I have a crap-ton of TV shows I watch regularly. Well, maybe not that many. But enough that when someone asks me what today is, I can say, “Oh, its Vampire Diaries night,” which translates to “Its Thursday.”
One of my shows was The Biggest Loser. I say “was” because I haven’t watched it in at least 3 weeks, if not more. I missed the finale Tuesday, but watched some highlights. When I saw this season’s winner, Rachel, walk out, I was surprised by what I saw. And, by the looks on their faces, so were Jillian and Bob:
Rachel, a former competitive swimmer, started out the season at 260lbs. At the finale, she weighed in at 105lbs. Her small frame started a social media firestorm, with “experts” weighing in all evening. Because, you know, a Twitter page and cleverly used hashtags make us all medical experts.
Standing at 5’4″, Rachel’s weight of 105lbs puts her in the “underweight” category in the CDC’s BMI chart. But, the chart is a generalization–its not law. Everyone is made differently; we weigh differently, we carry our weight differently. Some people are naturally more curvy, others are more waif-like. Is that bad? No. Is Rachel’s weight loss cause for concern? Perhaps.
On one hand, I understand that people are frightened for Rachel. She is strikingly more thin than she was when she first started the show. But…that’s the point, right? She wanted to come on TBL to lose weight. People are crying foul because they feel the folks at NBC should have done more to ensure she didn’t go to extreme lengths to lose the weight.
On the other hand, at the end of the day, TBL is a game show. The people on the show are competing for a prize. Whether that be the $250K payday at the finale, the at-home-prize, or the various things they can win throughout the season.
So, where do I stand on the whole Rachel issue?
Honestly? I’m neutral.
I think she worked hard to lose the weight because she wanted to win (that’s evident by how hard she worked when she was on The Biggest Loser Ranch). But I can’t know if she pushed herself to extreme lengths to lose the weight or if she followed healthy guidelines or not. I hope she didn’t starve herself or overwork her body. And I also hope that she’s able to find a balance now that she’s off the ranch and there’s no longer a live finale where millions of people will be watching her looming before her.
I do hope, however, that this will signal to the execs at NBC that contestants need a lot more than 12 weeks on the Biggest Loser to deal with issues that they’ve been dealing with for years.