disgruntled loser.
If you don't like it, don't watch it. I have emailed your blog to BL producers so she may be in trouble. I sure hope so.
06-19-2010, 02:14 PM
I know a lot of people think Kai is making this stuff up (sour grapes), but honestly I can't think of any way contestants could lose the weight they do except by the situations she describes.
There are no "miracles" in weight loss. You can't be eating and exercising moderately and pull those kinds of numbers every "week" (even if a week is actually 14 days as she describes). You'd pretty much have to ignore doctor's orders (unless the doctor was a quack-for-hire, which also isn't outside the realm of possibility. There are countless examples of celebrity doctors and doctors of celebrities making pretty bizarre claims and profesional decisisions).
On one hand, I think the contestants have the responsibility of looking after their own best interests, and on the other hand - the tactics Kai describes are very similar to the "brainwashing" techniques I studied in college and graduate school. Eerily similar (and everyone asks the same questions, if they don't understand brainwashing and how it works "why didn't they just leave").
Isolating them from contact with family, preventing contestants from speaking with each other, creating "captor" vs "victim" (production crew vs contestant) dynamic. It's classic cult dynamics. Maybe Kai has studied brainwashing techniques and has made this all up - but the more reasonable explanation is that the situations occurred very much as she described.
I don't know if the show's creators intentionally created an environment much like a cult or hostage situation. It may have been accidental rather than intentional, though I suspect intentional. It's hard to believe that of all of the network executives, production staff, the trainers, doctors, consultants, crew, and lawyers - that not a single one had ever taken college level psychology classes, where they would have been exposed to these techniques and how they work.
What I find most interesting is that the reality show phenomenon was predicted in science fiction (especially 1960's through the 80's and early '90's). I remember thinking "this could never really happen," but it has, and I suspect it can only get worse (as the audience becomes harder and harder to impress, the situations will get riskier and riskier).
06-19-2010, 02:44 PM
it's not my blog, it's simply one i found while being bored at work. the lack of contact with friends and family actually kind of makes sense to me. notice on the show how ecstatic they are with a phone call won in a challenge. plus they aren't suppose to reveal progress...so i could see that. i don't know why she didn't just quit, other than the lure of money and a chance to be thin again...i'm sure that can be a pretty compelling feeling, i know it would be for me...especially when i see progress. i just really don't feel like she is lying...she didn't get paid for the interview. she just sounds like she doesn't want people to believe that weight loss like that is realistic or healthy. again, i LOVE the show, i will continue to watch it regardless. i think it's great entertainment. i just thought it was an interesting take on the show from someone who lived it...i didn't mean to offend anyone or make anyone angry by posting it. sorry.
06-19-2010, 03:17 PM
I apoligize. I should have thought through what I was saying. Eric that won that season had a whole hour program on TLC and Discovery Health. He didn't mention any of that stuff but was more ticked off that they didn't continue calling and encouraging him after the show was over.
06-19-2010, 04:11 PM
I cried when I read the interview.
While I never was happy with my weight, I didn't develop an eating disorder until I tried dieting for the first time. I didn't even know I had developed an eating disorder at the time. I thought people were supposed to lose weight by any means necessary, including exercising for hours, taking ephedra, and starving themselves.
I haven't watched the show for many seasons, although I used to love it. I stopped because I realized it was a weight loss formula that wouldn't work for me. And besides, I gave up my tv in favor of a more active lifestyle.
06-19-2010, 04:19 PM
What surprised me most, is the fact that so many people don't really care whether Kai is telling the truth or not. All's fair in weight loss and entertainment (especially if cash prizes are involved).
Just judging by the televised parts (assuming nothing worse behind-the-scenes), I find it interesting that any doctoral student wanting to create a "Biggest Loser" scenario for research purposes would be shot down by the ethics review board (for a dozen or more reasons).
Too bad there isn't an ethics review board for reality shows. I doubt there will be, until people begin dying.
06-19-2010, 05:31 PM
Too bad there isn't an ethics review board for reality shows. I doubt there will be, until people begin dying.
I agree, and I think that that is bound to happen sometime in the future.
06-19-2010, 07:48 PM
Shoeluver wrote: i think it's great entertainment. i just thought it was an interesting take on the show from someone who lived it...i didn't mean to offend anyone or make anyone angry by posting it. sorry.
I hope never to become so emotionally invested in a reality TV show that I'm not willing to listen to former participants critique it.
The inherent problem with this show is that it's trying to be entertaining while also helping contestants become healthy. I don't think you can always do both.
The other inherent problem is one common to all of reality TV: That reality has to be edited & shaped a lot to make good TV. It's human nature to want stories & an orderly narrative & relatable characters such as we're used to getting from fiction.
A slow sustainable weight loss with emphasis on good food choices & participants gradually becoming athletes would be a hard sell -- and it would offend a lot of the food interests out there who put their advertising dollars into TV commercials.
Also, we want our hidden beauties & hunks to come forth -- and for their character to be revealed as strong & admirable -- and for all kinds of athletic talent to be discovered.
TV thrives on drama, big emotions & on quirky, attractive people who get flattened by dramatic conventions into "good" & "bad" characters that the audience can relate to & that keep us tuning in week after week.
Nothing would surprise me about what they do behind the scenes. I keep waiting for some reality TV show scandal that becomes so big, it blows the whole genre right out of the water. But it would take something like the big quiz show scandal of 1958 for history to repeat itself like that.
06-19-2010, 08:23 PM
I knew that Kai had some issues with the show before I read the interview, due to her Myspace blogs. I never knew the depth of her experiences, however.
