Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Reality Tv Versus Reality
I watched an interesting show a few nights ago. It was called Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition, which airs on Sunday evenings at 8 pm. The show was a big hit last year and has returned for season two. As a contestant of the show, they get 365 days to transform their lives with the help of a medical doctor, nutritionist, and, for a while, a live in trainer named Chris Powell.
The first hour of the show I got to know Jacqui, who was 30yrs old and weighed in at 355 pounds. Her weight problem began at 14 after she was attacked by a boy at a party. She is married now to a very supportive man, Shawn, and they would like to start a family. However, her weight is keeping her from getting pregnant. She is ready to do something about it. Plus, she is willing to do it in front of cameras and share her life with the world.
Her trainer and transformation specialist Chris set her first goal at 90 lbs, in 90 days. She struggled greatly through the 4-6hr daily workouts. Lucky for her, Chris was constantly by her side reminding her of her goals, giving her endless support and hugs, telling her exactly what to eat and how much, and scheduling all of her workouts. If Jacqui was successful, she would win a honeymoon vacation. At her weigh in 3 months later, she had lost 92 pounds and had won her "carrot", the all expense paid trip to Ireland. While on her trip, she would have the challenge of completing a metric century, 62 miles, by bike. She was also presented another goal, to lose 30+ pounds more in 30 days. So much for relaxing.
This lady put her heart, mind, and soul into her weight loss. Jacqui developed the "eye of the tiger" attitude, an intense focus on winning back her life. She was fascinating to watch as she shed the pounds. She eventually quit her job when her HR department would not accept her employment on a part time basis. She was now able to focus entirely on losing over half her body weight. Remember, she has no children either. Her extended family was unbelievably supportive, changing the way they ate and exercising.
In the end, Jacqui annihilated her goals and went from being super obese to an astonishing knock out in just a years time. She finished the metric century and lost an astonishing 207 pounds. After losing the weight, she was given skin removal surgery, at the expense of the show. Jacqui was awesome for television. Her trainer was quick to point out that she was the "perfect client". She did everything he asked her to do and exactly the way she was instructed to. At her final weigh in, she was presented a $50,000 Walmart gift card.
I love and hate shows like this. This is not the everyday persons experience. For instance, when I started on my weight loss journey, I could not afford a gym. I sure as hell would not have been able to quit my job. I did not have a MD , a nutritionist, or a live in trainer at my disposal. I did not have a personal chef nor did I have an expensive vacation or a HUGE gift card dangled in front of me as a bonus prize. I had to do my own research on food and exercising, getting my information from books and the internet. I am not trying to be negative about Jacqui, she had to work very hard to lose that weight. However, she had a lot of variables in her favor. Her guess work was replaced by professionals. In the real world, not many people can afford to go about their weight loss in this way.
I believe shows like this catch the eye of very desperate people. They think that " if she can do it, so can I". Which is a great attitude to have, but desperate people do not see the entire situation. Desperate folks will forget all the things Jacqui had given to her, the fact that she did not have a job or children, and was blessed with a very supportive family. She had it ALL. All the necessary tools to be triumphant. I applaud her for being successful and hope she pays it forward since she was given the gift of life.
Jacqui and I did share a common denominator. She wanted to have a baby, and I had just had one. My little girl deserved a healthy mom and I was determined to give her one. Our long term goal is what kept us going. We were not trying to fit into a wedding dress or a bikini. We were changing our lives permanently, not just for a special occasion.
Losing weight can be done by yourself. You have to want it. You have to want it more than anything else. You do not need anyone's help. Therefore, you have to become your own help. Be your own cheerleader. Remind yourself daily of your motivation. Show up at your workouts. Give it everything you have. Don't quit, ever. Pat yourself on the back once in a while. You can do this.
Thanks for reading,
Posted by Wendy Davis at 2:29 PM