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Miraculous Misconceptions: A Reflection on “Heavy” on A&E

I watched Heavy for the first time this Monday and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.  Heavy chronicles two individuals every week airing their life struggles, depression, anxiety, and how they got to their current weight.   Each individual is given a complete medical exam where the physician talks about their health and discusses the dangers that are associated with their obesity.  After first meeting with a physician, each individual is assigned to a personal trainer and shares a dietitian.  The goal is to lose a significant amount of weight in six months.  The first month is in a controlled environment and the last five months is in a “less controlled” environment.

Being a dietitian, I was very happy that they spoke and aired a dietitian on the show but I have some concerns with the way the dietitian’s involvement was edited for the show.  I was happy that they showed a dietitian providing a grocery tour  and felt they accurately portrayed how much this can be an ah-ha moment for an individual, but  I was absolutely appalled at the meal they aired for dinner.   There are many ways you can minimize calories without the portions being so incredibly small.  In my opinion, showing such a small, unappealing meal, puts a bad taste in people’s mouths and stimulates the anxiety individuals have when thinking about making dietary changes.  I was not shocked when I heard Rosie O’Donnell and her crew speaking horrifically about this diet the next day and thought to myself, “millions of people are listening to this right now and they all have a bad taste in their mouth about dietitians.”

I was also ill that the majority of the show seemed to air constant anaerobic exercise. Where was the cardiovascular exercise?  At one time the female trainer did say they were exercising five to six hours a day.  Do the individuals have jobs? Will they have time to exercise this much once the six months is over?  How realistic is this?

I always take into account editing effects but I have to say I have my doubts that the individuals I watched on Monday will be successful.  Perhaps I will be wrong but until the media highlights the appropriate changes that need to take place to minimize the obesity epidemic, I think America will be stuck thinking there are quick fixes.  I am hoping that future episodes focus on lifestyle and dietary pattern changes and will keep an open mind.  I am also looking forward to hearing how everybody does with keeping the weight off. 

Did you watch the show? What do you think? 

Comments

Steph said…
Amy,

I thought the same thing! It can be very discouraging to suddenly move from a gargantuan portion of unhealthy food to minuscule portions of healthy foods. Hopefully they were able to maintain the change!

Steph
inFitness Urbana
Anonymous said…
I watched this show when it premiered and was so disappointed. I wanted more focus on the mental aspect of why a person allows themselves to weigh 350 pounds. You can make someone exercise 5 hours a day and feed them 1200 calories and they will lose weight. But if you don't deal with why they are abusing food in the first place they will just gain it all back when they are no longer in a controlled environment. I think the Biggest Loser should add a therapist and a dietitian to their team of trainers.

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