Binging on HEAVY

Ad for the A&E show HEAVY.

This ad for HEAVY depicts the ubiquitous "big" girl with a pretty face.

It is 10 on a Saturday night. I have spent the entire evening watching HEAVY, the A&E show that follows obese people doing a six-month, weight loss boot camp. It popped up on Netflix, and I could not resist a viewing marathon.

I am conflicted about this show and all shows that use tortuous exercise (many hours a day) and insanely restrictive diets (1300 calories per day) to “help” fat people. They make the fat people take off their shirts and weigh themselves in public (and on TV no less)–something I simply cannot imagine. I still have rituals when I weigh myself that border on voodoo (always no clothes or shoes, first thing in the morning, and ALWAYS behind a closed door).

That said, HEAVY really highlights the emotional struggles that accompany carrying extra weight. The episodes let you see how limiting living with extra weight can be for some people. So many of the show participants are given ultimatums by their spouses or girlfriends to “do something, or else.” They do a good job of showing how hopeless these people are when they are beginning their journeys.

I remember that feeling of hopelessness all to well when I was 90 pounds heavier. I feel like I got sucked into the show so I could get back in touch with that feeling. That feeling is what gives me empathy for all of the people in my life who are struggling with extra weight–family members, co-workers, people in classes that I speak to.

So, I recommend you watch an episode or two. Don’t follow any of the diet or exercise advice (there is a more sane way!), but watch to delve into the life of a fat person and to see how that fat makes them feel.

Let me know if you’ve seen the show and what you think. Leave a comment!

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4 Comments on “Binging on HEAVY”

  1. wow. your comment is so true. I am now a bit overweight, maybe 10-15 pounds, which seems a lot to me, because I have worked out and done weight training since 1979. I am 54 years old, and I can’t stand the ‘tire’ in the middle I have right now. But looking at the workouts that “the biggest loser” contestants are put through make me nauseous. I have had trainers in the past that have put me thru these kind of workouts, and I didn’t feel they were safe. I work as a nurse in the OR, and I need to be able to lift heavy patients, and stay on my feet, without a lot of sitting, and I don’t want to compromise my ability to work. So it is a fine line, to do the most you can, and be pushed, without hurting yourself. But only you know how much is too much. It breaks my heart to see these trainers, pushing these poor ‘contestants’ to do more than I would be able to do after 30+ years of working out. I eat very healthy, but have put on some extra from my indulgence in the spirits. We all have our addictions. I’m sure that there needs to be extreme ‘situations’ for this video to have an appeal, it’s just that most people that work out regularly would think the approach is way too much. As a nurse, I would worry about heart attacks, considering the ‘over the top’ exertion these people are doing.
    Keep up the good work, but increase the intensity gradually, please

  2. Gordon Youd says:

    The problem with the weight loss theme is, most of the people looking to reduce their weight, find that because they are obese they would struggle to do even the slightest excercise.
    Most men and women keep looking on the web for that “MAGIC PILL.”

    • I agree. That is why it is so hard to watch when they are yelling at these obese people to, “Move it!” I know when I was at my heaviest a simple short walk made me breathless. I hope we get over the “punish the fat out of people” mentality.


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