Thursday, February 6, 2014

Losing Big

I have a confession to make. I watch The Biggest Loser. Worse yet, Alyssa watches with me.

We watch and I try to comment on how unhealthy morbid obesity is and how I hope the people on the show are learning to eat right and exercise more because it’s the healthy thing to do.

I was glad, though, on Tuesday night, that Alyssa fell asleep before the three finalists came on stage.

I’ve been watching this show for years and never have I had a moment of shock and worry when I saw the lone female contest, Rachel, walk on stage. This girl started the competition at 260 pounds. She ended it at 105. And she looked awful. Her arms were so, so thin and her legs were tiny.

It occurred to me that this is a risk when we glorify huge weight loss and pay people to leave their family for months in order to work out six hours a day and ‘learn’ how to eat like a thin person.

But I have to admit that while I worried about that girl on the screen, that tiny girl who lost 155 pounds in probably six or so months, I also secretly admired her. I know. I know! It’s sick and sad and I hope she doesn’t lose more weight and that she is healthy and happy.

The first step to getting better is admitting something might be wrong, right? Our society places so much emphasis on being thin. Which is why I talk about being healthy when Alyssa and I watch the show together. I never, ever want her self-worth to be wrapped up on how much she weighs or what size her jeans are. I want her to be strong and healthy and happy.

For me, though, I have confess that I’m still pretty wrapped up on thinness. I am probably the healthiest I’ve been in years. I lost 59 pounds last year and I’m thrilled by that. But in my secret, evil heart, I found myself admiring Rachel’s control (which she might not even have). I admire the fact that she’s thin to the point of skinny. I know how sick that is and I feel horrible for even writing that.

But there it is. Our world makes being thin so much more important than being healthy. This girl won a quarter of a million dollars by getting skinny.

I don’t even want the money, but I do still, sort of want the skinny. And I know that’s wrong. I know it’s sick and I wish I didn’t feel that way.

But I’m working on it even as I try to foster healthiness in my children. I don’t talk about being thin around them. I talk about eating healthy and going for walks. I offer them healthy snacks and the occasional sweet treat because, duh, life is too short to never eat cookies.

Like I said, the first step to getting past something is admitting, right? And don’t worry, I do not want to weigh 105 pounds. Really, I don’t.

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