The Biggest Loser, you never fail to disappoint

It’s no secret I’m no fan of TBL, and other than in the title, I don’t feel like typing out their entire name because I don’t wish to give them SEO love. It’s because they are one of THE worst purveyors of bias against obesity, they promote bullying, and their tactics are not only scientifically unsound, they can be downright unsafe.

I was not at all bummed to hear “my favorite bully”, Jillian Michaels, was no longer on the show. Actually, I don’t care, except for she is one person I’ve always said I would love to get off the air. And no, I had nothing to do with her leaving. Thing is, they still have this bigoted doctor working for them. Dr. Robert Huizenga

Here’s a clip from the big reveal of one of the most recent season finale… check out what Dr. H had to say here… If you want to get right to the nitty-gritty, this link hits right to the point.

“You lost literally, hundreds of pounds of excess fat  you did in a safe effective manner. Much better than those distasteful weight loss surgeries that everybody wants to turn to.” – Dr. Robert Huizenga

Wow. Really? “distasteful?”

Look, I realize this is a blog that focuses a lot on bariatric surgery, but I will be the first to stand up and say that surgical treatment is not an option for everyone. But it is an options, and bariatric surgery has been shown to be the most effective and durable treatment for severe obesity. And that’s not my words, that’s coming from the U.S. National Library of Medicine (2010).

You can get some info on that and many other facts about bariatric surgery at the ASMBS website.

But wait a second, ASMBS? That’s a surgeon’s group isn’t it? Of course they’ll say it’s ok – it’s what they do for a living. Ok, fine. Doesn’t mean they don’t back up what they say with facts. And yea, they make money doing what they do, but every surgeon I’ve ever met, truly cares about what they are doing. Time and time again I hear surgeons talk about how they do what they do because they love seeing the changes in the health of their patients they see occur with the help of these procedures.

Besides, why wouldn’t Dr. H talk down about other options… he’s got quite the gig going for himself with TBL, doesn’t he? Yoni Freedhoff wrote last year about this “big study” that Dr. H did where was trying to convince folks that the weight loss program done by TBL is a better way to go. He wanted to get a grant to compare their results to bariatric surgery. Go read what Dr. Freedhoff wrote, it’s worth the extra few minutes. (You can also hear more from Dr. Freehoff in the radio show he did with me about reality weight loss programs)

I’m not sure what else can be said about a show as terrible as TBL. I get that people see the stories of the contestants as inspirational. It’s easy to get sucked in to their personal stories of adversity and triumph… but should we really be cheering for people to potentially do some serious, long term damage to themselves?

“But they know what they were in for when they signed up, it’s entertaining!” – yea, I’ve heard that argument too.

We don’t let athletes perform for our entertainment without protective gear anymore. Remember when football players wore a leather cap, or hockey players weren’t required to wear helmets?

The lack of protection these participants have… well, it’s like turning a hockey goalie loose without a mask.

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