As you'all know here, if I am wrong, I will gladly admit it. And people have written comments to show me the error of my ways and if I see merit in what they say, I am more than glad to admit I was in error.
I guess my humble blog has gotten the attention of one of the winners on "the Biggest Loser" show, second season, Pete Thomas. Thomas lost a lot of weight in a 9 months - 185 lbs and apparently if his blog is to be believed, he's kept it all off (but of course, Eric Chopin didn't tell his cyberfriends how much he had regained so that's why I say this with a grain of salt.... IF his blog is true).
Be that as it may, he is ANGRY at me. Very angry and has written a long comment which raises some issues that I think I should address in my main blog. So here goes:
"You are doing such a poor job in your analysis. The media does want to see failure."Ignoring the insult, (and to use Pete's phraseology, "it doesn't take a big leap in intelligence" to realize that ad hominem is a faulty argument tool), I feel Pete is very wrong. The media did NOT to this day, cover much about Eric Chopin's massive weight gain nor the weight gain of other "big losers". And there is a good reason for this. The media is driven and financed by the diet industry, a billion dollar industry of which "the Biggest Loser Show" is of course, a part (it sells products when folks watch the show unless they fast forward through the commercials like I do and not a lot of folks DO that). And the diet industry is pushing the myth that "all of us" can "get the body we always wanted" just by buying this or that diet when in fact studies have found (all of them have FOUND THIS, PETE) that 95 percent of people who diet to lose weight, regain the weight within 5 years! And the results of weight loss surgery are not much better - even with a permanent change to the body, 93 percent of patients cannot keep all the weight off! And most patients still end up in the severely to clinically obese zone and then WITH a new set of comorbidities. (the Swedish Obesity study and others). I've given these cites in some of my other blogs so won't labor through them here.
Pete gives as his reason for his belief that the media is highlighting failure as this:
"It does not take a giant leap of intelligence to see this. Look at the local news or national news – How much positive vs negative news do you see? The media thrive on success and more so on FAILURE!"True, negativity and fear dominate the media EXCEPT when it comes to selling product and that means the DIET INDUSTRY so most of what we see on the media is SUCCESS to perpetuate the myth that "most people can successfully keep off the weight". As I mentioned before, I saw no mention of Eric Chopin in the news and a search of Google news I did right now, came up with the following message:
Your search - "eric chopin" - did not match any documents.So I am wondering, Pete, if your theory is true and the media is highlighting failure in weight loss, why didn't Eric's appearing on the Oprah show even warrant a SMALL mention in the news?
And according to Pete's biography on his website, he's appeared rather often in this media which he says "highlights failure"
"He has appeared on ABC's The View, The 700 Club, and eXtra as well as being featured in People Magazine, Runners World, TV Guide, The Detroit Free Press, inTouch Weekly and Real Health."
Next Pete you are getting a bit confused here when you wrote:
"One successful author I know says ANY publicity is good publicity. He FRAMED BAD reviews of his book! Be assured – your blog qualifies as good publicity."Doubtless you were referring to the saying sometimes attributed to Will Rogers but apparently said by many that "there is no such thing as bad publicity, only publicity".
First of all, I think you are overrating the nuisance value of my humble blog so if that's your worry, please don't worry... I'm sure no one on the show or in charge of the show would be convinced by this blog. First of all, the show is a cash cow and you will find that people _really don't care_ whether it's healthy or "right" if it's bringing in the bucks. First American TV principle... that you have not encountered this, leads me to wonder what planet have you been living on? :)
Secondly, actually there IS such a thing as bad publicity... Joyce Brothers said that and we can see that bad publicity helped greatly in defeating Sarah Palin in the recent election. Her name was on every lip so she got plenty of publicity, all bad.
And third, if you feel that my blog is good publicity then it should help your business of "motivational speaking" and thus, why are you so angry at me? I must say, you seem to be contradicting yourself a bit (well more than a bit).
So bottom line, my blog may be bad publicity for the show but as long as the ratings soar (whether people who watch it LIKE the show or not), the networks will run the show (and sell the sponsor's products). And people wanting to believe the myth that "all of us can have the body we always wanted" will continue to call you for "motivational speaking" right?
