The Biggest Loser Fails Again

the-biggest-loserI wrote at the beginning of the new season that I was going to watch the Biggest Loser this year because I never had really watched it, but thought that it might help keep me motivated. It has definitely done it’s job in that area. Seeing some of the contestants reach the 100 pound weight loss mark and seeing others at the beginning of the season and realizing that I now weigh more than them puts a little spark in me.

However, since the theme of this year’s season is childhood obesity, I knew eventually the diabetes card would be played and I feared that once again, Hollywood would get it all wrong. Well, last night was their big chance, and guess what? They failed again.

One may argue that no matter what, they are bringing attention to obesity and the risk it brings in developing Type 2 diabetes. However, just like any other sort of television show or movie, there is no distinction between the types of diabetes, it is just “diabetes”

The show has been following along three teenagers, and one of them is a girl who has been deemed, “pre-diabetic” by the doctors on the show. Last night’s episode was about the contestants facing their fears. The 13 year old boy on the show has a “fear” of vegetables, which that’s a whole other story, and the third teenager had a fear of losing her mother because of how over weight and unhealthy she is. The “pre-diabetic” girl’s fear was becoming diabetic, so NBC thought, hey why don’t we introduce her to the guidance counselor at her school who is diabetic (still, they haven’t said if she is type 2 or type 1).

When they first introduce “the diabetic” she starts off by saying that the young girl was “right on to be afraid of diabetes.” Of course nobody wants to have diabetes, but do we live in fear everyday because we do have it? Or do we manage it to the best of our abilities and drastically reduce the risks of any sort of complications?

Next, “the diabetic” guidance counselor stated that she loved to eat and she was pissed when she found out she was diabetic because she loved food and loved to cook. Ok, let’s stop right there just after that comment. WTF does that even mean? So, what you’re telling me is that now that you’re diabetic, you can’t eat food or cook? You can no longer eat whatever you want, in moderations, just like every healthy person should be doing anyway?

Moving on. She then wanted to scare the little girl by showing her what it was like to prick her finger to test her sugar. Well, apparently this lady just decided not to use her lancing device, which was in her meter case because I saw the damn thing, but decided to just take the lancet by itself and prick her finger. I think I remember the last time I did that, wait, no I don’t, because in almost 10 years, I never did it once!

After testing her sugar, she explained to the little girl that she takes 5 pills a day and one shot of insulin at night. Hmm..I know that there a lot of people out there that are taking multiple pills a day and maybe that works for you, but 5 pills a day, plus a shot of insulin at night, sounds to me like just being on insulin, all day, may be work better for you. But once again, this just leads to the Hollywood message of… “Have Diabetes? Just pop a pill and exercise and you’ll be cured”

The final thing that “the diabetic” had to say is what set me off and was the last straw. In closing up that segment she said, “just stop the junk food and sugar drinks, you have a choice” Just let that sink in for a minute. Let’s have a contest out there, who remembers when they had a choice on whether to develop diabetes or not? Maybe mine was when I was playing football in college, was in the best shape of my life, was on a diet and weight lifting program, and didn’t drink much soda, maybe it was then.

Let’s get the facts straight. Instead of just generalizing diabetes, we need to distinguish between the two. We also need to distinguish that it’s not just a choice we can make. Of course, if you eat healthy and exercise and are not obese, you can lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t or won’t happen anyway. I know these are things that many of you have blogged or talked about in the past. How do we stop propaganda filled Hollywood? I’m not sure that we can, but all we can do is try and try to educate one person at a time.



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2 thoughts on “The Biggest Loser Fails Again

  1. Chris,
    Can Jamie & I have a copy of this? The petition is getting a lot of attention and it’d be great to use. We promise to keep your name attached to your work. I think it’s a great example of why we need clarity.

  2. This is very well written. Thank you for creating awareness and bringing to light some very common misconceptions about diabetes.

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