Did you know that watching reality weight loss shows can make you biased against fat people?
University of Missouri researchers studied 700 volunteers. Half of them watched episodes of the popular TV show “The Biggest Loser,”and half didn’t. Immediately afterward, they all completed a questionnaire about their attitudes toward overweight people.
The result? The “Biggest Loser” watchers had more anti-fat attitudes compared to those who didn’t watch the show. They were also more likely to feel that weight control boils down to two things: willpower and personal behavior. In other words, if someone’s overweight, it’s their own fault, and they choose to be lazy, Sloppy-Joe-eating couch potatoes.
Another finding from the study? Reality weight loss shows fuel fat stigma because they make it look easy to quickly lose a lot of weight. In fact, most contestants lose a whopping 10 pounds a week. But doctors say the maximum safe weight loss is 2 pounds a week, max. And researchers say that a lot of people think that if contestants on TV can drop hundreds of pounds in a few months, then all obese people should be able to.
But, research has shown that people who lose weight quickly are more likely to gain it all back. Plus, exercising that much in a short amount of time, after years of inactivity, puts you at greater risk for injuries. That actually happened to Ryan Benson, who won Season One of “The Biggest Loser.” After dropping more than 120 pounds, he not only gained it all back; he admitted he’d dropped some of the weight by fasting and dehydrating himself to the point that he was urinating blood!
So, if you want to lose weight, forget about the TV shows, and forget about the stigma of being overweight. Stick to one hour of exercise a day, and a healthy diet. It may not be glamorous, but it’s 100-percent healthy.