The Biggest Loser - Winning by Losing For discussion of the NBC tv show The Biggest Loser and the book Winning by Losing, by Jillian Michaels

 
 
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Old 05-10-2009, 11:07 PM   #16  
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I'd have to agree with you, Kiramira.

Although, walking or running at whatever speed and whatever terms was still an accomplishment for these contestants, it was NOT insurmountable or unreasonable in my opinion.

They were totally supported and prepared to go at their own pace. In the case of Ron, he even said to the camera that he had told himself he'd do it even if he had to sit and rest an hour and then continue and that is what he did, maybe even more than one time. It took him all day and into the night to finish and following that dramatic scene with the medicoes he made his own decision to continue and was accompanied with the chief doctor they have in charge of these contestants (the Dr. H that is always seeing them at the university medical center).

Another thing that made this a little less daunting in my opinion was that there was no massive crowd as there usually is at a marathon. They didn't have the stress of getting themselves to the right starting area, standing there and waiting in a crowd, then jostling their way along the course with a huge number of runners and walkers and people with baby strollers or whatever.

I thought it looked like fun.
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Old 05-10-2009, 11:11 PM   #17  
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Sorry, me again, had one more thought. I didn't think this challenge was actually as hard as the run they did in Australia one season and another season the contestants did a run up some structure with a zillion stairs.

Running with only four people on the course, two of them walking, one of them stopping and resting along the way, along a flat well kept track in a nice locale with all the time in the world to finish didn't seem that extreme to me, although certainly challenging.
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Old 05-11-2009, 08:36 AM   #18  
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I get the sense that runners are most bothered by this (based on an unofficial poll of my small running group). When you've trained for months for a full marathon and completed one in a race setting, I think it gives us a different perspective.

I agree that walking 26.2 miles, fully supported and monitored, with no time limit, is challenging but not impossible for people that have been training like the contestants have. But, that's not how the TV show presented it -- "you are going to RUN a marathon in 26 days!!". I guess if they had said, you're going to take a really long walk in 26 days, it wouldn't have been nearly so dramatic. And Mikie really did try to train to run it, and hurt himself in the process.

I just think it sends a terrible message to viewers. We already have lots of people who set out to train for full marathons with little or no running experience, try to increase mileage too quickly and end up hurting themselves. It just takes longer than that to adequately prepare for the stresses of the marathon distance. I wish there was some kind of disclaimer -- Results Not Typical. Do Not Try This At Home.
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Old 05-11-2009, 09:41 AM   #19  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leeesa View Post
Organizers of these events also acknowledge that if you have 5,000 participants in a race, you run about a 5% chance of sudden cardiac death.
You have to wonder about that statistic. That's 250 people having sudden cardiac death during that marathon. The Boston marathon has over 20,000 people, 5% would be 1000 people. Doesn't seem right.
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Old 05-11-2009, 10:19 AM   #20  
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I don't think the statistic means that 5% of the people will have cardiac issues. What it means is that if you have races with 5000 people that there's a 5% chance that one person will have sudden cardiac death. Meaning more likely that in 20 such races, 1 person will do so.

(There's a good reason for the saying - there are lies, damn lies, and statistics)

ETA: "A study on London Marathon runners over a 20 year period, in fact, found that with a rate of death of 1 in 67,414" (although it should be noted that heat related deaths might be lower as it doesn't mention if this is only London based runs)

http://coachjoeenglish.wordpress.com...ing-marathons/

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Old 05-11-2009, 10:53 PM   #21  
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I think the disclaimer "Results not typical, do not try this at home" SHOULD be on a ticker tape at the bottom of the screen, like Ms. MBN suggests. But they should run this ticker throughout the ENTIRE BTL program, not just the final challenge!!!
Kira

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Old 05-12-2009, 10:30 AM   #22  
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There is actually a sort of blanket disclaimer shown in the credits at the end of each program, although people probably don't watch those. They also generally say things during the program that indicate that the results aren't typical unless one can train six hours a day, etc., probably people don't hear that.

Re it bothering runners, I've been one (still am, but less so, now I'm a walk/jog kind of person), but I've never been ok to run a marathon and in the past I've allowed this attitude that it's not legit to walk one but I think soon I will.

