It seems that all that is on TV now are reality TV shows! Though I don’t watch much TV, I have to admit that I enjoy watching shows such as The Biggest Loser and My Diet is Better than Yours. Being in the health profession, we deal with very similar situations on an everyday basis, and it’s fun to watch. Though the shows try to send a good message, a lot of times I am sitting there gritting my teeth! Sure the shows can definitely help motivate you to work out and they have a pretty good message! However, it places people watching the show in a very unrealistic mindset.
First of all, the show is 2 hours long! I would venture to say that the average show is 30 minutes to an hour long! So, if you’re struggling to get exercise in, watching a T.V show for that long is really consuming a lot of time, and taking you out of that “get moving” mentality. As a personal trainer, I often hear the excuse like “I just don’t have time”. It’s not about time, but about priority! If you have time to watch a show that lasts two hours, then you have time to exercise. Your priority has to be exercise over TV.
But hey we’re human right? Watching that show is relaxing and is something that allows you to get away from everyday life. Why not try working out during commercials? Think about it. If the show is 2 hours long, an hour of that has to be commercials, or at least 45 minutes. If you got off of the couch each time there was a commercial, you can get close to 45 minutes of exercise for that day!! At least it would prevent you from sitting too long, but also keep you in that mindset!
So besides a show that last 2 hours long, the other thing that these shows create are unrealistic expectations. I love seeing results, and transformations, but I would like to know how many people can sustain their results. While at the ranch, the contestants have no jobs, no family, and no temptations. They workout crazy amounts of hours a day and that is their only job. Their food is monitored, and everything is done for them all the way to the grocery shopping. What are they actually learning?
To me, a healthy lifestyle is more about behavior changes. So making a behavior change such as “I am going to exercise before I go to work every day,” or “I’m going to pack my lunch everyday” are the things that will sustain success. If you haven’t learned how to exercise while having a full time job, or you haven’t learned how to manage your time to pack a lunch before work I would guess you will fall back into your habits very quickly. Yes doing things like this you probably won’t lose 20lbs in a week! But over time, you’ll be able to keep your weight off! Remember, the tortious always beats the hare! This is a marathon not a sprint!
So, before the next time you watch these shows, keep a couple things in mind. Try not to sit the entire two hours of the show. Get up to do some planks, wall sits or plan a cardio workout with commercials. Second, be real with yourself and remind yourself this isn’t a sprint, but a marathon.