Just Lose It

After thousands of pounds lost, and an infinite number of tears, this week was the inspiring and touching three hour season finale of The Biggest Loser. I have to admit, of all the reality shows on television, this one sucks me in the most. I watch the contestants each week, as they set out on a journey to radically transform their bodies and their lives.

I started watching the show when I was at the gym. It often seems to be on while I’m running on the treadmill or givin’er on the stationary bike. Tears roll down my cheeks during every single episode, as I relate all too well with what the people on the show are going through. Have I ever been obese? No. Have I had to worry about my weight for as long as I can remember? Absolutely. I’ve been up and down and all over the place with my weight. It’s always a struggle for me and I have had to accept that it just always will be.

I’m nine weeks off chocolate and sweets. I’ve been keeping a close count of my calories and working out like a maniac. I’ve dropped close to 20 pounds since I started this little “diet,” which I began without any solid weight loss goal in mind. I know I’m never going to be a bone rack. I’m 5’9″ and I just don’t have a narrow, little build. I’ve also got knockers that don’t seem to want to go anywhere, no matter how much I wish they would disappear. I suppose my goal is to feel healthy, strong and fit; but the fact is, I have to be (a little) neurotic about it or it won’t work. I have to literally work my ass off. And I am.

Last night the lady in hot pink, 48-year-old Helen Phillips, took the top prize; her 140-pound weight loss was a higher percentage of her starting weight than that of finalists Tara Costa and Mike Morelli. The transformations of all of the contestants on the show this season were, in my opinion, unbelievable though. How adorable is Mike?

Tara Costa was my favourite contestant from the beginning of the season. She’s a charming young lady who carries herself really well. She is very easy to relate to and I found myself able to identify with many of her issues and struggles. Through the show, she’s been able to discover a new, healthy lifestyle, and she has found the self confidence to go along with it. In my opinion, she won this show in every way, shape and form that counted – except that last frivolous stipulation, “weigh loss percentage.” Tara dropped a total of 135 pounds in the competition. She looks absolutely incredible.

The Biggest Loser definitely gets its share of criticism and has come under harsh scrutiny for its unrealistic standards of weight loss. Personally, I think that the show needs to be taken with a grain of salt. I mean, it is reality television after all, people. Somehow, I don’t think the average 150 pound woman is going to try to duplicate an obese contestant’s 10 pound per week weight loss. What the show does do is demonstrate to the average overweight North American that they can exercise, eat less, and lose weight; because if the 400 pound middle-aged slacker can do it, who are we to say it’s too tough?


Photos courtesy of NBC

So This Is Fat, Is It?

Photo: The Superficial

All this bullshit splattered across the tabloids and gossip sites over the last week with regards to Jessica Simpson’s weight is exactly what makes it so damn hard for us. How the hell am I supposed to feel hot when this babe is being called fat? I happen to think she’s absolutely gorgeous- no matter what size she is at the moment. Forgive a girl for choosing an unflattering outfit, please.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

Today as I was busting my ass on the elliptical machine at the gym, trying to avoid the guilt I felt for sneaking a cookie after dinner last night…I started thinking. I was looking around at all the other girls working out in that gym; staring into the mirrors, their reflections looking back at them. Were the same feelings of inadequacy going through each of those girls heads? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why don’t we ever feel like we’re good enough?

In the moral order of our media driven society, the definition of what constitutes beauty, or even an acceptable body, seems to become more inaccessible all the time. We live in a universe where you could bounce a quarter off the well toned abs of any celebrity, and magazines are filled with airbrushed photographs of emaciated models with breast implants. We are constantly bombarded with images of Nicole Richie and The Olsen’s among other twenty somethings who look like they need feeding tubes. How is any normal girl supposed to feel attractive or desirable when these ladies set the bar?

The pursuit of beauty has become an obsession for so many. It is an obsession that gnaws at the insecurities of most women; even those who are, by any objective opinion, drop dead gorgeous. Nobody wants to acknowledge that in our sophisticated decade, something as superficial as beauty can propel one person forward and hold another back. Society needs a revolution in its values. Beauty needs to be defined with much broader parameters. We need to avoid being trapped into the suffocating vanity that cuts off oxygen to the brains of so many girls (myself included!)

Beauty is nothing we can ever hold onto, yet we’ve panted after it through the ages, eager to drink it in and swallow it down in huge, hungry gulps- like the very breath of air itself. I’ve realized that if I have to sacrifice having fun and doing things that I enjoy in life to look a certain way, the choice is clear. Living fully and being happy is what life is for. Perfection is an illusion.
And in my experience, many of those who appear perfect to the outside world are merely camouflaging a plethora of imperfections on the inside.

I’ve come to the conclusion that you’ve got to have a healthy relationship with your body if you want to be happy with it. This has been an ongoing struggle for me. I wish I could say that I love and accept myself as I am, but the truth is, I have spent much of my life worrying about how I look and feeling insecure about my body.

We all come in different shapes and sizes, and the grass is always greener on the other side-two cliches that, like most cliches, happen to to be true. We are all different, and we all wish we had something other than what we have. What we women need to do, instead of worrying about what we don’t have, is just love what we do have. Get to know your body. Love it, respect it, treat it right.

Because really…doesn’t the world have more important issues to focus on?