Tag Archives: the biggest loser

Still, we walk

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Most people take a selfy at the beach and they look hot and beautiful and dignified. I take a selfy at the beach and I look like this:

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I am not classy, nor dignified. At this point I was being whipped by sand, my hair was in afro mode and I had hit the halfway point on my walk and realised that I had a particularly full bladder.

But still, we walk.

I’m currently doing the Walk for Autism. I’m on day two of seven days of 10000 steps. I generally do around that many each day anyway, but this is for a purpose.

What’s funny is that I think this walk is for promoting Autism spectrum awareness. I think awareness is shit. You can be aware of speed limits and ignore them. You can be aware of it being hot and know that you’re going to be out in the sun, and still choose to not wear sunscreen or a hat. Awareness doesn’t do anything.

I think we maybe need to be walking towards something more like acceptance, or acknowledgement. Seeing the speed limit and accepting it and following it. Seeing the sun and accepting it and respecting it. Seeing people who operate differently to you, and accepting them.

But these words mean nothing if we don’t actually teach each other how to accept. Which won’t happen, unless we actually want it to. Which is kind of sad.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about The Biggest Loser. The new format has copped a fair bit of flack, mainly because there is a woman on it who is 78kg. As a result of the sliding audience numbers, it’s now being screened during the day instead of during prime time.

This has made me come to several conclusions.

1. We wanted our contestants to be less like the everyday population and more overweight. I’m not sure if this is about wanting to feel better about our own weight, or if it’s the appeal of gawking at people who have huge struggles with their health. Either way, every day Australians were not appealing enough to sustain a large enough audience to remain in prime time.

2. We don’t understand that whatever someone’s weight is, they still deserve the chance to work on creating a body that they are comfortable with. We should understand this. Gyms are full – full – of people who are at a healthy weight for their body shape. But they still go to the gym. Everyone has something that they’re not happy with. We need to stop being judgemental dickheads and start cheering on each other. You’re at the gym at 78kg? Bloody good on you. You’re at the gym at 160kg? Bloody good on you.

3. We wanted a spectacle and we didn’t get a spectacle. We wanted to watch extremely overweight people deciding to take part in food challenges and eating chocolate to get secret powers at eliminations and challenges. We wanted what we’ve watched for years on The Biggest Loser. The new format? I think it was better, and certainly more relevant. But, it’s not what people wanted. And if people don’t want to watch something then they’re not going to watch.

There are days when I am not sure what happened to the human race. And then there are moments when I see humans helping each other, and it’s nice.

I guess the point of this post is that awareness is shit. Acceptance is optional but preferred. People watch what they want to watch.

And at the end of the day?

Still, we walk.

 

 

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The Measure

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I wanted to write a quick post mainly because The Biggest Loser kicks off tonight on Australian screens. If you’re not familiar with the show, a quick introduction: people apply/audition to be on the show based on their weight and wanting to change their lifestyle. Contestants are picked from the applications, and are then designated a group and a trainer for the group. The trainer generally yells and motivates the contestants through a variety of means. Contestants vomit, work hard, lose weight. Each week they weigh in and their weight loss is recorded. At first this is done either topless (men) or just in a sports bra (women). As they lose weight they start to wear singlets to the weigh ins. Then there’s a finale, and the person who has lost the greatest percent of their body weight wins.

The reason I want to write a blog in response to this is several-fold.

The Biggest Loser tends to encourage people to work on their fitness and lose weight. But you need to realise a couple of things.

1. You will not get the extraordinary weekly results that the contestants on The Biggest Loser get. There are several reasons why. The first is that the weigh ins are not actually weekly. I have read differing amounts of time between weigh ins, but in general they seem to be every ten days or even fortnightly. Not weekly. The second reason you will not get those same results is because the contestants are taking part in an extreme and gruelling exercise regime. We’re talking many hours in the gym per day. This is not sustainable in real life, because we have things like jobs and kids and partners and pets and washing.

2. If you are particularly well endowed in the chesticle region, you will struggle to find a sports bra that offers the required scaffolding to support the girls. Do your research, they are out there but you do need to work hard to find them. I got my first few online. They’re expensive but they are absolutely necessary.

