Wednesday, June 3, 2015

National Running Day + A TV Rant

Today is National Running Day, so if you're a runner, get your butt out there!  I had planned to rest today, but between Running Day and a friend asking us to go out for beers tonight, I figured I'd better get out and do the needful.

My run today was REALLY difficult due to heat and humidity, but I ended up doing 4.5 miles at the library park!  I definitely wanted to quit about midway through had to push myself at the end, I really was having breathing issues due to the weather, but I got it done.  I'm also pleased to report that my average pace yesterday was 14:16, and today it was 13:36, so despite how hard things felt I actually improved my time just a tiny bit.  I am loving this Galloway thing more by the day!  Today I used a 0.75/0.15 run walk ratio, and I feel like that will be a really good balance for me right now.  I may do one more run tomorrow, and then the rest of the week is going to be questionable because it's going to get in the damn 90s.  I am SO not happy about that.  I suppose I could get up super early Friday and try to do my thing, so we'll see.

So I have a little TV show rant that I'll ask you to bear with me on.  I know some of you watch Extreme Weight Loss with Chris Powell, as do I because I simply can't watch The Biggest Loser anymore due to the drama and product placement stuff.  I've started to notice a few things that are bugging me about EWL though to the point that I want to stop watching it as well, and I'm wondering if anyone else is noticing these things too.

First of all, I really hate that Chris now makes people weigh in shirtless in front of roughly 50-100 people.  I really don't understand why that's necessary, and completely disagree with the guise of it being a "reality check" or anything like that.  Look, an obese person knows they are obese.  They don't need a reality check via standing nearly nude in front of a crowd of people they know, to me it just perpetuates the idea that these people are a freak show to gawk at and humiliate.  I mean hell, I feel a lot prettier and sexier now after losing almost 30 pounds, and I would still slap someone silly if they suggested I weigh in publicly in only a bra and shorts.  When the show started, the weigh ins were done privately, which I really think was better and just seemed to allow some dignity for the person involved.  If the person sees the scale read 400 pounds in a room with just themselves and Chris, isn't that just as much of a wake up call as them seeing that number while shirtless in front of 50 friends and family?  I dunno, the public weigh ins just reek of typical network ratings bullshit, and I don't really like it.

But the main thing that's bugging me now though is that every contestant has some over the top horrible thing that has happened to them, to the point where I'm depressed for most of the show.  I don't remember it being like that when the show started, but now it's a circle jerk of tragedy every single week.  It's literally always like, "my parents abandoned me on the side of the freeway as an infant so I went to live with my uncle, who then beat me daily while I watched my beloved family dog get hit by a car.  Then I found the love of my life but she died of cancer while giving birth to our first child."  I am certainly not trying to minimize past contestant's life experiences, obviously bad things can and do happen to people and can cause them to comfort themselves with food in order to combat depression.  I totally get it, I am not without empathy.  But week after week, it's the same thing, the show focuses on whatever the horrible traumatic story of the week is (again for ratings and emotional manipulation), rather than focusing on what methods they are using to lose weight.

Think about it, do you ever hear what these people are eating, what macros they're focusing on, what workouts they're doing, how often, etc?  No, you do not.  It's like, I get it, so and so is sad for X amount of reasons, and clearly they are overcoming the odds...but what are they doing to overcome it?  I just felt especially bothered this week because Chris kept bringing up the one contestant's dead dad every 5 minutes.  No matter what the guy did it was like, "Do you think your dad is smiling down right now?" or "what would your dad think about this?"  I mean it's like dude we get it, the guy's dad died tragically, the dude put on weight due to PTSD, the guy wishes his dad was still alive.  We do not need to continually wallow in this guy's tragedy for our own amusement.  Again, I'm not a mean person and it's nothing against the contestant, I just hate manipulative tactics on these reality shows.  You can practically hear some corporate asshole in a suit saying, "Oh the viewers will have to get the Kleenex out this week, the ratings will be through the roof!"  It just creeps me out.

Also, to me it reinforces the idea that if you're overweight then you have something severely wrong with you and are damaged in some way.  That just simply isn't the case for a lot of people.  I spent years trying to figure out what was "wrong" and what deep seated reason I had for being overweight because of this notion that something clearly has to be wrong if you are overweight.  I had a great childhood with a loving family and a pretty standard existence.  I was bullied in school, and while that affected how I view women and my ability to make friends with women, I honestly don't think think about it much.  Trust me, I made a much better life for myself than the redneck girls who bullied me, so I pretty much got the last laugh and feel good about it.  I've had decent jobs, good friends and now a very loving husband whom I have a ton of fun with.

Turns out...nothing is wrong with me, I'm fat because I like food, booze, cooking and I'm really lazy, plus had a desk job.  I put on happy weight after getting married because drunken happy hours eating fatty, sugary delights with my amazing husband are really damn fun.  Snuggling and binge watching movies on the couch while eating bowls of ice cream is super fun.  Nachos and two bottle wine nights while watching a comedy special and laughing hysterically are fun.  Getting drunk at beer festivals and then eating a huge, messy pastrami sandwich to sober up is fun.  I piled on the pounds and was in denial about it until I was 250 pounds and was like well shit, guess I got myself in a pickle.  Then the prospect of having to lose that weight was overwhelming and I am very lazy, so it took me a long time to come to terms with that and figure out a way to do something about it that worked for me.  It really is as simple as that, and I know that's not very sexy or would drive ratings, but it's the truth.

