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Why This Skinny Scrawny Punk Loves The Biggest Loser

Updated on February 15, 2010

It's OK for skinny people to like watching the Biggest Loser too. / CC BY 2.0 / CC BY 2.0

The Biggest Loser is an inspiration for everyone.

A few years back, my daughter and I stumbled upon the Biggest Loser mainly because we were too poor to pay for cable tv, and aside from Public Television, the Ranch provided the best show on. I unexpectedly became quite a fan, but more about that below.

The reason I write this is because of an experience I had regarding the show. I had dropped my daughter off at her school in Chicago then went to do some work at a nearby coffeehouse. Two of the baristsas there were having an argument about the show. One stated she was trying to lose weight and liked the pointers about exercise and diet. Which was strange in that she was a pretty skinny thing. The other girl (also waif-ish) was complaining this was just another embarrassing show about overly fed Americans who are lazy.

I chimed in as I often do, with my take whether they liked it or not. I said, "Well, I just like that you get to watch these people improve their lives."

Funny thing is, ever since I said that statement, that moment in time has been burned in my memory ever since. I think many of us, who are skinny or at least a little more fit, somehow feel we have the right to put overweight people down. As if to say, well it's not correct to blame the poor, or the addicted or the jet setting wealthy in our world. But fat people? They are just lazy. It's almost as though, fat people are the last people the world is happy to blame.

What I have learned, and why I enjoy the show so much, is that you see that these people have to bear their weakness for all the world to see. Now the drug addict or alcoholic, many of these people can hide their problem, although not all, which leads to another great show, Intervention, but that's another story for another time. Or say for example, greedy people. It's very easy to hide your greed. Say if you employ a large staff who labor and toil for you and when your business does well you reap and hide away all the profits for yourself while your employees scrape by. Or how about clothing? Lots of people run out and buy very expensive clothes and live in communities where some children don't have very good items to wear. Or sexual addictions? Many people are quite able to hide their proclivity for sexual perversions. What about physical abuse? There are many parents, husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends or even people employed in positions where physical abuse is rampant but hidden away.

My point is not that the Biggest Loser or any other such program is going to rid the world of all it's problems any time soon. My point is that all of us, and I mean you too! All of us have some sort of problem, weakness, addiction or indulgence that doesn't help us or the world at large. We live with it. We hide it. We blame others for the worlds problems. But with people having trouble with their weight, there's no where to hide.

So you have to pardon my expression here, but the men and woman of the Biggest Loser have serious balls of steel. Can you even begin to imagine, if you took your most embarrassing weakness, whatever it is in your life that may hold you back, cause pain to your family, or might even kill you, then hold that issue out to the entire world on network television! The mere thought of all that ridicule would kill some of us. But not these people, or the people inspired by the program. That's what inspires me about the show. I've never had any weight issues, but I am not ashamed to admit I've had many problems and obstacles of my own creation, to overcome. As for those people who don't think they have any weakness or problems, they do too, it's called hubris.

Here are the contestants from season eight. / CC BY 2.0 / CC BY 2.0

As I mentioned above, my daughter and I started watching the show years ago. It is a good show to sit down with your children and explain about overcoming adversity in life. For some people it might be that weight is the problem, for others it could be anything else. The show offers a great mix of humor and challenges that are adventurous and rapturous in the contestants personal discoveries and revelations. You get to watch them slim down their weight, the whole time watching shape up their attitudes to match. As my old art history professor Larry Ball used to say, "It's powerful stuff." Unsure how he'd react to me quoting him for a network television program about obesity, but anyway there it is.

Ok, alright, so it doesn't hurt that gorgeous sexpot Alison Sweeney is the host, could her smile get any brighter? Or that Jillian Michaels might be your answer to some bizarre sultry, work-out fantasy you have played out in your mind. Am I projecting?  Or that Bob Harper reminds you of the fun loving Uncle you never had. What's more, both trainers are unbelievably strong in their ability to physically motivate the contestants, and emotionally diffuse the ticking time bombs these weary souls have in their heads. Lastly my hats off to the writers and the producers who continue to make the show interesting and engaging. I am shocked that the Biggest Loser has yet to Jump The Shark, but somehow seems to have actually gotten better over time.

You won't like every contestant, but that's life, and that's what my family and I enjoy so much about the show. We root for our favorites as though we are watching some sort of playoff game. You might not even like the winner! Although so far, I have liked them all. I think the producers of the show have changed the character types over the seasons. In the begining it seemed like the majority of the crew was antagonistic, competitors chomping at the bit to beat one another. The last few seasons it looks like they have picked people who, although they still are competitive and want to win, are a lot more supportive of one another, and of the philosophy of making better decisions in your life.

