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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rage and The Biggest Loser

Some very interesting news the other day regarding Jillian Michaels and the juggernaut which is known as The Biggest Loser. Seems Ms. Michaels is going to have a new show called Losing It With Jullian.

She will follow families in their homes and help change their diet and exercise habits.

Reveille and Empowered Media are producing. Giants in reality TV.

NBC has ordered eight segments of the series. Major money.

In the press release, this is what Ms. Michaels had to say about the show: "I hear all the time from people about 'Oh, it'd be so easy to do if I was on the ranch, if I had a personal gym. I got sick of hearing it. So we're telling people, we'll come to you and teach you how to be healthy."

The idea is each week she will work with a different family to help them make changes in their diet and exercise plans (or create ones, if there is a lack of).

Michaels is serving as executive producer (means she's one the big bosses), along with some of Oprah's team.

Joining Michaels will be the sweet and pretty (yet oddly uninteresting) chef Curtis Stone. Cutie Curtis will help guests make healthy meals and teach them how to cook healthier.

I love the idea. I do. I think a show about helping people become healthier is only a good thing. But I can't say I'm a total fan of Jillian's style of empowering.

It's odd -- she clearly knows people. I wouldn't be surprised if she has a degree in social work or if she's had some sort of training outside of her abrasive TV persona or been in therapy or read books on therapy...she's knows the deeper stuff of what makes people tick. She's smart, aware.

But she can be a bitch, can't she?

Nice rage issues for a show that featured Long Island-based physical trainer Anthony Badalamenti. Remember Sweet Tony? He was convicted last August of (according to police) allegedly inflicting multiple lacerations and bruises on the right hand, right leg and buttocks of his girlfriend's 6 year old child for 20 non-stop minutes.

The boy screamed so loud for help it caused the neighbors to call the police.

Am I making a connection between Tony and Jillian style of training? Absolutely not. Am I saying they advocated his methods? Absolutely not. Where they horrified he was a child beater? Of course. Please.

But...unleashing and promoting a hard-ass attitude in this life as the primary motivator to help people change is not, in my view, the best motivator to be rewarded or encouraged.

I see this attitude in New York City all the time. Be tough, be hard, be firm and take no prisoners. Sure, some people respond to that, but I don't think the majority of people DO. It scares people, it doesn't motivate them.

It's like pulling out a rotten tooth and leaving the festering nerve behind. Sure, the tooth is gone, but what about the nerve?

Don't get me wrong. The Biggest Loser is fantastic reality TV. A model all others contestant-driven reality shows must model themselves after.

Despite the fact it's showing its fake 'reality TV' seams too often (please, the product placement and the scripted moments are downright painful), you can't fake weight loss and the emotional stakes are engrossing.

While I can't deny she gets results, she doesn't need to be so nasty. Caring works wonders.

In this country, we feel caring and supportive behavior is weak and ineffective. We reward abrasive and caustic behavior. It's active, it has movement to it, it's something we can latch onto and it's something which plays well on TV.

I think the trick is to be a balance of the strong, diligent person and the patient, caring person. Which is why The Biggest Loser has both Bob and Jillian. Very logical.

Right, like Bob isn't gay...

Which brings me to today's blog.

The Biggest Loser is all about horribly obese people losing tremendous amounts of weight. If they don't, most will die a premature death. It's truly life or death.

None of the contestants are the 'average Joe and Jane' in American who must lose somewhere between 10-20 pounds to be in a much healthier weight bracket.

Yet I'm one of those people.

For years, I've carried around 10-20 pounds of extra weight. I've been teetering towards the extra 20 pounds as I reach my mid-40-'s.

The effects of such weight gain for a man of my age and size is not as immediately life threatening as the people on The Biggest Loser, but it IS shortening my life span and reducing the quality of my life.

I have to lose it to have a longer and better life.

I know so many people who are up to 20 pounds overweight. Some up to 40 pounds, but the magic number for most people seems to be around 20 pounds.

I have always envisioned The Food Therapist being about the effects of food and mood, but I've always wanted it to be about AFFORDABLE HEALTH.

How can the average middle-class American eat well and lose weight and not go broke in the process?

Most people who are terribly overweight are so because they eat the wrong foods which are fattening and CHEAP. Organic food is expensive. Health food is expensive.

McDonald isn't.

So I am putting my money where my mouth is. Every week, I am going to weight myself and I am going to lose the 10-20 pounds I have had around my gut for so many years.

And the way to do that is the combination of two things they always show on The Biggest Loser but they are the secret key:
  • Food
  • Exercise
We'll call this Biggest Loser-American Style.

I work out 6 times a week. So I know this is the tried and true 'calories in/calories out' system. I am putting in too many calories. It's that simple.

Years ago, when I taught aerobics, I knew teachers who taught all the time but couldn't get their ass to shrink down. They worked out everyday. Hard. 2 hours of 80's style aerobics. And they didn't lose weight. Why?


It all comes down to the food.

But not only the food -- the emotional process which gets in the way of us eating the wrong foods and the right foods.

I am going to make part of the focus of this blog about my own emotional journey to lose my bit of a gut by watching everything I'm eating and making smart food choices and dealing with the emotions behind these choices.

I feel bad I still have a bit of a gut. I feel like I'm fat and I hate I now wear a size 34 waist jean. I used to wear 29. I've gone up 5 sizes and I'm only in my mid-40's.

The madness must stop.

So part of this blog will by my own personal journey to lose my extra weight by creating healthier foods at home and honestly taking a look at what is in the foods I create at home.

Oprah may not be able to tame her inner demons making her eat her dreaded blue corn chips at night, but I sure as hell am going to try and tame my own.

For me...for my family...for my life.

They always say a therapist can't help the patient until they help themselves. And this is one of the few areas in my life I need to manage. Of course, it makes sense I'm trying to get a handle on my gut while I try to push a cooking show.

Life is one ironic journey, isn't it?

Mikey Bryan
Your Food Therapist

1 comment:

  1. Rock on, Mike. I do think it's as simple as food and exercise...and medication and age and metabolism and emotions :) :) :)