August 13, 2010

Is humiliation a natural part of weight loss?

So I was watching Oprah yesterday (I am fascinated with her fascination with weight loss, gimmicks, and those "gurus" she places such confidence in). Her show was dedicated to showcasing those who have lost hundreds of pounds.  You know the see many before shots and then the person walks on stage with new hair a new wardrobe and make up. Sure, it was very inspirational and I still don't know how one begins a weight loss regime when they have 300 lbs to loose, I am in awe of their tenacity and commitment.
However, I was very disappointed in Oprah when it came to highlighting her own fat loss program.

Just like the Biggest Looser, Oprah (with the help of her fitness "guru" Bob Greene) embarked on her own "biggest looser" program, but she called hers something like "your best life" (a rose is still a rose). What breaks my heart is the need to stand each overweight/obese individual up with as little on as possible so the audience can take a look at how truly fat they are. It reminds me of those freak shows we used to have in the circus where you get to see the deviants on stage or in cages up close and personal. Isn't this the same thing? Aren't we exploiting the desperation of the obese to loose the weight by standing them up for all to see? I was sickened by it when the Biggest Looser aired and even cried a few tears for those on the podium...but Oprah? I thought she, of all people, would have more empathy for those struggling with their weight. How would she like it if we stripped her down and stood her up in front of an audience? I"m guessing she wouldn't.

At any rate, humiliation, shame, guilt, and the like are not necessary to invoke in the individual desperate to loose body fat. It isn't nice, it isn't respectful, and it certainly doesn't increase their motivation. Shame does not create long lasting life changes, although it may temporarily. Any real health professional (vs."guru") would be able to tell you that. Instead, she has Bob Greene up there poking these people with the same stick as Oprah.

It's disgusting and I am very sorry for those who continue to do it. That's all I have to say about that.


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