From Fit to Fat to Fit

A new television docuseries on A & E called “From Fit to Fat to Fit” captures the experience of personal trainers gaining weight in order to relate to their clients in their weight-loss journey. Some gain up to 100 pounds just to be able to lose weight with their clients. The TV show documents how people go literally from ‘fit’ to ‘fat’ to ‘fit’ again.

The show gives the impression that if you just try hard enough, you can dramatically change your body shape and weight.  Unfortunately, this idea could not be farther from the truth. The underlying message that it tells its audience is that ‘if you are not able to lose weight, it is your fault, your lack of willpower.’

According to Dr. Dianne Neumark-Sztainer in her book Secrets from the Eating Lab, she explains that in relation to our weight, it is not just as easy as ‘calories in, calories out.’ Genetics, hormones and biochemicals, and many other contributing factors influence our body weight. It is easier for someone who in general has an active lifestyle to lose weight, than someone who is more sedentary.

Bodies’ adapt to the needs of quickly restoring broken-down muscle and body tissues when burning energy at a fast rate. When energy is not being used at a rapid rate, the metabolic process slows down in order to regulate the body’s needs. Therefore, someone who has been working out all of their life is going to have a much easier time losing weight than someone who has not.

Please know, that first of all, there is nothing wrong with having a body size that does not look like the ideal body-type this show is portraying. Second, weight-loss or weight-gain is not about willpower or lack there-of. Third, your weight says NOTHING about who you are as a person, NOTHING. You are not a bad person and worth any less if your body does not look like the perceived ideal body type.

You are worthy because you are alive, period.

Discussion Questions:

  • How does this show effect body image?
  • Does this television show relate to eating disorders? Why or why not?
  • Do you think this show is helpful or harmful to watch for most people?