Did anyone catch The Biggest Loser last night? I'm allllll bent out of shape about it. I started watching the show back in 2009 when my cousin Jenn and I lived together. She's a nurse, I'm a health nut... we loved it. At the time, we were both big Jillian Michaels fans and love(d) a solid health and/or weight loss story.
So, I don't watch it as regularly as I used to because I think it's become even more dramatic than ever and it's lost its luster for me a bit, but still, Jillian is back on the show and they cut it down to an hour so I started watching it a little bit over this season. Rachel, this season's winner, stood out to me because she was a former athlete, competitive swimmer, and won almost all of the competitions on the show. She had a bad break up that she let get the best of her back in College and so on the show she was 'getting her life back'. Oooof.
I feel like I'm usually a pretty sharp person... I don't like most reality TV... when everyone's watching The Bachelor... I'm watching a Friends repeat. But I have to say... I'm feeling a bit frustrated with myself that I was fooled by what this show is doing. There's so much positive that has come from it that I've ignored a lot of the negative. Shame on me.
So, last night as I was writing about roasting potatoes and brussell sprouts... I was watching the finale and this happened and I gasped in horror (similar to Bob and Jillian, but, with more gusto)
Ugh, guys, she looks very unhealthy. Her cheeks are wrinkled. Her arms look like they are going to break. She's only 24 years old (5'4" and 105lbs) The thing that upset me most was when I went to open up Twitter (because I had a feeling I wasn't alone) EVERYONE was tweeting about it. All I could think of was that she's obviously going to read these tweets that say how anorexic she looks and make matters even worse. She's far too thin, yes, but don't body shame her or call out diseases... the SHOW should be blamed for not properly monitoring her while she was home. Seriously BL... you don't monitor these folks when they go home??
Ok, enough about Rachel and BL. I hope she finds some real balance and help. I also hope BL makes some major changes if they continue this show for upcoming seasons.
The bigger issue here is that this problem is rampant. Yes, America has a major Obesity Epidemic and it's an extremely important issue, however, there are other very dark sides of eating disorders that need to be addressed. One that stands out to me is Exercise Bulimia. Being someone who is so active in the fitness community, I have seen so many women successfully get healthy and then make a turn for the worse -- over-exercising, under-eating then over-eating, and never really finding the balance. If I'm being honest, I struggled with this myself in my early twenties. I never became too extreme, but, I really struggled with missing a workout, counting calories, and being a certain body weight. It can take over your entire life.
I know I'm not a Doctor, NP, PA, or have any cool, smart letters following my name... I just feel like this is something we need to talk about more. I think more people are suffering from this more than we care to admit and I think it's dangerous. Actually, I know it's dangerous. There is enough research and articles out there (written by the real pros) that proves intense-over-exercising can be harmful:
1. Negative Impact on the Heart too much intense exercise can, “cause dilation and stretching of the heart's chambers, especially the atria and right ventricle." What this means is that the pumping capacity of the heart can actually decrease, which makes it work harder.
2. Weakened Immune System Moderate exercise helps the immune system whereas too much can increase respiratory infections
3. Weakened Bones and Joints No need to explain this one but excessive wear & tear causes more surgeries earlier in life.
4. Damage to Internal Organs without proper rest - the radicals and toxins released during exercise (a good thing) remain in the body and damage internal organs
5. Muscle Wear and Tear Muscle builds during rest. Without rest, the small tears caused by exercise do not heal and, in turn, cause bigger issues like strains and pulls.
6. Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies- The body needs certain vitamins and minerals in order to function properly. Over-exercise and dieting can deplete the body of nutrients, and cause complications such as low potassium, which is related to heart problems.
7. Increased Food Cravings & Bingeing
All of the above information can be found in many places, but, I pulled most of it from this site.
So, what to do about all of this? I honestly don't know. I don't have the answers. I can only speak for myself and say that when I was teaching 2 classes a day and taking another 1-2, it wasn't good. I only thought about exercise and calories and I deprived myself from going to parties or meeting up with friends because I had to 'get in some cardio'. Eventually I grew out of it... I had some life changes that got in the way of constant exercise (mainly a new job and life in the big city). I had to figure out how to go out to restaurants and not order a salad (because ordering a salad on a date is lame), but still maintain my weight. Well, I lost weight... I started to relax... enjoy food... cook real food... and exercise in a more efficient way. I educated myself on weight lifting and real food and satiety. Eating real fats and proteins. It all came together for me. This is one long post and it got wayyyy more personal than I planned so I'm going to wrap it up.
As cliche as it sounds, life is so much more than how you look. Being healthy doesn't mean eating "perfect" 24/7 and exercising every single day of the week. Being healthy means being a good person, enjoying time with friends and family, seeing the world around you, being a hard worker, etc. That's why there's FUN in funfitflavor, guys!! (trying to lighten it up - haha)
Sooo... what do you all think? Did you watch the show? What are you thoughts on this matter?
Hope you are all having an excellent hump day (snowed in or not!)