You then accused me of being ignorant so you wrote patronizingly:
"So let me educate you a little – Oprah called Eric – Remember! He turned her down initially. It is a known fact that contestants regularly turn down the media ‘When they start gaining their weight back’. You just don’t know that because your not knowledgeable enough on these things. So let me help you."First of all, Pete, seems you didn't read my blog very well because I SAID that Oprah had called Eric previously and that he'd turned down the appearance (what he said on the "Oprah" show). Perhaps you might be the one needing help in reading things a bit more carefully. And by the way, Pete, in the statement of yours "Your not knowledgeable" I think you meant to say "YOU'RE not knowledgeable", right?
You further wrote:
"Oprah called a lot of us a few months back and those of us familiar with the process KNEW exactly where the show was going."Have you counted the number of POSITIVE "amazing weight loss" shows Oprah has done? It way exceeds the couple of "weight loss problem" shows she's done.
"Misery loves company. My opinion - Oprah wanted company in her own struggles (or rather her producers choose to portray it as such)."Aren't YOU assuming something about Oprah i.e. her being "miserable"? She's never been extremely large and she's sold a bunch of magazines and shows with her latest "confessions". And I do not see Oprah appearing on shows like "The Biggest Loser" which regularly humiliate people of size. Bottom line, there is no evidence that she's feeling miserable at all. Only that she's a very clever TV show host who knows how to get the audience's attention.
After that, you wrote:
"I will leave you to your ignorance on that one and I will just continue to laugh from a distance."And I ask why you have to laugh at me at all and if life being so slim is so wonderful, why are you so angry? Happy people don't write angry, ad hominem letters like you wrote me. A psychologist might have a field day with your letter, Pete. :)
Then you ask:
"WHY is the type of weight loss on the show unhealthy?"
That you don't know, suggests you may be the one who lacks knowledge especially that you mentioned no one has shown you any evidence of this... incredible since evidence exists all over the internet and in many books that quick weight loss is unhealthy.
Your body cannibalizes organs and muscles with a quick weight loss and lowers your metabolism so that you will gain more quickly. Since you are apparently was unaware of the tons of stuff available written about this, you may be more amenable to watching a video than reading an article or book, so I will provide a video explaining the process:
I would also recommend Dr Linda Bacon's book, "HEALTH AT EVERY SIZE" which well covers obesity research.
Additionally, working out so hard and so long every day (and in most cases, high impact) is foolish and ASKING for injury... just ask the personal trainer at your local gym about this. Again much has been written about this on the medical and fitness sites... if you haven't yet seen it, you obviously do NOT want to see it. Because it's easy to find.
The show not only sacrifices health for audience appeal (no one wants to see someone lose slowly on a healthy program - that's boring) but also, it humiliates people of size. Again, if you do not see this, perhaps you don't WANT to see it and nothing I write will convince you...
One more thing you brought up ... you wrote:
"You believe that size does not matter and it is ok to be morbidly obese."This statement is way too general. But I don't think I said this in any of my blogs. Fact remains however, that for every study which suggests a danger in being clinically obese, there is another study which suggests NO LINK between clinical obesity _alone_ and morbidity but rather other lifestyle factors instead... food choices, whether the person yo yo's the weight or stays steady and a host of things, even things like stress and anxiety.
Dr Rudy Leibel, probably one of the most respected obesity researchers, stated in a speech to the NIH that "there probably is some advantage to being of normal BMI but it is UNCLEAR whether someone forcing their weight to a lower range than their bodies want, enjoys that advantage".
Now, Pete, I have provided some sources and clarified what I have written and of course, I invite comment but if you DO comment, I hope you will do so more respectfully than your last comment as I feel insulting comments do little to enlighten folks who are reading this. Provide me with facts and cites and I will listen. Your anecdotal "I know all about the show" attitude is not really what I call unbiased observation especially since you apparently walked away with a tidy sum of money. I can understand that you do not like it when the show is criticized for being unhealthy or for exploiting fat people (although some of the Biggest Loser candidates have talked about that themselves), and while I understand your point of view, your anecdotal information does not qualify for scientific data. I hope you understand that.
Overall, I think we can discuss something, even disagreeing upon various aspects and still remain adult and civil, yes?