One of the biggest shows on reality television has been the show “The Biggest Loser” that capitalized on transforming fat people into the people they desperately wanted to be inside, the best shape of their life, and the winner received prize money and their five minutes of fame. The show, for those who haven’t seen it, pushes people to the extreme, cuts out many foods they enjoyed and makes them exercise like it were an addiction. The reason they push it so hard is because the show has a timeline and the people must lose more than everyone else to win within that time frame. The only way to do that, is the same way we’ve always known about, but they do it to the extreme to fall within the time window they’re given.
While it’s not as bad as other reality shows because it’s promoting better health instead of being a nighttime soap opera, it’s still not exactly realistic for most people watching at home to do on their own. It may give them the boost they need to make the decision to start working for it, but if they don’t see the results as quickly as the contestants, they may fall prey to feeling like a failure and give up before they’ve really even had a chance. It’s true that exercise is important for better health, but weight loss does not need to be exclusive to working out. Dieting alone, or just choosing better foods will allow weight loss by itself. If you only consume as much as your body needs for fuel and to survive, you have to lose weight, it’s impossible not to.
There’s also the ability to work out from your home at your own pace, with your own equipment and avoid the gym and the scary sessions that you see on the show. Being active is important yes, but it’s just a matter of being more active than you normally are. If your job is sedentary, try to stand, or find a way to get a standing work station. Sitting is bad for you long-term, and we were never meant to live a largely sedentary lifestyle, our bodies cannot handle it and stay working properly. By doing something as simple as getting up from a seated position multiple times a day, you already break a dangerous cycle that can wreak havoc on your musculoskeletal system.
Outside that smallest bit of extra effort, there was a meta-analysis done in 2011 that looked toward the relationship of physical activity and fat mass in children. The results showed that activity level was not the determining factor in a child’s rate of obesity. While that is true for children, there’s also other studies that are hard pressed to prove that an active person through intervention (action before a problem occurs) is less likely to gain weight than a sedentary person. There are many more studies that further support this theory from many different countries as well, in both developed and underdeveloped areas which proves even more that what we eat may just be more important than how much we’re moving.
Weight loss through exercise will make you more hungry as you’re expending more energy. It takes more food fuel to keep up with the demands you’re placing on your body, and eventually your metabolism slows and you hit a plateau. Everyone in the weight loss war has been there. This is due to your resting metabolic rate, which slows as you diet or lose weight, making it harder over time to achieve the same results as when you began. It usually takes a large increase in either energy expenditure or a massive change in eating patterns to get through that plateau and get to the goal weight. Diet with exercise does perform best out of the three, but there’s such a small difference that it is nearly negligible.
It comes down to time management in the end. If people spent half the time they normally spent at the gym at home preparing a healthy meal, there would be further lasting benefits. There are also so many food options that take little time at all, or no cooking at all that will make all the difference you need without sacrificing time you don’t have. Dieting is not something to avoid out of the fear of putting the weight back on, it’s something to look at as more of a lifestyle change, and a conscious choice for yourself to eat better. Neither dieting nor exercise are easy tasks on their own, and both require a great deal of discipline.
Exercise is good for your health, this isn’t meant to say you should not try to be moderately active, especially as you lose more weight and find more energy as part of your results, it shows marked improvement in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, pulmonary disease, musculoskeletal disorders, neurological diseases and even depression. Exercise releases serotonin which is our happiness hormone, and it will certainly lead to a more toned figure or physique, it just is less important for weight loss specifically than eating less.
Meanwhile, see more about the show “The Biggest Loser” and perhaps let it help you find your reason to make the biggest first step of your life toward better health. Just remember the difference between reality television and actual reality. All it takes is dedication and the desire to see your goals through to the end, and pushing through the plateau when it hits to get where you want to be. Make better food choices, and try to get up and move more and the differences you will begin to see and feel will be all the motivation you need to keep on going.