3. Most importantly, is this: If The Biggest Loser inspires you to get moving, or even to jump on the scales and assess where things are at, remember this. There is no number on earth that will ever be an accurate measure of who you are as a human being. Not the number on the scale. Not the number on your clothing. Not even the number that represents your chronological age. You’re more than a number. You’re worth more than numerical digits that attempt to sum up your worth. I am worth no more at my weight now than I was before I started my weight loss adventure. I will always be thankful to who I was when I started, because she did the hard yards: walking into a gym for the first time. God, even just walking. You are more than a number. You are.

The Biggest Loser isn’t a bad thing. Not at all.

But it always helps to remember the reality behind reality television.

 

 

Layer Upon Layer Upon Layer…

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Generally, I have the ability to deal with three crappy things at a time. I call this my Rule of Three. For example, I can deal with being overtired, having had surgery and having the flu. But add to that just one more thing, and I lose my shit. Big time. Tears. Snot. Rocking in the corner. This continues until I purge the overwhelmedness from my mind and then continue on my merry way.

I haven’t always had such a magnificent threshold, though.

I watched the finale of The Biggest Crash Dieter Obnoxious Teenager Loser tonight. I wanted the green boys to win. Seriously, little Toddy is such a cutey. They didn’t win, but the consolation was that the light blue bullies also didn’t win.

What shat me to tears about it though was Todd’s recounts of the bullying he’d been on the receiving end of. What kind of person thinks that they have the right to treat another human being in a way that destroys the very core of who they are? Who could possibly think it is ok to make another human being the target of every seed of bitterness and malice that they have coursing through their veins? Why do bullies think that this kind of thing is OK?

I was bullied at high school, along with almost every other person in the world.

When I was visiting my sister in the school holidays, we went to the local agricultural show. It was in front of the wood chops that I saw them: The two girls that had decided I was the soul cause of every unpleasant event and experience they had ever undergone. N and K were watching the wood chops with some kids, and chatting quite normally. No one would ever guess that they had it in them to set the fuse to what would become a battle with myself that played out over many, many years.

Seeing them was really bizarre. I knew that they had a particularly turbulent home life, but this wasn’t my fault! I was 13! And K wasn’t even in my year – she was a good two or three years ahead of us. For whatever reason, they took the time throughout high school to let me know I was fat, a bitch, gay, ugly, slag, slut, mole, bush pig (yes seriously – I came from a somewhat rural area). My right to attend classes was challenged, to go on excursions, to get the bus, to get my Ls, to think about getting my Ps, to attend my formal – all were challenged on a daily basis.

Then there were the more clever plans of attack, resulting in my bag being searched (to no avail), my locker being repeatedly kicked in, my bag being stolen and crapped in, with the contents strewn across the basketball courts.

And to K and N? This was all fair and reasonable behaviour.

As life went on, I encountered more bullies. I tried to think of what they all had in common, but all I could come up with was that they were unhappy people with an axe to grind.

As an adult, I still see bullies. Adults who are bullies, that is. One woman who tried to make my life hell (and succeeded for a short time) is currently facing criminal charges, after pulling her behaviours on people who are much braver than I was. Another takes delight in giving me the finger at traffic lights (I wave back at her).

I know, as an adult, that their bullying says more about them than it does about me. But it doesn’t actually make it any easier to deal with on a day-to-day basis when it is actually happening. What ten year old will take comfort in that? What fifteen year old?

To be honest, I don’t know what the answer is to bullying. My approach now is to be involved in my community and to treat people with respect. I try to show my Cubs how to do this. I try to get them to see the results of words and actions. I don’t want them to grow up to be bullies – not when most of my Cubs tend to be the target for bullies at school right now.

To actually stop bullying is much harder, because I think this would entail encouraging the bullies to look at their own lives and address the issues that make them speak and act out in such damaging ways. And generally? Bullies are the kind of people who resist this very enthusiastically.

At the end of the day, I think it is going to be the Green team that people remember from this season of The Biggest Loser. Their integrity and honesty speaks more than any amount of weight lost – it demonstrates, quite plainly, that it is not the outward appearance that makes someone attractive or beautiful. It’s the heart.

This video is an amazing story about bullying. It’s a must-watch. I watch it regularly.

If someone told you they were being bullied, what would you say to them?