Warning: If you have not yet watched part 1 of NBC’s The Biggest Loser Season 14 Premiere, there are spoilers regarding that episode in this post.
It’s back.. The Biggest Loser TV show is back and so is Jillian Michaels!
Judging from part 1 of the Biggest Loser season 14 premiere, having been away from the show for two seasons has not slowed down fitness guru and ball buster extraordinaire Jillian Michaels one bit. After the whirlwind that was season 13, the return of Ms. Michaels to the show has lifted the hopes of many viewers who were put off by the drama and negativity that plagued last season. Another aspect of the show that has reinvigorated hope in viewers is the shows mission to tackle the issue of childhood obesity. Last night, viewers were introduced to three children struggling with obesity, 16-year-old Sanjana “Sunny” Chandrasekar and 13-year-olds Lindsay Bravo and Noah “Bingo” Gray. Unlike their adult counterparts, Sunny, Lindsay, and Bingo will not participate in weigh-in’s, cannot be eliminated from the show, nor will they be residing at the ranch (their weight loss journeys will be chronicled at home). Of the children’s participation on the show, Bob Harper said, “With the kids, we wanted to do exactly the opposite of when we work with the adults..We do no breaking down, just lifting up … It’s about getting kids to move around again and getting kids to be kids.”
In Biggest Loser tradition, the first episode highlighted the arduous nature of workouts at the ranch. Nearly every shot at the gym was of contestants vomiting, crying, screaming, and collapsing. The return of Jillian Michaels was felt in a mighty way during this workout. As members of Team Jillian soon discovered, Ms. Michaels was not having any of the crying or the “I can’t do it” pleas. 3 out of the 5 Team Jillian members were summarily expelled from the gym by Jillian. In a twist, one Team Jillian member, 26-year-old make-up artist from California Nicole “Nikki”Davis, opted to leave the ranch.
A cursory review of Nikki’s departure from the show have led some to believe that she was way over her head in signing up to be a contestant on the show, not fully appreciating the arduous physical and emotional demands the show places on contestants. Others have concluded that Jillian Michaels brash and militaristic style of training was part to blame for Nikki’s departure. What is apparent, I think, is that Nikki was not prepared to tackle the deep emotional issues that came to the surface for her at the ranch, a sentiment Jillian echoed in a recent interview where she stated, “The reality of it is that there are people who are not ready for the process, and I tend to find that when they are not ready, it’s far more damaging than positive to push them. So I never really got anywhere with her—never even got to engage in any in-depth conversation.” Jillian further stated,“We know she has a very dark past, and I personally don’t feel qualified to have handled Nikki’s situation. And I don’t feel The Biggest Loser was the place she needed to undergo the things she needs to get better.”
Aside from medications and/or physical injuries that sometimes lead to weight gain, individuals hovering around the weight levels seen on the Biggest Loser are typically not there solely because they lack the discipline to exercise and eat healthy foods. Under girding their struggle with obesity are significant emotional issues that have blocked their path to weight loss. And what is usually the case with unresolved emotional issues, they tend to manifest themselves in a multitude of negative ways throughout our life. I’ll admit that I was initially angered by Nikki’s decision to leave the show. Like many other viewers, I asked:
“Hadn’t this girl ever watched the show before?”
“Did she think that life on the ranch was supposed to be some sort of cake walk”
Then, I remembered something Jillian said midway through the show in response to her approach with the contestants, “I have to confront them the way that I do.. It’s do or die for these people.” For Jillian Michaels, the time to sit around and settle into victim hood for these individuals is over. What’s needed is a radical perception shift and a belief that they have the strength necessary to push past what has been holding them back for years. Nikki wasn’t prepared to do this at the ranch, hopefully she will be prepared to do so at home. But wouldn’t it be fair to say that we all have been, and maybe still are, a version of Nikki, pledging to conquer the forest before coming face to face with the trees.
I’m hoping that the excitement of having Jillian Michaels back on the show, coupled with the addition of the children on the show, will open the door to a whole host of new powerful, positive, and inspiring examples for adults, children, and families to grab onto to as they start their own journeys towards healthy living.
Did you watch part 1 of the Biggest Loser Season 14 Premiere? What do you think of the direction of the new season thus far?
**Part 2 of the Biggest Loser Season 14 Premiere will air on Monday, January 7, 2013 at 8PM EST on NBC.