The Biggest Loser: The Case of the Caffeine Pills

By Lisa Christie
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zb8KRjMIf it wasn’t clear already, after this week it should be. “The Biggest Loser” is not about health. It’s not about fitness. It’s not about long-lasting, long-term strategies for weight management. It’s about losing weight at all costs.

I don’t watch the show, but paid some attention to it this week because of First Lady Michelle Obama’s appearance as part of her Let’s Move! program.

Our friend Lizabeth Wesely-Casella at Binge Behavior, along with the Binge Eating Disorder Association, put an impressive campaign together to stop the appearance, but found out after a meeting with the Let’s Move!  folks that it had already been filmed and was airing this week.

Fortunately, her appearance was overshadowed by the aspect that trainer Jillian Michaels gave her team caffeine pills without the doctor’s permission before their weigh-in. As a result her team was punished. They were punished only because the pills were given without a doctor’s permission. Not because it was unhealthy.

Let’s be honest – the producers know exactly what they are doing. They didn’t try to cover it up. They didn’t see the caffeine pills as a scandal. This means they are actually okay with the weight loss tactic – just not okay with Jillian not following protocol (and actually, it’s been hinted at that they really only used the rule-breaking as an opportunity to bring back a popular contestant).

Perhaps one good outcome will be that the First Lady sees now that the show is not about health and will no longer lend her support. In the words of Lizabeth Wesely-Casella:

“The unsustainable lifestyle the participants are engaged in, the misinformation about how to safely and effectively reach health goals, the mistreatment and fat shaming that the show promotes within our culture… none of these will be as effective an argument against future appearances as was served up by the show itself.  The winning reason not to go on TBL? I guarantee you that it has to do with CHEATING.”

Read more from Lizabeth on 3 Reasons Why the Biggest Loser Cheating Scandal Is Awesome.

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