Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Illusion of The Biggest Loser!

Did you catch the Biggest Loser Tuesday night?

Now, I'm not a big advocate for reality shows, and not even a fan of this one...but this time of the year we do get emails and questions about how the contestants lose "so much weight".

Last week, for example, Ron lost 32 pounds - the biggest loss ever in one week on the show.

So how do they do it? Well, I shared this with our Adventure Boot Camp ladies last week after the first episode.

For those who've been watching the show, Ron started off well over 400 lbs.

First, understand that weight comes off more quickly when you're heavier -- the heavier a person is, the quicker it will come off with such drastic change.

Second, realize that to get to 400+ lbs, you have to take in a VERY high amount of calories each day, day after day after day.

Now you're confined to the "campus" of the Biggest Loser and eating 1200 calories each day. 1 lb = 3500 calories.Therefore, to lose 1 lb, you have to take in 3500 less calories.

For the sake of simplicity, let's say that Ron was eating 8200 calories each day (which is very likely since he was maintaining 400+ lbs). That means he's now eating 7000 less calories EACH DAY. That's 2 lbs per day of weight loss through food alone. Or 14 lbs. in a week. And he was also 100% totally inactive before The Biggest Loser. Now he is exercising for around 6 or so hours each day, which of course will burn a significant amount of calories as well. And, the bigger you are, the more calories you burn. So he can lose another 10-14 lbs just through that expenditure. And MUCH of his 32 pounds of loss is water loss because of all the sweat through exercise. And, there you go.

If you watched this week, Ron's weight loss was not as drastic -- he lost 3 pounds. And week after week, the number will go down for the contestants as their bodies shrink.

So while it's an unrealistic comparison to you, if you do watch the show, it shows what's possible. Most of us don't have lifestyles that allow for 6 hours per day of exercise, nor do we have personal chefs that prepare our food, and an environment in which if we DON'T exercise and eat how the trainer says, we'll be in some SERIOUS PAIN (verbal abuse, public humiliation, etc).

Think about that. These contestants have some SERIOUS motivation. Yes, money is a big factor - everyone wants the reward financially. But another huge dose of motivation is the fact that millions of people are watching you!! If you mess up, there's no hiding. There's no BS about how a contestant had to work late, or the kids were sick or they had to go on a business trip, or anything. The environment supports the success 1000% - there are NO distractions - no kids, work, husbands, errands to run, groceries to buy, food to cook, family who needs you, etc. Very unrealistic for us. The Biggest Loser contestants have no choice but to do the work, or they're off the show. They have VERY BIG reasons why they HAVE to succeed.

So, although you cannot get onto the Biggest Loser (at least not this episode), you can create an environment that supports your health and fitness goals. And you CAN discover your own personal reasons why you're going to be a successful loser, if that's a goal for you. You can establish and look at your goals every day.

See, when you know why you absolutely HAVE to get fit, lose weight, increase your energy and be healthy, there's nothing stopping you! This motivation last. The Biggest Loser? Well, after the season is over, they have to go back to the real world. And all that temporary motivation of being in front of millions of viewers and that supportive environment of trainers, dietitians and chefs is gone. Unless they tap into their reasons why they MUST keep the positive momentum going, they have a rebound into unsuccessful, old unhealthy habits.

In fact, a former Biggest Loser was on Oprah on Monday, and sure enough, he's put 110 pounds back on since leaving the show.

You've got to know why you want to change your lifestyle habits. Do you want to be more successful in business, your career, your profession? Do you want to be a better parent or spouse? Do you want to be more productive professionally and personally? More mentally sharp? Have more energy and vitality? Reduce or maintain your weight? Or just be healthier, reducing heart disease, or the risk of cancer? Studies have shown that exercise will significantly help you achieve all of these benefits...and more.

Whatever your goals, tap into your reasons why you want to get fit and healty, and stay diligent in your approach.

Your friend in fitness,
Brian Calkins - Cincinnati's HealthStyle Fitness, Inc

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