Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Weight Discrimination In the Public Eye

Those of us that have WLS live in the public eye. There is no way to hide the weight loss in the amounts and the intensity of the loss. It is very public, but for me like most of my WLS friends, we did not do this on TV. I have an have always had issues with shows like the Biggest Loser (see blog entry here). I don't find them inspirational because - well - let me be honest it is totally unrealistic.

In March 2011 I posted this on my blog. This was less than 2 months after my surgery:

"On a related note of weight loss but not with food I've been catching the biggest loser lately. Usually I don't watch the show because I really don't like it overall. I don't find it that inspiring because lets be honest I wish I had time to take off work, have food prepared for me daily, not do any work, and get to work out everyday. If I had personal trainers, stylists, and chefs anyone could eat healthy, but it isn't realistic. Yes, it is amazing to see the transformations, but its not realistic. So tonight I'm catching it on tv while I'm eating and I see a guy who has lost over 140 lbs and at his current weigh in he only loses 6 lbs. That is 6 lbs in one week and he states "that isn't enough weight to be losing" and I think to myself WHAT!!!!! First, 6 lbs is not the average weight loss for the week. Second, doctors across the board say 2 lbs is the safe long term goal for long term weight loss. Third, what is this show doing to make people feel that 5 or 6 lbs are a bad lost. Again, if they are losing in the 100 lbs range c'mon really .... it is really not a good message. Yes, I like Bob and I like the exercising and the overall thought of the show, but losing weight is a journey a path...it isn't a game. It isn't a game to lose so much weight. I really don't like it.

It may be that my opinion is changing as I lose weight. This process is changing me and its changing the way I look at weight loss. I don't think its about the numbers. It is about the feeling, the journey, your health, and your feeling ...your life. When did weight loss become a competition? I'm very confused about how people look at their weight, the process, and why they want and need to lose it. I'm baffled. "

The unrealism scares me because this is what the average "joe" is looking at for inspiration, success, and a way to lose it, but do we have "time to take off work, have food prepared for us daily, not do any work, and get to work out everyday for hours...yes HOURS. If I had personal trainers, stylists, and chefs anyone could eat healthy, right?" Well maybe yes and maybe no, if this statement above was true then all celebrities would be healthy weight correct?

Biggest Loser might be your inspiration and if it is I'm glad you are on a road to a healthier life, but for me it is a contradiction. Be healthy in an isolated manner with tools the average person would dream of and then off you go home to families, fast food, and a vaccumless bubble where things are no longer a competition but real life and work life family balance...oh and FOOD. Yep, FOOD - its there and everywhere. Now why do you think I'm talking about the Biggest Loser it is because I saw this article that made me so mad this morning. Former Biggest Loser winner Tara Cost is being sued for gaining weight. Yes, you read that correctly - she gained weight = sued. She went from 294 to 134 that is 160 lb loss! 160 lbs....but the company won't state how much she regained just that she did. Wow I'm in Shock!

The company that is suing her reports "due to her weight gain, she has lost all value to the company!" What...wait a minute - she lost all value because she gained weight. What is this message sending to everyone? We are only worth something when we were a particular size? We are only worth something when we weight this _________ weight? We are only worth something if all we do is live in a bubble on a ranch and work out with trainers 6 hours a day and have nothing else to focus on? Well its a horrible message and it is infuriating to me.

In the WLS community we battle regain. We battle the shame. We battle the "public eye" that watches us because we had surgery to assist in our weight loss - if we aren't this size or weigh this much than to some in our community we are failures. When we regain individually we as people feel like a failure. Regain is a topic that is hush hush because who wants to admit they gained weight back...after a life of dieting, yo yo dieting, limiting, and surgery - but its real. Regain happens.



  1. Seriously? I watch the biggest loser and I understand that their situation is not realistic because they have an entire staff of folks there to help them or do it for them. I watch it because of the stories from the contestants. Why they want to take charge of their lives and what brought them to this point.

    I think that suing Tara because she gained weight is ridiculous. I had no idea that the show would even have the right to do such a thing afterwards. I'm shocked. Maybe I don't need a television show for inspiration anymore, I should just get up in the mornings and look in a mirror! I've done this all on my own, no reality show and no surgery. The most rewarding goals in life are always the hardest to achieve!

  2. I understand she signed a contract and that contract had a "weight issue" in it - but seriously that is setting up someone for failure. I am totally upset about it and I'm upset for her. I can't imagine battling that publicly on top of feeling bad for gaining weight. I'm no where near where I want to be and am embarrassed about my re-gain from last year but I'm not doing it on TV