I was an unhealthy teenager. I hated my body, and I didn't think that much of the rest of me either. I always felt awkward, so I gorged on things like ultra-cheesy pasta to escape life. I have gradually built self-confidence and slowly replaced most of my bad habits with better ones, but the old me, or at least the memory of the old me, still exists and will always exist.
This week, with the New Year in full swing, attention focused on that familiar January preoccupation: losing weight. Shedding excess pounds can certainly be healthy. The trouble is, in our zeal for fighting obesity, we sometimes end up taking a punitive stand that does more to marginalize and harm people who are overweight than it does to actually help them get healthier. How about taking our cues from Tiny, the formerly obese New Brunswick cat, and keeping the weight loss theme focused on small consistent steps that lead to big results?
While I personally find The Biggest Loser to be an emotionally and physically abusive, misinformative, horror show, it's clearly beloved and trusted by many. And while my personal opinions shouldn't concern you, the peer-reviewed medical literature should. Along with being taught that obesity is treatable by means of incredible amounts of vomit-inducing exercise, severe dietary restriction, and never-ending servings of guilt and shame, the medical literature suggests viewers will also be taught that failure is an obese child's personal choice.