reason # 323496349872 I don’t watch The Biggest Loser

I’m watching Top Chef Masters right now (pirated, I don’t have tv so I gots ta get it via the interwebs) and the challenge for this episode is to re-work the favorite meals of contestants from The Biggest Loser into three meals (plus dessert) that don’t go over 1,500 calories total. Of course the favorite meals that they trot out are calorie-laden monster plates of deep dish pizza, bacon cheeseburgers, and the like. NOW, I am not judging the fact that those are someone’s favorite meal. Shit, a bacon cheeseburger? Essentially perfection on a plate. And even if I didn’t like the food someone chooses as her favorite, who the hell am I to say anything about it? Rock on with your food choices! My beef has more to do with the producers. Of course they only choose the foods that most folks would label as “bad.” Listen, I’m fat. Like, super fat. And my favorite meal is probably a caprese salad and some sort of California-style phroofy thin-crust pizza. I know other fat people who would kill someone over the perfect roast chicken. Did I see a plate of roast chicken with asparagus and fingerling potatoes in the show? I’ll give you seven guesses. Again, I’m not interested in getting into a good fatty/bad fatty discussion – of course people should be treated with dignity and respect regardless of what they choose to eat – I’m interested in the narrative that the producers wish to share with us. There is ONE fat person in this world, and she is lazy and eats everything in sight and that’s the reason she’s fat. One chef even says something like “jesus, I could feed my family for an entire week with what’s just on that one plate.” You, sir, should shut up.

On to the challenge itself. “1500 calories?” i thought. that doesn’t seem like much. Apparently the suggested caloric intake for women, according to the FDA, is 1500-2000. Ok, cool. So it’s not like The Biggest Loser is in the habit of starving people, right? But then I get to thinking about someone who weighs what I do trying to get by on 1500 calories. Wouldn’t my body think it’s starving and go into survival mode? And how is that sustainable? when I plug in my height and weight and indicate that I am active for 30 minutes about three times a week, i’m told that I need to take in about 2550 calories a day. This comes from the Mayo Clinic, it’s not some super random website. The difference between 1500 and 2550 is a lot. What about folks who weigh more than I do?

I don’t have any amazing epiphanies or anything, it just frustrates me to no end that there isn’t any further discussion. CUT and DRIED, people. Fat folks eat gross food, they should severely restrict their diet (and exercise 3+ hours a day like they do during taping of the show), and voila! they will be happy, healthy (read: less fat), and ready to be introduced to the world with confetti and bells and whistles in front of a live studio audience!

Wow, I’m feeling snark-tastic tonight. Love it.

Update: So now (sidebar: I feel like I’m live-blogging this damn thing), the chefs are talking to each Biggest Loser contestant about the food that will get a makeover, and one of the chefs is trying to convince the college student who loves her a bacon cheeseburger that a veggie patty is the way to go because meat is so bad for you. I’ve had some positively amazing veggie burgers in my life, so that doesn’t concern me. what concerns me is his statement later to the camera in which he says, “I do this for a living. I work in this industry with nutritionists and I have great respect for [the contestant], so shame on me if I present anything but a veggie burger.” Ummm, what dude? SHAME on you if you DARE to serve her anything but a veggie burger? What a hero, coming to rescue the fat maiden from her life of beef and hideousness. My hat’s off to you.

Update II: Now some of the chefs are crowing about how all three of their meals were under 1000 calories. See, this is where the shit hits the fan for me. This hasn’t become an exercise in mindful eating anymore, it’s a game to see how low you can go (calories, weight watchers).

Update III: Ok, there is some justice in the world! The preachy chef got sent home because, as one critic put it, he served them a “lecture on a plate.” Awesomesauce.

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13 responses to “reason # 323496349872 I don’t watch The Biggest Loser

  1. this is awesome! i totally skipped this week’s episode because i knew it was going to piss me off. thanks for your commentary!

  2. I DVR Top Chef (whatever version of it happens to be running ATM) every week. This week I was really glad Mr. Twistie was home and I decided to give him a break from watching it in real time, too.

    About two minutes after the Quick Fire Challenge ended (yummy cheese!), I just fast forwarded to the end to see who went home. I couldn’t take one more annoying, body-shaming, fat phobic word of it.

    Yeah, gotta love the chef who talked about how his teenage son was fat at fifteen, but then he started eating right and suddenly was thin and healthy and sparkly unicorns started flying out of his ass… okay, I may have slightly exagerrated that last bit, but it’s pretty damn close to what he said. All I could think was that at fifteen, chances are that fat phase wasn’t about eating evil, disgusting naughty food but his body growing out as it geared up for a vertical growth spurt.

    And like you I was looking for at least one meal that wasn’t a painful stereotype of How Fat People Eat. Left to my own devices, I love fish and lamb and lots of lovely crisp veggies. In fact, tonight’s special meal I had because Mr. Twistie was out and I could completely indulge myself in any way I pleased consisted of a Cornish game hen, broccoli, and roast sweet potato.

    Then again, I do enjoy a bacon cheeseburger once in a blue moon, too. But it would have been heavenly to see just one ‘favorite meal’ that wasn’t a freakishly oversized version of something deep fried and cheese-encrusted.

    I’m glad I’ll be able to fast-forward through the recap next week and really start watching only when the new episode starts. I don’t watch Top Chef to be told that I’m a disgusting freak who is going to keel over and die in the next two minutes if I don’t literally starve myself to death.