As a sort of runner/jogger/walker/yogini person, I think that just in general runners, at least the ones I've known and run with, as well as the way I used to think also, are always bothered by the idea that walkers do marathons and they don't see that as the same level of challenge for the individual, but in my opinion, walking 26 miles in one day whatever your gait or speed is quite a physical accomplishment and the mark of a fit person, although not a runner.

But things change slowly, remembering (not in my personal time frame) when women were not thought of as real runners and they weren't allowed for the most part to participate in most organized races until one woman forced her way onto a famous race and they tried to throw her out but she prevailed.

They addressed this idea of "well, I didn't really RUN a marathon" on BL with Mike who was lamenting that he had to walk.

Re death, I feel I can wake up some morning and walk to the kitchen for a cup of coffee and drop dead.

I can lie on the sofa and do nothing at all because I might die from doing something, but eventually I would still die.

There are death statistics for anything one does, because, well, that's the way it goes.

Whatever, they did good and I'm happy for them and I'd bet someday soon, Mike WILL run a marathon.

Last edited by Amarantha2; 05-12-2009 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:45 AM   #23  
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As silly as it may seem, I am also obsessed with the show because, I guess, I'm interested in the process of weight loss and how to go from obese to a state of fitness and this show illustrates many points for me.

I feel they have medical personnel monitoring them intensely from the outset. I agree with a previous poster about how Jerry passed out at the beginning having done really nothing to warrant that (nothing against him, he WAS very unfit so next to nothing was a lot for him, plus stress, I guess). The medicoes are right there ready to move in on them at all times.

I do think Jilllian seems to go too far jumping on people and humiliating them, etc., although some of that may be editing.

Re Ron at the marathon, he WAS guilt ridden and that's why he allowed himself to almost die (I thought) to finish that, but that was a choice he made. He seems very self-aware and capable of making his own decisions (as well as having a tendency to make decisions for others, he's strong willed). He was carefully monitored during that whole incident and supported to the inth degree in either deciding to quit, in which case they'd probably have transported him to the hospital or to be supported to finish the event and maybe they should not have let him but, why not, if that was important to him?

I personally don't feel the people (other than my aforementioned statement about Jillian sometimes) are humiliated or made to feel somehow bad by the producers for profit. It IS not a good thing, IMO, to be as obese as these contestants, putting themselves at risk for extreme health problems and decreased enjoyment of life.

They seem to have reached that decision by themselves, lining up in hopes of getting on there (I have seen one of the audition events the show puts on, the line snaked through the mall and out along the sidewalk and people waited for hours to get a chance).

There is a prize of $250,000, along with other valuable prizes, plus a paid vacation of sorts in which they are allowed to focus entirely on their own health and weight loss journeys. Their relatives are paid a stipend.

And at the end of the day, if they don't like it there or don't want to do something, I don't see any way anyone could make them do it.

Btw, it is really easy to injure a hip just walking in everyday life at Mike or Laura's original weight.

It's also easy for thin runners and other exercisers to get such injuries. I've had them but sometimes I think, well, it's better than sitting in a rocking chair for the rest of my life.
I couldnt agree with you more! And really havent these people been training for the past several months, i highly doubt they just up and said...oh lets make them run a marathon. Bob and Jillian and the other medical personnel are not stupid. Plus, we dont even know how it all went down they edit these shows so much. For all we know they took breaks and just turned the timer off.

I found the marathon to be extremely motivating and I'm going to start training for walking one myself. The program is 16 weeks.

If they were doing the dipping in chocolate and throwing marshmellows stuff I wouldnt watch, that isnt motivating and I find it highly insulting.
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Old 05-14-2009, 04:55 PM   #24  
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"If they were doing the dipping in chocolate and throwing marshmellows stuff I wouldnt watch, that isnt motivating and I find it highly insulting." ~ Hun.e.b

Me, too!

Melissa, best of luck in your marathon training!
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Old 05-14-2009, 06:05 PM   #25  
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Melissa,
If you want to train for a marathon then I would encourage you to contact your local chapter of Leukemia and Lymphoma society. They have Team in Training where they will help you train and walk or run a marathon and you raise money for them. They have great coaches and rally help you train. It's a great cause and helps everyone involved.
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:40 PM   #26  
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Oh great! Thanks for the tip Bette!!
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Old 05-16-2009, 02:27 PM   #27  
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I do wish the last challenge would have been something different, but they all did a great job even with the limitations that a couple of them had.

