Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Biggest Loser is Actually The Biggest Winner!

I’ve been working through some random thoughts and so I thought I’d risk sharing them with you before they’re fully incubated. If you don’t get it, it’s okay. I promise I’ll be better tomorrow. Biggest Loser is one of my favorite reality TV shows. To be honest with you, as far as reality TV goes, I only like Extreme Makeover Home Edition better than Biggest Loser. I think the reason I like Biggest Loser is because I can really identify with the contestants. I imagine that being a “gym rat” is the only reason I’m not a contestant on that show. Anyway, I was thinking about yesterdays show and how it was a case study in leadership. In case you missed it, go watch it here. It’s natural to begin to root for some contestants and hope for the downfall of others. Yes I said it! Tell me you weren’t rooting for “Crazy Tracy” to be kicked off last season’s show.

So the Red Team is this year’s team from hell. Figuratively speaking of course! Two weeks in a row “wife” threw the weigh-in and didn’t lose any weight one week and lost only one pound the following week. Conveniently they had won immunity on both weeks. She was game playing big time. Bob and Jillian, the trainers, were so frustrated with her game playing and her weak attempts to deny it, that they called her a liar on national TV. If the truth be told, everyone in America already knew she was lying before Bob and Jillian called her on it, but she and her dutiful husband were irate about being showed up in front of America.

The fact is their egos were more hurt than anything else, but the husband pulled out his secret weapon and unloaded it on Bob and Jillian. His weapon?: “I lost all respect for you for calling my wife a liar on national TV!” Wow! You know that’s what Bob and Jillian feared the most. Losing the respect of an obese man trying to finally make the right decision and change his life for the better. I mean, thousands of lives have been turned around by these trainers and people are clamoring to get on the show for an opportunity to work with them. Respect isn’t something they’re lacking or seeking. At least Jill certainly isn’t. Nevertheless, because Jill wouldn’t rescind her allegation of lying, “husband” determined not to work out with her any longer.

To be fair to the Red Team, they weren’t complete ogres, as they demonstrated remarkably good judgment and thinking, in the way they went about the unwanted task of handing out penalties to three teams after they’d won immunity for the third time in a row. So what’s this got to do with leadership you’re asking? Well I had to set the tenor of the story first (I’ve been reading too much Don Miller). Bob was the first one of the trainers to talk to the Red Team to try and understand why wife had lied about throwing the weigh-in when it was patently obvious that she had. She raised her voice, got teary eyed, and challenged Bob for questioning her integrity and calling her a liar. Bob backed off and explained to the camera audience that the only reason he backed off was because there was a 1% possibility that she hadn’t actually thrown the weigh-in. Huh?

Bob is an experienced trainer who understands nutrition, body metabolism, working-out, and all the other attendant factors that have to do with exercising and weight loss. But Bob obviously hates conflict more than he loves honesty, and clearly wants everyone to like him so he ignored his wealth of experience, his certain knowledge, and accepted the word of a woman whose very presence on the show indicates her inability to make wise decisions where nutrition and health are concerned. A woman who was manipulating him in much the same way she clearly manipulates her husband on the show. As I watched him squirm I realized that Bob is a weak leader who is unwilling to make the difficult choices and stand by them. Jillian on the other hand wouldn’t back down. Confronted by both the husband and the wife, she reaffirmed her conviction that the lady was lying about the weigh in. While Bob claimed a 99% certainty, Jillian claimed 100%. I mean, seriously, what does a 1% chance mean Bob?

How realistic is it to expect that an obese person with a normal metabolism works out for four plus hours a day, eats healthy meals, sleeps well at night, and yet doesn’t lose weight? Jillian’s training posed a mental block to believing such a fallacy and she said as much. Bob the Pacifist however, wanted everybody to just get along so he discounted his training in favor of a 1% doubt. But Jillian’s track record speaks for itself. The early years of the show pitted Jillian’s teams against Bob’s and she always came out tops. Her team always won the overall show and it’s clearly because she’s a straightforward, won’t-back-down trainer.

I’m convinced that most visionary leaders would opt for Jillian as their trainer instead of Bob, and it wouldn’t be just because of her looks. Jillian cuts to the chase and shoots straight. When you’re obese and your life is on the line, that’s the kind of trainer you need as opposed to a kumbaya, hand-holding, let’s-all-just-get-along type of leader. Later on, as the Red Team chilled out in their room, the wife suggested to her husband that they “forgive and forget” (my interpretation) since they were there for a much grander reason than feuding with Jillian. He grudgingly acquiesced, as if he was doing Jillian a favor. It’s obvious who wears the pants on the Red Team, but decency won’t permit me to say who. I’ll just settle for telling you that I’ve watched the husband since the start of the show and it isn’t him.

Someone should inform the Red Team that at the end of the day, the biggest winner is actually the biggest loser, so maybe they should stop game playing and start losing some pounds. There, I’ve said it, now I feel much better.


Ash said...

i'm glad you said it and now you feel better.

true leaders aren't afraid to stick to their guns in a crisis, and in this case a crisis of weight.

i, personally, do not watch this show. my reality preference is "celebrity rehab w/ dr. drew" shows. he has a lot of leadership and a lot of perspective and sympathy when helping addicts work their way out of addiction- which for this group of people is the constant reminder that they can't do it alone and relapse is possible if they don't stick w/ the program or people to help them.