This is kind of a continuation on the last post but I was so angry I just had to write about it. Today I went to the gym and worked extra hard to burn off some of 2 pieces of pizza and a breadstick I ate for lunch. (Did I mention pizza/Italian food is my weakness?). Anyway, I decided to do 35 minutes on the exercise bike and then my usual swimming (ended up doing 25 min in the pool- 1 hour total one of my longest exercise sessions!). As I was pushing myself on the bike I started to watch the Oprah show. She was doing an episode profiling extreme weight loss with fitness guru Bob Greene (who I might add has a promotions deal with McDonalds….Strange?). As I watched the program I found myself wanting to throw a shoe at the screen. Once again the people were portrayed in the “before” section as practically less than human. One woman was so depressed she ordered a two tiered wedding cake and ate it all over 2 days. Really? That hardly seems like an example most overweight women can relate to. Most of us feel guilty for eating one piece of cake and work hard at frustratingly slow results.
Maybe these types of examples encourage some people but it leaves me feeling depressed and angry. All people have divine worth, fat or not, and just because you lose weight does not mean you will automatically feel better about yourself. Why do no shows seem to get this? Why is great weight loss always proceeded by self-loathing and despair? Why can’t we celebrate the accomplishment of great weight loss on its own without downgrading the original overweight person? Just once I’d like to see someone that found the inner strength to get healthy without all of the misery. I guess this is why I’ve never responded to the show Biggest Loser. I know many find it motivating but it always frustrates me. I feel like they take the tough love concept too far and are overly-critical, degrading and even hateful. If you talked about other aspects of a persons appearance or personality in the same manner that people talk about weight it would never be tolerated and would be labeled as hate speech.
I guess this is motivating for some people but not me. In fact, when I was depressed and full of self-loathing at my old job I gained more weight than ever. It wasn’t until I completed 3 years of healing (yes healing) that I decided I was happy enough to make a change. The only show on TV that shows a little bit of this type of weight loss is Ruby on the Style Network. While definitely having her issues, at least Ruby has some spunk and seems to be a happy person. I haven’t watched it much but those are my initial impressions.
To all you network executives I’ve got a great idea for a show. Take a happy over weight woman like me who is trying to lose weight and pair her with an unhappy teenage girl trying to lose weight and let them take the journey together. Maybe that teenager will actually learn to love herself and not just get a makeover? I think it would be great TV but what do I know. I clearly have a very different personality than all the people inspired by Oprah’s program this afternoon. Its tough to argue with Oprah’s success, but you think she would be more sympathetic to overweight individuals given her public struggles? (By the way, anyone considering having me on a TV show know this- I will not wear only a sports bra with shorts, or a 2 piece bathing suit on national television- glad that’s out there! :))
Oh well. I suppose this is one more example of my exasperated cry- “Why won’t everyone behave the way I want them too!”. Until that happens I think I’m going to stop watching these types of programs even if I have to find a new piece of equipment at the gym. Otherwise, I might actually throw a shoe, which would be very bad!