Many of you know that I don’t enjoy television and have a hard time allowing my children to watch the tube. Of course, my husband comes to their rescue, recording Discovery Channel shows like Cake Boss and Dirty Jobs in an attempt to keep his children “normal.” My husband also forces me to watch at least one or two episodes per season of The Biggest Loser.
I have to admit it is an hour well spent (he’s an expert with the remote control and can condense any two-hour segment into an hour - it’s an impressive talent). The Biggest Loser is inspiring. It is amazing to watch those men and women put mind over body, losing weight by pushing themselves harder than most of us can comprehend. It is touching to see them changing their bodies and their lives.
Here are some lessons I’ve learned from my brief exposure to The Biggest Loser:
- It is okay to kick your own butt. As an exercise scientist I always worry about pushing a client too hard, making them too sore, inducing an injury. I am always and will continue to be very careful about the types of exercise I do or recommend because some exercises are just begging for an injury. That said, it is wonderful to experience some soreness the day after a great weight lifting session. It is extremely effective to do intense cardio and intervals. Most of us realize that you aren’t going to see results without pushing hard. The Biggest Loser has proven that you can see amazing results by going hard and not quitting when it hurts (in a good way).
- When we see the contestants on The Biggest Loser shedding multiple pounds a week, we think we should be able to do that too. Don’t. A pound or two lost a week is a manageable goal and a lot healthier in the long term. The Biggest Loser contestants not only have amazing personal trainers, but a physician monitoring them, personal chefs, and I’m betting on trained rehabilitation specialists to minimize injury and maximize recovery. Many people turn to crazy crash diets, pills, or surgeries to help them lose weight quickly. Good old diet and exercise are always the best plan. In some extreme cases, surgery may be necessary or a physician-recommended medication or an extreme diet while working with a qualified dietitian. But for most of us the basics of eating healthy, whole foods in small servings and strength training to increase metabolism and improve appearance and cardiovascular exercises for heart and lung health and to burn extra calories are really the best way to go. Most of the time extreme weight loss is put back on as quickly as it came off.
- It is a far better plan to stay in shape and eat healthy rather than let yourself go and have to fight back to your ideal weight. We all have times in our lives when we pack on some extra poundage, but if we can get back on track as soon as possible it really will prevent many health problems and avoid the horrible yo-yo’s of crash dieting.
- Believe in yourself. When contestants from The Biggest Loser return home most of them have been able to keep off the weight because of a good support system, but some of them have not. A supportive group of friends and family will make weight loss much easier, but you have to believe in yourself first. You have to be healthy because you want to be. Not because your spouse or parent is nagging you to be. Take care of yourself because you care for yourself and because you care for your loved ones and want to be healthy and strong for them.
- Never give up. Feeling good about yourself and being healthy are worth the struggle. Obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight is a lifelong struggle for most of us. Sometimes it’s a miserable fight, but when you look at the rewards of feeling great and being there for your family – it’s a fight worth fighting. Good luck in the battle!
Cami Checketts is an author, exercise scientist, wife, and mother to three and three-quarters children. Her latest novel, The Sister Pact, is in stores now. www.camichecketts.com