Some of the things I read there literally made me sick. I've been watching the show religiously since season six (on and off for the first five seasons) and just recently I've started questioning it. I've alwas hated reality television, especially competitive shows like American Idol and Survivor. However, I classified BL as something altogether different and entirely acceptable. I never really imagined it could cause people harm in the ways Kai is describing here.
I'm not really shocked by any of it, just totally disappointed. I'm already having trouble with my trust in Jillian, someone I truly admired as a trainer before, because of diet pills and her tendency to become a psychologist at the drop of a hat. I loved Bob even more, but this doesn't paint him in the best light at all. Overall, no matter how many times it happens, when people I consider genuine and good contributions to society end up being tarnished, it makes me sad. I guess I expected more out of this show?
kaplods mentioned it, and I think I agree, a lot of these methods of preparing contestants for the show and keeping them ON the show sound like bizarre brainwashing techniques. I'm highly disturbed by some of the things Kai talked about. Is their aim truly to take the reality away from this reality TV show, and create the most fictitious version of a real environment as possible, to mess with minds and cause tension? Are they trying to create artificial drama to replace regular Joes and Janes who simply want to lose weight? It puzzles me.
I am bothered by a lot of different things here, which I may have to go back and pick out if this discussion makes it very far, but the stuff about the trainers stand out to me the most. I already feel that JM is becoming more and more blatantly fake everday, so this isn't helping much.
07-09-2010, 07:08 PM
I already feel that JM is becoming more and more blatantly fake everday, so this isn't helping much.
Same. I haven't trusted her from the start (altho I guess that's not very long, I only became a BL fan/viewer like 3 seasons ago)... There's just something about her that's always rubbed me the wrong way. And it's not just the "tough love" thing. Just something in my gut. Then the pills came out... I bet that won't be her biggest scandal when all is said and done.. just a gut feeling.
And since I haven't been watching BL from the start, I dunno, but it seems to be a more recent thing that she claims she was an overweight teen--Why no pics, I wonder? (Maybe there are some, fine--It's still not gonna change my opinion of her)
Her new show infuriates me, but of course I have to watch. I'm a big "love to hate" kinda gal. :D
07-11-2010, 05:34 AM
I've actually seen a picture of Jillian when she was overweight. She looked average and healthy to me, but that isn't really saying much, considering my current size and the sizes I've been - my interpretation of others can be skewed in overly positive ways. She was around 170 (according to what she says) at a rather short frame, which would have technically made her overweight. I don't want to knock her for sharing that part of her past, but a small part of me thinks she overexaggerates things. It took her quite awhile to mention she had that issue in high school.. it can be sketchy when she does bring it up. Maybe she isn't happy with the light cast upon her and wants to make people aware of a softer side of herself through this story? I can't really say for sure.
It's just.. with her and Bob, I always get this sense that their connection with contestants is SO over dramatic and forced. Like they seriously can't comprehend the idea of being a morbidly obese peson, but they try to play that life coach thing anyhow. And the both of them have said the dumbest things on the show. A recent episode comes to mind, when Darris gained weight because he trained properly for the marathon he was forced to do. Running and fueling the body to run, not to mention training for an event like that, can seriously stall weight loss - I'd expect any trainer with half a brain to know that fact, but Bob made some sort of "..but running makes you lose weight!" comment, oversimplifying the situation (as BL tends to do) and making poor Darris (who properly trained for that stupid marathon) feel like crap.
I also notice small things. Another example, from Bob again: he tends to say extremely insensitive things to the contestants, which go unnoticed or ignored by others who watch. Last season, at Subway, Ashley mentioned getting a sandwich to go for dinner, his reply: "Gosh, you're thinking about food again already?" The season before that they were advertising Lara bars with Danny & Liz. They actually ate the bars Bob gave them, I guess misunderstanding that he just wanted them to hold the bars? Not sure, but his response to that: "Gosh, you guys really are emotional eaters, aren't you?"
At the end of the day, I have and always have had a problem with know-it-alls who know much less than is advertised. I think Bob and Jill fall under that category. I'm sure they're good trainers (they tend to boast that pretty loudly, since they have "saved peoples lives") and I'm sure they are knowledgable to an extent about nutrition and proper dieting, but they are not my cup of tea. In my opinion their egos have overgrown, their methods are common sense with unnecessary attitude to boot, and they really do think they are the only ones in the world who deserve recognition in their areas of "expertise".
The obese individuals on that show deserve more praise than Bob or Jillian, even if they strugge, even if they fail, even if they occasionally have a Dorito or scoop of ice-cream, even if they suck at the challenges, even if they aren't conventional success stories for the show. Because they're the ones giving it their all, not Jillian Michaels who stands there and gets paid to yell and promote.
07-12-2010, 11:27 AM
I haven't read the blog yet - getting reading to as soon as I reply to this. One thing I find fascinating though, is what the people who get kicked off the show early accomplish at home. No one is yelling at them and I think for the most part most of them go back to work. This tells me that they did learn the basics of eating right and excersing. For Eric to say that no one followed up after the show is a cop out to me. He needs to accept some responsibililty. He must have eaten a ton of junk to gain all that back. As you saw at the last show, he has lost of that again so he knows what to do.
JM - I totally agree - I am tired of the "psychologist" side of her.
As far as no family contact during the show, I can see that. They probably are kind of brain washing - kind of like our armed forces. They break you down and build you back up. They are not allowed family contact as first either. However - I personally could never do that. No way - no how.
p.s. I can't get part two to load - either from this post above or from part I. Anyone else having trouble?