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I Used To Be Fat

October 11, 2011

MTV is starting their second season of the show “I Used To Be Fat,” and they’ve been playing reruns of the first season for a few weeks now. I watched most of the episodes from the first season, and I’ve been watching the reruns too, and I still can’t decide how I feel about the show.

Clearly the show resonates with me. It brings up a lot of thoughts that I’ve had on the back burner for awhile: how much I regret not getting fit sooner, whose responsibility it was to make sure I got active, ate right, and lost the weight, why I just let myself feel defeated for so long, how it has impacted me overall, just to name a few.

I see myself in a lot of these kids. I see them struggling to work out (every single episode involves someone crying while working out. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE), eat right, adjust to their new habits. I also see them get frustrated when things aren’t working out at the rate they expected. It’s all very familiar to me, it’s uncomfortable to watch, but I guess in a way it’s refreshing too.

It’s nice to see that kids like this aren’t alone, and that they do want to change (and most of them do make dramatic changes by the time the show ends). I only wish that it hadn’t taken me until 20 years old to get my act together. I know I would have been a much happier and more confident person had I started the process sooner.

I know it’s weird, but I hope weight isn’t an issue for my own children. Not only would I want them to be healthy, active, and happy, but I would never want to project my own past on them, either—and in the process, make eating healthy and exercising seem like a chore or a requirement. It’s a long way off, but it’s still something that concerns me.

Have you seen I Used To Be Fat? What are your thoughts on it?

I like the idea of the kids learning better habits and getting healthy, but sometimes (like The Biggest Loser), I feel like the show advocates a “quick fix” and very restrictive plan, without focusing instead on how to maintain weight loss and still live a normal life. There’s also a lot of focus on the major sacrifices that they need to make, without as much focus on the gains they are earning (besides the merely physical).

8 Comments leave one →
  1. October 11, 2011 5:45 pm

    I have not seen the show, but I have seen Biggest Loser and I understand this shows concept. I like the idea of getting people moving, teaching them healthier eating, and working on issues that are at the core. But I also agree with you… a quick fix is not sustainable change. How much are these people really being taught on lasting behavior change, lifestyle choices, and working on unresolved underlying issues that might make one unhappy and thus unhealthy in the first place? I have also seen a show on A&E that did not last long (although I wish it did and was still on) called Heavy. In this show they were at the place for 90 days. They then carried on what they learned at the resort for three more months at home; working out in their local gym with a trainer, cooking their own foods, and living their real lives. This proved hard for most and they had to return to the resort. But this show was more realistic as they also worked with a health coach to talk through goal setting, met with a therapist to talk through emotional turmoil, and did not drop massive amounts of weight at a time. I really liked that show and wish it was back on. But I like the fact that we are tryying to be more aware of our health and our well-being. Thanks for posting this and for sharing your story so candidly. I think the more that people know they are not alone in life the better off they are!

  2. October 12, 2011 12:38 pm

    I have not seen the show, but anything involving kids and obesity is devastating. It’s such a complex issue and there is the constant debate between personal responsibility and being a product of your environment. I wish we could do more to help and support the kids dealing with these issues. My main hope is for a reformed food system.

    I too cannot help but think about my future kids. I want them to be food literate and have a healthy relationship with physical activity, which is what many kids lack.

    • October 12, 2011 5:41 pm

      You hit the nail on the head, my friend. It’s all about presenting a healthy lifestyle in a way that’s not threatening, not a punishment, and not boring. That being said, it ain’t easy!

  3. October 12, 2011 3:50 pm

    i find shows like this to be a bit of a kick in the butt. if they can push through diffiicult workouts and make changes, then so can i 🙂

    i have lacked a healthy relationship with food for years but at 24, i am finally learning right from wrong. thanks for the post 🙂

  4. October 15, 2011 7:02 am

    I have never seen the show, but if it involved a quick fix (which all teens will jump at), then I’m not on board with that. You’re right…it’s a lifestyle and you must maintain it forever if you want to survive and have an enjoyable life. There’s nothing enjoyable about barely being able to move and having to use those scooters at the grocery store.

    I ate fast food twice a day on most days in my 20’s…and loved every second of it. Thank God I stopped before it really started to impact my body (the outside of my body…I’m sure it ate away at my organs in a way I’ll never know). Then I met Husband…who is fighting his own genetic makeup (high cholesterol and liver enzymes even though he’s the healthiest person I know) and realized that I have an obligation to my body, my family, and myself to do whatever I can to live my best life as long as I can. So, now I’m striving to live a pretty long life…so I can be a total PITA to everyone involved as long as possible.

    • October 15, 2011 8:47 am

      It’s not even that they really give the kids quick fixes, but they do work them HARD and FAST—which I personally don’t think is maintainable (similar to my issue with the Biggest Loser). Generally the message gets through to the kids that they need to work hard and sacrifice, but I do wonder where they are 6-12 months later.

      I love your comment about the obligation you have to your body, your family, and yourself. I truly believe in that—working out is great if it makes you look hot, but it’s even better if it allows you to spend more time living a life that you love, with the ones that you love. Thanks for reminding me of that, Rebecca!

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