As for me, sadly, I have started working nights on Tuesday so don't get to watch the show with my family anymore. But they tape it for me, that's right I said tape, as in on a VCR. It's not as much fun as watching it with my family, but at least I get to stay in tune and connected with them on this unusual game. If you're looking for inspiration on how to better yourself and make positive changes, The Biggest Loser is the place to be.


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    • Ben Zoltak profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Zoltak 

      8 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Love it Laura, holding my new son with one hand typing with the other. I agree with you about Cowell, that limey can kiss my asS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



    • Laura in Denver profile image

      Laura Deibel 

      8 years ago from Aurora

      Seriously, young girls do get a perverse message about thinness as the female ideal. It is all about health and working it. (See my bike to work article!)

      At least Simon Cowell is not there putting anyone down on this show. Cheers!


    • Ben Zoltak profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Zoltak 

      8 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks Magnoliazz you are kind for saying so! On the show, they show the number of calories, I think regular person eats around 1200 calories per day or meal/ whereas the people with the weight problem eat 5000-8000 each!!! Whatever the exact numbers are, the biggest losers eat three or four times the average! I agree with you where do they get the money? Some of the people ( most it would seem ) come from at least middle class families, some come from more well to to families so that might have something to do with it. I've also been told that poorer people eat meals higher in fat and starch, cheaper and less healthy. I eat a lot of that, but I'm really active too.

      Always happy to hear from another Wisconsonite, I've desperately wanted to move to a rural area, but until I can make more money out there (selling my art and/or writing) it's gonna have to wait, I used to live in Stevens Point and spent a lot of time in the woods in Eagle River, I love Wisconsin's backwoods!



    • magnoliazz profile image


      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Another great hub!

      You are right of course, our soceity hates fat people, and many times fat people will trash other fat people worse than anyone else! Can these people really help being so fat? I don't know for sure, but here is food for thought....many times you will see a huge fat person unable to even get out of bed, and you just wonder where the money comes from for groceries, because it is obvious that this person cannot work, and they are living in a mobile home. I am figuring that the grocery bill would have to be over 500.00 a week! But do they really spend that much? I do not believe that they do! Maybe they don't eat anymore than an average person. Someone should really monitor these people and find out how much they eat. I bet we would be really surprised. I bet they do not eat much more than an average person!

    • Ben Zoltak profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Zoltak 

      8 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks Pamela! I love seeing the results at the end too, it's kind of a nice rebound after the let down when they get voted/ or below the yellow line. Some of those people look like completely different people when they're done. I agree with you too about the prizes and stuff, anybody who is lucky enough to get on a t.v. gameshow might have that shot!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Ben, I watch the show and I'm not fat. I love seeing the results when they keep the weight off. I love success stories. I don't think it is that easy to get up there and take your shirt off when you have roles of fat plus having that camera on you at all times. Sure they get prizes and the winner gets money, but that's TV.

    • prettydarkhorse profile image


      8 years ago from US

      it is true Ben and you said it bluntly hehe, as always your hub is expected of you, well written too, The people who are in the program have strong self confidence should I say that they gamble being ridiculed just so they can have solutions to themselves too, I am skinny but I watch the show, Maita

    • Ben Zoltak profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Zoltak 

      8 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks Zobenia! They have the "Biggest" crew ever this year. Looks like some fighters in the group, we'll see how they get through it! Thanks for stopping by, I'll be looking for your post!

    • zobeniajefferson profile image


      8 years ago from California

      Nice hub Ben. Yes it is one of the few reality shows I like.

    • Ben Zoltak profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Zoltak 

      8 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Niteriter, thank you, I needed a good laugh this morning and you delivered as always. Hail to you as well and we should all be looking for more Niteriter riting in our syllabic diets...

    • Ben Zoltak profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Zoltak 

      8 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Holy smokes Geekchick I think you could copy and paste your comment and turn it into a hub! I give you credit for admitting how difficult it would be to go in front of the television and admit to your faults, I feel the same way, I'm not sure I could do it! I had similar attitudes about the show as you, but the more I watched it the more I realized that I had shallow attitudes and misunderstandings.

      Thank you for the kind words about my article!

    • Niteriter profile image


      8 years ago from Canada

      I was relieved to discover that this Hub was about a TV show. When I first saw the title I thought you'd be writing about me. Thanks for continuing to keep my secrets!!!

      Hail, cheers, and congratulations on your regular output of quality Hubs.

