How the Biggest Loser Ruined My Week
I admit it; I am a reality TV junkie. It’s my guilty pleasure and I have been known to spend far too many hours binge-watching shows I probably wouldn’t admit to in a social setting. One show that I am okay admitting watching is The Biggest Loser. As a heavier gal, I like to see the amazing transformations that the contestants go through, both physically and mentally, throughout the course of the season. Through watching the show and my experience in the last week, I think that the show ruined me.
Let me explain; I worked harder this week than I ever have on my health. Ever. I worked out at Orangetheory Fitness 6 times in the last week and a half. In addition to that, I jumped on board the Orangetheory 6 week weight loss challenge led by Sunny Butler at the Gilbert location. What that equated to was, at its core, eating 5 meals a day (mostly fish and greens), high protein, very little fat and absolutely no sugar or dairy. Oh, and NO BOOZE. Eating fish four times a day is rough, and this diet is a complete and total divergence from my normal life. I made so much fish on Sunday that it seemed almost impossible to imagine eating all of it. It went fast, though, really fast!
I kept all of my appointments for workouts (if you sign up for a certain time and then are a no show you get charged a $12 fee) and put forth my very best effort and worked really, really hard. Like, harder than I ever had in a workout. Having the different stations to work through during the workout really motivated me. I knew that there was a time limit on each section I was at and if it was especially hard, I could watch the time and countdown, telling myself “only 5 more minutes.” Every time I left and caught a glimpse of myself in the rearview mirror of my car I found that I was soaked with sweat and incredibly red face. I gave it all I had, and I didn’t quit, making me really proud of myself and motivating me to keep at it.
I did find that on workout days (I do mine at 8:45am) that I was incredibly exhausted and sort of foggy and unmotivated. As a self-employed person, this was not the best way to be! I found out later in the week that this feeling is, basically, your brain screaming out for some fat. A tablespoon of fat will help to alleviate that feeling and help you keep going without feeling like you need a 3-hour nap!
I have a (very bad) habit of weighing myself every morning. If you do this, I beg you to stop. It’s not friendly to yourself. I know from personal experience that it can really frame your day in a negative way, and we need to start our day with our best attitude and outlook. As part of the challenge, we are required to weigh ourselves on Monday morning, take a photo of the readout and send it to Sunny for her to record. I had done a pretty good job of avoiding the scale for the week but I was tempted on Friday morning and so I hopped on. And was up in weight, by .4 pounds. I realize this is a small amount, but I was devastated. I had worked SO hard at the workouts, changed my diet drastically and this was my reward. I was so frustrated and thought to myself, I can gain weight just going about my regular life without even breaking a sweat. What the heck?! I vented on Facebook and got a lot of really great support and insight from friends…and was lovingly scolded by Sunny about weighing in on non-weigh in days. I was still bummed out, but had a class scheduled for that morning at 8:45 and headed out the door, determined not to let that ruin my day.
For all of the previous classes that I had attended, I did so as a Power Walker and was always challenged. On Friday, cranky from the number on the scale, I decided to try running. Well, if we;re being honest my “run” was much more of a jog but it was faster than the power walking and I did it. I jogged for the first time in the classes. I didn’t pass out and I didn’t come flying off of the treadmill. I did it. A lot of my friends who responded to my venting post on Facebook ha mentioned that in the very beginning of any change like I am immersed in that you need to look for NSV or non-scale victories. These can be anything from feeling a change in how your clothes fit, to not being winded taking the stairs or jogging for the first time in your class. These things should make you more proud of yourself than the number on the scale. Seriously.
I realized after I got home from my class and was able to see more comments on my post on Facebook that the Biggest Loser ruined me in a way. In watching shows like that you see people in the first week losing a ridiculous amount of weight. I’ve seen people lose 10-20 pounds in that first week and here I was gaining. These are not realistic numbers for the everyday person (and you’ve likely seen the recent NY Times Article chronicling the lives of past Biggest Loser contestants). Those folks are working out for multiple hours a day and have a trained staff creating meals for them in a very, very controlled environment. That is not my life, and it’s not yours either. I expected to have seriously crazy results the first week and having those kinds of expectations can really derail you and make you feel like all the work you did was for naught. This is not fair to the common person. Not by a long shot.
If you are on your own journey, I encourage you to not get discourages when you don’t lose 20 pounds your first week. Give your body time to stop resisting what you are asking it to do. The science of your body and physics and all of that nerdy stuff is going to take time to start showing up on the scale. The more important thing to focus on is how you feel. Do you feel stronger? Can you all of a sudden do something you never thought possible when you first started? Focus on those victories and the others will soon follow. At the end of the week when it was time for me to weigh-in, I had lost almost four pounds. It is not a huge number, but I lost it in a healthy manner and I fought for every single pound and every other pound that will follow.
I got this – and so do you!
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© Taryn Jeffries 2016