These people in a sense have been training for a marathon this whole time. A few weeks back (Original Air Date: 03/17/2009) they also did a half marathon. Which considering the editing time, the race was actually probably done some time around January. They all lost quite a bit of weight in between these races as well which should have been a benefit to their finishing the course. This weight being removed makes a huge difference... I know!! Last year I did a 5k weighing 30 pounds heavier than I do now and it took me 40 minutes to complete it (this was also with about 12 weeks of training). Last weekend I did the same 5k and finished it in 32.5 minutes with very little training but I am down that 30 pounds.

Granted a 5k is not the same as a marathon, but the fact that they had that time to train and lose the additional weight, helped them be ready for and complete the marathon! Plus, they had the medical staff right there along with them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Findmyself View Post
Is this really true? I didn't know this. I always wondered how they managed to be away from work for 4 to 6 months.
Yes, they do get a stipend when they are on the ranch that helps them pay for their bills. The stipend is a set amount so if you earn a higher salary, you may be taking a cut by going on the show, or if you are making pennies flipping burgers at your local fast food chain, this could be a pay increase while you are on the show. Some people have been able to take leaves from their jobs and some have totally had to just walk away from their job because of the uncertainty of not knowing how long they will be away.


btw - go Mel on your marathon training!!


Edited to add: They were given the option of completing the marathon. They never HAVE to complete the challenge as we saw so many times where people would sit out for medical reasons or quit shortly after starting because of fear or pain. If I remember right, there was an award where money was donated to their charity of choice if they finished the marathon. They didn't have to finish it, but their charity did not get the money if they did not finish.

Last edited by Andi18; 05-17-2009 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 05-16-2009, 02:52 PM   #28  
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I agree that Bob and Jillian and the other medical personnel are not stupid. However, there is a huge conflict of interest here, because the contestants have signed away their lives through the releases, absolving the show and it's staff and producers including Bob, Jillian, and the medical staff of all responsibility, should anything bad happen to them on the show, including death.

What incentive is there for Bob, Jillian, or the medical staff to protect the contestants, when their income is dependent upon, to a degree, putting the contestants at risk. I'm not saying that any of them are consciously trying to kill off contestants, or that any of them are intentionally trying to hurt anyone - there's just a lot of incentive to push the contestants beyond the limits they would attempt if the contestants had not signed documents preventing them from suing. Freed from legal responsibility, there's little incentive for the show or it's staff to protect the contestants. Even a death might not be bad for ratings, and ratings are the biggest motivator here.

I'm not at all impressed, or comforted by the fact that the show has medical staff on hand. Celebrity doctors and doctors for celebrities do not have an impressive track record of ethical and sound medical judgement. Celebrities seem to have little trouble finding doctors who are willing to prescribe medications that no doctor for average citizens would consider. If the financial incentives are high enough, you can find a doctor to give pretty much any opinion you want.

When we live in a culture that views overweight people as subhuman (almost worse than criminals), and being fat as a fate worse than death (so death isn't a terrible consequence) - I have no doubt that these folks all think they have the highest motives. They're "helping" people. That there may be safer and more effective weight loss strategies, or that the show might inspire some folks at home to mimic what they see without medical supervision - "oh well, not our responsibility."

I don't see these shows as much different than the ancient Roman gladitorial games, except that death, while possible, is less likely and not (I sincerely pray) an intentional outcome.

Last edited by kaplods; 05-16-2009 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 05-17-2009, 10:38 AM   #29  
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I gotta stop reading this thread.
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Old 05-17-2009, 11:47 AM   #30  
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The marathon was awesome, I don't think the meant to offend any "REAL" marathon runners/trainers/wanna bees.
I taught step class for over two years, and you might not believe how incredibly challenging and dangerous it was for the overweight contestants to complete 8 hours of stepping (I don't remember how long it was), but I didn't see all the step people being offended by it - although I did cringe a little.
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