    Can you tell I’m still really, really pissed off? Because I am.

    Oh, and did anyone else notice how very thin the guest judge on the Quick Fire was? And him a world-class expert on cheese! Who really enjoyed chowing down on a steak smothered in cheese! It’s almost like different people gain, lose, and carry weight differently or something!

    But we all know that’s impossible, don’t we?

    GYAAAH! Where’s my puking bucket?

    • Twistie, I’m laughing my ass off right now. your comment FTW. and AND! it was the chef I mentioned in the first update that was sent home! ha ha, pack your knives and get the fuggout! (I actually really liked him up until this point, then he got all preachy preacherson and I, like you, needed a barf bucket)

      “Oh, and did anyone else notice how very thin the guest judge on the Quick Fire was? And him a world-class expert on cheese! Who really enjoyed chowing down on a steak smothered in cheese! It’s almost like different people gain, lose, and carry weight differently or something!”

      Ok, well now you’re just making NO sense.

  3. well, i admit i am disappointed to have read this before watching my dvr’d eppie of top chef masters from last night, because now i’m pretty sure i know who goes home based on the preview from last week. 😉 but i totally feel you on the meals they showed as the contestants’ favorites, and i wonder if they really were? or did someone say “um, my favorite meal is actually a caprese salad and a light, swanky pizza” and the producers were all hmm…we need to lard that up a bit for tv. i mean, i could survive pretty damn happily on good bread, cheese and fruit. but that’s not very tv-worthy, either. p.s. was it the fabulous indian chef, suvir? he was my favorite. i don’t know whether they mentioned it during this eppie, but he’s a lifelong hindu vegetarian, so i could see that playing more into his thoughts on meat vs. veggie burger than anything else. if it was him we’re talking about. 🙂

    • oh shoot, i’m sorry friend! I thought about doing a spoiler alert, but then i just forgot. totes my bad.

      lol at “lard that up.” you know, that could actually be the situation, in which case it fits even more nicely into my rant b/c i’m pissed at the producers. I also think that fat folks who eat whole foods/grains/veggies/other foods we label as “good” are probably screened WAY the fuck out of the tv show long before they get in front of a camera. “wait, this isn’t a self-loathing person? next!”

      yes, it was. he was my favorite too! until last night, obvs. and i totally appreciate the vegetarian thing, absolutely. i admired how he did the bug challenge, letting the judges know that he will not kill an animal. totes down with that (as in, i understand it, not as in i wouldn’t kill an animal). I’m curious to see what you think after you watch it, as his entire reasoning for feeding his contestant non-beef was “health” reasons and had nothing to do with his other reasons for being veggie. you’ll see the rant in its entirety and it’s fucking obnoxious. i won’t go into the details but let’s discuss post-view!

      love you!

  4. cheers! i’ll watch it tonight. i realized that i’m actually a couple days behind, since i taped it wednesday. but then went out last night and didn’t get a chance to peep it. so really, i’m behind and it’s totes on me. 😀 but yes, let’s chat after i watch it. curious! i loved him mostly because he reminded me of an indian version of james.

  5. Can I defend the fat people who like cheeseburgers etc? Perhaps they have attempted to diet all of their lives and have been essentially deprived of such high cal, great tasting stuff. This may be a big treat for them if they are always eating “diet” food. I have been doing intuitive eating for a while and it is still very difficult. The Overcoming Overeating folks would refer to these choices as “formerly forbidden foods.” Maybe if they had a chance to stop labeling food as good and bad, the cheeseburgers might not be as attractive if they knew they could always have them as well as any other food they wished.

    I have a very mixed diet. Some whole grains and organic salads etc. I also eat a lot of sweets and a fair amount of processed foods. I am trying to recover from an ED my current motto is “FOOD SCHMOOD.” I try to take all judgments our of food and eat for my own satisfaction.

    • I didn’t vilify folks who like cheeseburgers at all in my post (in fact, I extolled the virtues of the bacon cheeseburger), and I work every day on not making judgments about what folks choose to eat. it’s the producers I am pissed at, for they choose to focus exclusively on a narrative that our society has deemed the only acceptable one when it comes to fat people (ie: lazy, slovenly, fat because they eat cheeseburgers, etc)

      Amen to the “food schmood” mantra!

  6. That chef that got sent home always shoved his religious beliefs down everyone’s throats on each episode. It was maddening (and his preachy lisp didn’t help either). I stopped watching the Biggest Loser a while back because Jillian Michaels scares the crap out of me and I don’t think it’s healthy the way they lose weight.

    • for some reason the religious stuff wasn’t as annoying to me (or at least I didn’t read it as trying to shove it down people’s throats as much), but I have to say i’m not sad to see him go (though I pretty much loved him up until this point). i’ve only seen little snippets of the biggest loser. a-no thankyouverymuch.

  7. At this point in my life, I eats what I gets. I am unable to afford a working refrigerator or stove or much more than nutrition bars and shakes. I work in a retirement community and pray that they’ll have salads and cheese left over in the kitchen when I come in. I eat something at my son’s place usually once in the evening.
    The Biggest Loser is stupid. I hate that show and its hatefulness with everything in my fat little heart. I don’t know when I’ve wanted to power slam people more than the creators/producers/trainers of this show. They are arrogant and enjoy shaming people. That is way worse than being fat could ever be–that is, if being fat were a bad thing.

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