I can't be alone in being overweight because of really loving food, and just really feel like they could do a better job balancing out some of these crazy stories with some "I'm fat because food is awesome and time slipped up on me" stories.  They could show standard meals the contestants are eating, and have a section where they share a healthy recipe.  They NEVER talk about nutrition, and as anyone who is successful in weight loss will tell you, nutrition is pretty much key to the process.  Why don't they show anything about that then?  They also could show a normal workout that isn't some insane bullshit like them hanging 20 pound kettlebells from their nipples while climbing Machu Piccu.  I mean seriously, am I wrong?  It's always some crazy ass thing like that.  No wonder people are scared to death and intimidated by losing weight.

Anyway, it's probably yet another reality show I used to really like that I'll have to take off the DVR.  Which is fine, because I probably shouldn't watch so much TV anyway.  :P

11 comments:

  1. I love this. I always laugh when people say "I don't know why I am overweight" because I also say "I just plain eat too much!!" Everything you listed is way more fun in my book than going for a run...for no reason other than that is what I like...not cause anybody yelled at me!

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    1. Yeeeah, I wrote this post after my run yesterday, where I had to stop twice because the humidity was so bad I couldn't breathe. Came home and my bra is all soaked in sweat and I have full on run stank going on. I was writing out my little list of my old life and it's like shit, that was way more fun, why am I doing this running thing again? Mildly kidding of course, I'm loving being in better shape and healthier, but people are lying when they deny certain foods/habits are really damn fun.

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  2. Imagine that! Being fat because you love food! I agree with you. I feel like a lot of these shows look for damaged people. Do I sometimes emotionally eat because I'm upset? Sure! But mostly I am heavy because I love how food tastes. And I'm a newly wed and damned if I don't enjoy those wine nights on the couch with my hubby! A refreshing blog post, friend :)

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    1. Guuuurl, watch that happy marriage weight. It'll get ya! ;) I think it's all about balance, and one of the reasons I've managed to be successful this go around is by being true to myself. I LOVE eating socially, I love food, I love cooking and I love those ridiculous nights with Eric where we have a few drinks, watch stupid dog videos on Youtube and laugh our asses off. And I'll go as far to say that there's nothing wrong with enjoying those things, it just has to be in moderation. When I stopped trying to restrict myself and feel like a bad person all the time, and when I took emotion out of the equation it's like it all clicked for me. I just approached it scientifically. Most of the time I'm on point and healthy, but there are going to be times where I blow off some steam with a drink or piece of cake or what have you. And that's okay. And wouldn't you know it, the weight is coming off!

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  3. I've never seen it, but I sort of feel like simply loving food and being lazy can get you to be obese, but (just going off the "extreme" thing), 400-500 pounds probably does have a deeper issue behind it. Maybe not a tragedy but certainly some form of depression or anxiety disorder.

    But maybe that's just my experience--I've pretty much always been fat, but only twice have I knocked on 300-pounds'-door, and both times I was in deep depression and beyond anxious.

    Great job on the run!

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    1. Oh I don't deny that many people gain weight due to depression, whether that be due to something chemically in the body, or because of a tragic event. I think my thing is more like, this show tends to exploit people's tragedies and really drive them home over, and over and over again. At a certain point, whatever therapy/medication that person is receiving and how they are choosing to deal with their issues isn't my business. I would rather Chris P. demonstrate what workouts the person is doing, or give a recipe in detail, or give examples of a typical daily menu. The show used to do that, and now it's 2 hours of whatever unspeakable tragedy has happened. As much as I sympathize with what these people have gone through, I can't relate to it at all.

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  4. I noticed that when I was watching the Biggest Loser a few years back. I remember one contestant lost her husband and kids in a car accident and I was all, "Nope." I can't stand when tragedy is used for ratings. Screw that.
    I'm with you. I'm fat because after my kiddos were born I didn't have the energy or willpower to do anything other than eat crappy food.

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    1. I remember that gal, it was definitely sad and it's just like they grind salt into the wound by mentioning the person's tragedy every. five. seconds. It just makes me uncomfortable and like I'm hearing about stuff that's none of my business after a certain point. I'm interested in weight loss methods and maybe hearing a new perspective that I haven't heard. And it's getting to the point where the show is more like Extreme Therapy Session.

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  5. I stopped watching TBL but I do still watch EWL and I do agree with you. Chris and I said the same thing. I don't have any horrible thing happen to me to gain the weight either. When I was married to my first husband, I was miserable all the time and not happy and that meant that I barely ate anything. I was a size 8. Now that I'm happy and content in this marriage I got lazy, complacent and boom next thing you know, I'm 250 pounds. Maybe it wouldn't make for good tv if we said that we were just lazy and didn't have any one singular thing to happen to us to allow us to spiral out of control.

    Will it make me stop watching EWL, no because I think Chris Powell and Heidi's methods are so so much more safe and realistic than TBL. I've followed A LOT of the contestants on both shows, guess which ones have gained more weight back? Not, EWL, that's for sure. They are learning the right way.

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    1. I do agree with you on the last part, I think that CP's heart is in the right place, and I love that the show takes place over a year which I think allows for safe and normal weight loss. It doesn't feel gimmicky and they don't do the product placement horseshit like the Biggest Loser does that drives me INSANE. That's the good part of the show. The rest of it with the over the top tragedy porn is what gets to me and makes me want to stop watching. I literally feel uncomfortable at how much they bring up these people's stories, and feel like they'd be just as better served going "we're putting so and so into therapy as part of the process, now here's the workout/food plan we're using." Some of their stories are so personal that I just feel weirded out and like it's none of my business.

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  6. Every now and then I have thought what if I were on a show like that. Then I think to myself I would never be chosen because I don't have some horrible tragedy to offer the view public. But wouldn't you like to see some people who just have the same every day issues as the rest of us? I feel it would be much more relatable and perhaps help more people. I would love to see someone stand up and say what you said. Then see the techniques and work they put in to turn their lives around (while still enjoying their life.)

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