    • geekchick profile image


      8 years ago

      I really enjoy this hub and think it's great. I am quite skinny myself, but have noticed these things myself. I don't tend to put overweight people down, but this could in part be because I think I was born with great genes and a set of taste buds that happen to dislike a lot of unhealthy foods as well as a stomach that gets angry if I eat one bite past my limit. Don't get me wrong, I still like to enjoy a lot of non-healthy foods, but for the most part, my being thin is NOT from me being a health nut, or even making sure I get the right amount of exercise in, it's mainly pure luck of getting the genes that I did. I don't watch The Biggest Loser, but I do see the occasional episode (my dad is a big fan of it) and I always feel so sad for the people on there. These are people who don't want to be unhealthy. They want to make their life better, be able to interact with their children or grandchildren, and live long and healthy lives. I don't see why this by any means is a show for only overweight people. Sure, it can motivate other people to lose weight, but it can also open up the eyes of other people in the world who seem to think that everyone who is overweight is just plain lazy. After seeing the few episodes I have seen, I don't know how anyone can watch the show and not have their hearts go out to the people and families who are making an effort to improve themselves physically. They don't want to be super skinny, nor should they be, they just want to get down to a healthy weight. These people are inspiration and not just to people who want to lose weight, but to everyone. Do I have the passion that some of these people have to improve my life in ways that need improving? Maybe not with an issue of weight, but maybe in other areas. Do I have their drive? Do I have the courage to go on television where people may possibly laugh and me and ridicule me? I think not. Unlike a lot of other reality shows where you go on to get your 15 minutes of fame, this one really does dedicate itself to improving your life, not getting fame and glory.

    • Ben Zoltak profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Zoltak 

      8 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks everyone for all the warm responses. I never thought I would've gotten into the show, but there's something really endearing about it. I guess it could be perceived as decadent or shallow by some but it really isn't, and it's a good show to watch with the family compared to a lot of the other tripe out there! Half the time I'm watching these contestants and thinking to my self, if that fella can run a marathon, then I can do - what ever hurdle it is I'm trying to do also. I guess it comes down to watching someone's inner strength and will power and ignoring what they may look like on the outside.

      Again, thank you for all the kind praise!

    • suziecat7 profile image


      8 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Enjoyable Hub - I never really got into the show but see there are aspects to appreciate.

    • bat115 profile image


      8 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      " As for those people who don't think they have any weakness or problems, they do too, it's called hubris"

      It is sad that I know so many people that suffer from that condition. I always wondered what the word for that was and now I know. Thanks for the tip.

      I do love this show. I need motivators like Bob & Jillian to movitate me to finish up my hubs at a faster rate.

      Once again, a great hub. Mr. Zoltak

    • profile image

      Jeanne Grunert 

      8 years ago

      Just love it it. I'm the "Adventures in Dieting" blogger on chronicling my journey to lose 50 pounds this year, and I tell isn't easy. Great essay and hub. I look forward to your next one.

    • HELLA profile image


      8 years ago from Boston

      I love the Biggest Loser. I was going to write an article about the show. I think it not only has the possibility to improve the lives of overweight people, but it helps you realize that you shouldn't grab a bag of chips and eat the whole thing in front of the boob tube. You shouldn't eat a whole pint of ice cream while watching your favorite show. I think it teaches you that you should eat a well portioned, wholesome meal at night that will fill you with the right nutrients and THEN sit down to watch television.

      The problem we all have is the tendency to grab a bag of Doritos, ice cream, and whatever other processed food is lying around the house and eat it in front of 3 hours of television non stop AFTER we have already eaten dinner....the calories and trans fat/saturated fat we consume isn't good for anyone's health.

      Good article man!

    • profile image

      Tammy Lochmann 

      8 years ago

      More people should be like you. I too like the show and love to see people who are putting it out there and laying it on the line to better themselves. I am by no means overweigt but I am very conscientious about my flaws. These people bear it all on television for the betterment of themselves and I admire that. Sorry I have just gone on and on. Hopefully you get my gist. Great story!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      I enjoyed reading this. It is straight and honest about a problem people can have. I am overweight, not terribly, and I just can't shed it. It is like cement. Thank you for a tremendous hub.

    • Ben Zoltak profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Zoltak 

      8 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks Arthur, I know what you mean. I laughed at your comment, "I want a prize for not overeating!" Hehe. I guess your prize is you get to live longer. Just as mine is since I quit tobacco, I get to live longer. Granted, I'd also like to get the hell out of the freezing winter and like you say, get cash and people helping (especially sexy girls) helping me quit tobacco, but oh well, more life is good too!

      Great feed back Arthur, I like your humor.

    • Arthur Windermere profile image

      Arthur Windermere 

      8 years ago

      Very interesting article, Ben. I have to say, I've never been all that sympathetic towards the overweight, having been a chubby, overindulgent boy myself once. The thing about overeating as opposed to other addictions is you're always showing it to the world. No amount of black clothing will hide an extra 250lbs. So I don't know how brave these people are for accepting cash and free help as well as, I believe, a possible prize. I want a prize for not overeating!

      You sure make the program sound a lot better and a lot less exploitational than I would have imagined, though. Cheers!


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