Last night I couldn’t go to sleep after Real Housewives of New Jersey (seriously, could anyone?) and I ran across the premier episode of Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition on ABC. The focus of the episode was a 21-year-old teacher named Rachel, a beautiful girl with an infectious smile, a can-do attitude, and a body weight of 369 pounds. The premise of the show was that a personal trainer whisked her away from her normal life for a one-week “boot camp” where she was taught diet and exercise strategies, and then for the first three months of the program the trainer lived with her at her family home to get her started off on the right track. Then the trainer left her to her own devices and just checked in once every three months for her weigh-in. She met her weight loss goal for the first three months, but failed to meet any goal after that. Yes, she lost 161 pounds in a year, which was amazing, and she looked absolutely beautiful at her one-year weigh-in, and was obviously very happy with her healthy new lifestyle. But I found several things about the show disturbing.
Her family was apparently not at all supportive of her efforts to lose weight. Here’s this poor girl, morbidly obese and at risk for serious health problems, and these people are so self-absorbed they can’t give up their brownies and “taco night” to help her out? I hope no one in that household develops diabetes or heart disease, because they’ll have a tough time of it.
Rachel’s final weight was 208 pounds. They never said how tall she was, but I’m assuming she’s not eight feet tall. She’s still significantly overweight, and still looking at some serious health risks.
She was evidently exercising five hours a day. That’s not realistic. Unless you’re a professional athlete you shouldn’t be exercising five hours a day. And for one three-month period she lost only three pounds total while exercising that much. That just doesn’t add up. I guess what I’m trying to say is I wonder if this girl was done a disservice by being selected to be part of this show.
Did anyone else find this show disturbing, or am I just reading too much into a one-hour bit of network fluff reality TV? And in case you’re wondering: Yes, I would love to lose about fifty pounds, and yes, I did eat a snack while watching the show (but it was a salad).