Monday, March 22, 2010
They used to tell us that too much TV, movies, video games, or (fantasy) books would be unhealthy because it would warp our sense of reality.
How about reality shows? Is too much reality a bad thing too? But then again, are reality shows . . . reality? Aren't "REALITY" and "SHOW" exact opposites? I love the irony.
While I would love to see a reality show about the making of reality shows . . . (think about that for a moment), we will have to settle for the closest thing - people living their lives with CAMERAS in their face supposedly acting and reacting realistically. While I have no problem with people deciding to show their lives on camera, I do consider there to be taboos - and they are personal.
Shows that deal with weight loss or weight gain are a sensitive topic for me because not only is it America's #1 social/medical issue, it was a weight-loss show that helped inspire me to be born again with my health - the Biggest Loser.
Now don't get me wrong - I personally think that this show has serious cons as well as pros. Being in a gym for hours a day with cameras on you while trainers scream at you - all for the promise of life-changing habits and a possible $250,000 - well, that's not the real world is it?
However, the people on the show ARE real. They have real problems, real emotions, and real desires to change. And that to me is enough to watch the show. I certainly understand the battle with weight, health, exercise, and the compulsion to eat whether happy or sad. I deal with it daily - and that really is the bottom line. You really have to take the battle with choices one day at a time. The moment you project into tomorrow, next week, or next year, the battle is lost - you will choose food and not to exercise over what's best for you everytime. However, if you wake up, surrender your will to a higher power, and decide that for that ONE day only, you will live your best life, you will make good choices and find that you won't make decisions based on how you feel.
Because TODAY is the only day you have. We can't imagine "how will I keep this up?" because TOMORROW is not promised. If it feels like too much to bear, it's because you believe you have lots of time left to live. That makes us feel like we're waiting. Waiting for the LONG life we have ahead of us. And the WAIT makes time pass very slowly and entices us to make bad choices.
Truth is, you may very well have a long life ahead of you. However, the best way to ensure you are able to be around to experience it is to take care of yourself TODAY - the only real day you have left. What are we waiting on?
THE WAIT IS OVER. STOP WAITING TO LIVE. YOU ARE HERE NOW. YOU CAN DO IT.
While The Biggest Loser is the mother of all weight loss shows, there are some other shows popping up that are drawing my attention.
RUBY - This show focuses on a woman who started out at almost 700 lbs. and documents her struggles with life, health and weight loss. So far she has lost over 300 lbs. and the show has a loyal following. I have to say that in general, people are inspired by her willingness to display this process, and the good news is that it's taking place steadily over time - not a rush job - 3 months (a Biggest Loser "con.")
Kirstie Alley's BIG LIFE - Ummm . . . I don't think this is good. I mean, this is clearly self-promotion. This is not inspiring or meant to inspire. She is advertising her own brand of weight loss products - all the while playing up the fact that she struggles with her weight. To Kirstie, I say . . . if you don't like paparazzi and tabloids making fun of your weight, why give them fuel for the fire? I know you think you're fighting back by making money off of the attention, but don't forget who you're making money from - US. We don't need an anti-hero. We need empathy and inspiration.
And last but not least - Donna Simpson. I hesitate to write that name because it leads to promotion of her cause. What is her cause you say? Well she already weighs over 600 lbs. and has set up a website where you can watch her eat fast food until she reaches her goal of weighing 1,000 lbs.
I'll wait . . .
Yes, 1,000 lbs. Remember what I said about too much of reality shows? And anyone who believes that this is a good thing because it will disgust other overweight people into giving up bad habits is sorely mistaken. At best this will help us all feel justified in eating that next fattening bite because certainly we would never go this far.
Because reality TV's secret to success is that we watch and enjoy the crazy antics of the characters because we know we can't get away behaving that way - in a way, we feel superior to them. Real Housewives of whatever, Bad Girls Club, Flavor of Love, Rock of Love, For the Love of Ray J, Being Bobby Brown, Charm School, Jersey Shore, Jon and Kate Plus 8 - you watch these shows because you relate?
No, it's funny to us. And hey, I'm guilty. Remember my love for Maury Paternity Shows? If you missed it, here it is.
However, let's be serious. At least the Maury paternity shows are attempting to secure parents for deserving, helpless children. Lots of reality shows have an underlying positive mission - despite the negatives.
However, when it comes to life and death, that's not funny. Would we support and watch a show where someone played Russian Roulette? Probably not, but how is that different than the 1,000 lb. lady? It's not. And that's what inspired me to write today. A simple letter that says:
I struggle with my health as you do. However, the two philosophies "I care about my health" and "I don't care" cannot coexist in the same mind. As we deal with this daily struggle, keep this in mind.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17
I pray for you, you pray for me.
And to Donna Simpson - stop the madness.
FUNKYMAN and funkygirl 2007
FUNKYMAN and funkygirl 2009