So it’s Hulu season. For those wondering what that means, it is the time of year when I dust off my Hulu Plus subscription and continue my love affair with prime time television on my terms (and portable devices). So while I waited for my season premieres to air this week, I snooped around on Hulu to see what, perhaps, I had been missing. I made a huge discovery!
So I am obsessed with weight loss reality TV. I suspect I am not alone in this. I find it inspirational, mostly. So I never miss an episode of The Biggest Loser, and though not my favorite, I do also watch Extreme Weight Loss (it’s the skin surgery as reward that sits uneasy with me. Maybe as I get closer to goal, I’ll re-evaluate my position, of course entirely dependent on how much sag I’m sportin’). So I see a show called My Big Fat Revenge, and I think “ok, I’m in.” After the first episode I was so put off I think smoke was coming from my ears. Here’s the premise, the overweight contestant (all female in the handful of episodes I watched (all recon for this post I’ll have you know (cause I owe you thorough research and first hand accounts))) goes away for three months to lose as much weight as they can in order to return and perform an act of revenge on someone who treated them poorly in the past because of their weight (most often an ex boyfriend). So the contestant loses the weight and the sets up this PUNK’D, Candid Camera-esque revenge scenario designed to give the loser in her life a taste of his (mostly, but some of her) own medicine. You know what happened 99% of the time? The callous asshole walks off camera. No apology. No “wow you look great.” Just more of the same douche-baggery as before. So does the contestant really see their nemesis get his comeuppance? Does she feel better? No. Instead she has linked her desired outcome, her hard work to become a healthier, perhaps slimmer, human being to the behavior of a person that she has NO control over. You know what happens when she doesn’t get that apology…the weight comes back on because, well, the thing she thought would win her approval didn’t.
OK, OK. Perhaps there is some awesome motivation to be found in silencing the nay-sayers, in psyching yourself up to feel like the one who got away, in proving that you are not all the negative things anyone ever tried to say you are. Great. Put your ex’s face on a punching bag and get that cardio in if it helps, but here is what I know about assholes, if they don’t love you fat they won’t love you skinny. If they we’re mean, abusive, threatening, manipulative and the like when you were heavy, you being not heavy will not change who they are. I think it a bad bad bad idea to link self-worth to the musings of an idiot. Losing weight to enact revenge has got to be the worst idea ever because you can not get answers or apologies from psychopaths or even mildly pathetic low self-esteem losers who needs to bully others to feel empowered.
Ok, here is another beef with this show and the damage it is doing. We see footage of the contestant at the gym, but we don’t meet or learn anything about their trainer or training methods, we don’t know anything about their diet and exercise routines. All we know is they go away for 90 days and come back having lost up to 25% of their body weight. People at home should know this kind of extreme weight loss, including very low-calorie diets and 6-8 hours of daily exercise, should be medically supervised.
You wanna lose weight? Great! But do it for yourself. To impress yourself, to improve your health, to love who you see in the mirror. Not to prove anything to anyone else. Not to make some foolish boy love you. Or to correct years of bad behavior from an abusive loved one. Don’t get me wrong, when I’m at my goal weight I hope every Negative Nancy and Doubting Thomas get the memo, but my results are not linked to them, because mostly likely they just won’t give an F. After all, the work is its own reward.