Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Transformation Gone Too Far

No, no, no, no, no, no. No. NO!

That’s all I could think when I watched the new champ of “Biggest Loser” on “The Today Show” this morning. 

Somebody save her. She’s dying.

Instead, the show’s hosts kept saying how great she looked and how incredible her transformation was.

No. No. No. No.

I didn’t watch the episode. I like “Biggest Loser,” but I have trouble with eating disorder thoughts when I watch it. I immediately want to diet and lose weight again, which I’m not ready for. But I saw posts about the winner’s drastic weight loss on Facebook last night and then saw the pictures online this morning.

Rachel is in danger.

Rachel is a former athlete who put on a lot of weight and went on the show to get help. She says that while she was competing she found her inner athlete again and regained her spirit. I totally get that. It’s partially what happened to me too. I worked in an athletic environment and wanted to prove myself among my peers and superiors, so I shed weight in the name of athleticism and let that be how I explained my disorder.

“I run better. I’m just trying to win races. I want to be faster…”

This girl was aiming for the Biggest Loser triathlon, but she went too far. Just like all of us who know Ed usually do.

Before I dive in here, I want to say that I’m in no way speaking negatively about Rachel or criticizing her. How could I? I know far too well what’s involved in this kind of behavior to look down on anyone for embracing it. It feels way too good. The praise is amazing. The shopping is fabulous. The pride is through the roof. Granted, the life itself sucks, but it feels worth it.

But we have to do something here. Right now. Someone has to say something about this so that people don’t think this is what we should all aspire to. This is not healthy.  Women, shedding all of your body fat is NOT healthy. We are not supposed to be able to see every bone in your body jutting out under your skin. The ultimate goal for ourselves is to be healthy, not scary thin.

I get it. I get the desire. I get the feelings. I get the power and control that comes with losing weight. But your ultimate purpose here is NOT to bow down to the world’s idol of body image. You are so much more than that.

When we sacrifice everything for a perfect body, we lose so much. And I’m not talking about weight. Being healthy is great, and being active is important, but when those become our life and weight becomes our purpose we miss the “so much more” that’s available to us. We miss the people, things, moments around us because we’re too focused on the scale, calories, schedule, etc.

Our bodies are amazing things. They really are. But they aren’t worth our worship. The body isn’t meant to be our god. It’s a breakable, fragile, changing thing that WILL NOT maintain our idea of perfection for our entire life. Not going to happen. We are meant to worship one God—the One who won’t change, break, leave, get old or get tired, and who (unlike the treadmill) will actually love us, save us and provide for us. THAT is what we are to worship. Not an image in a mirror.

But oh, how difficult that can be when EVERYTHING in the world is screaming at us to worship our bodies. Commercials, TV shows, magazines, photos. I know. I fall prey to them all the time. Every time I see actresses on a red carpet I feel like I need to restrict calories and run 10 miles a day. Even when I watch “Good Morning America” while I’m running at the gym, I pay less attention to what the women are talking about and more attention to their appearances, wondering how often they work out and how much they eat. True story.

But eventually I get off the treadmill and tear myself away from the media, and if I’m smart I realize that there is actual life to be lived beyond the one in which I constantly pursue physical perfection. There is a life Christ died to give me, and one in which He offers me so much more peace and joy than I’ll ever find in a diet.

I want to hug Rachel. I want to help her. I want her to know that she doesn’t have to keep living under the awful pressure to be perfect. (If, in fact, that’s what she’s doing.) She’s worth so much to God whether she weighs 260 lbs. or 105. We all are.

For the sake of our nation, I hope someone has the courage to say that this “Biggest Loser” transformation was too much. I hope someone credible in the public eye says that. But at the same time, I don’t want Rachel to get hurt, which is what criticism would do to her, of course. But that also could be a good thing for her to hear. Sometimes the truth has to hurt for us to really get it.

Either way, my biggest prayer is for the young (and old) women out there to be protected from pursuing an unhealthy body based on what we’ve now glorified. Ladies, it’s not worth it. You’re beautiful just as you are. Be healthy and active, but don’t worship a false god. Your body won’t give you everything you’re looking for. Nothing will except for Christ. Turn to Him and find peace and fulfillment today.



  1. Thank you for such an insightful post. I haven't watched Biggest Loser for a few seasons now, but still saw the most recent winner on several magazine covers. You summed up that poor girl and society's expectations vs. God's wants and desires for us so well.

    As a new blogger and older (pun intended…middle-aged!) runner, I'm so happy to have found your blog and have signed up for post emails. I look forward to checking my mail box!

    Linda at

  2. Hi Jill! My name is Cam and I was wondering if I could ask you a quick question about your blog. I can be reached at cvonstjames AT gmail DOT com - Thanks! I hope to hear from you soon. :)