Anyway, the big controversy over the finale on Tuesday was about Rachel's weight. She weighed 105 pounds when she got on the scale at the finale, and all over the internet, people are saying that she looked "sickly", "too thin", "gaunt", "100 years old", "anorexic", and a whole bunch of other things. I'm not going to comment on what I thought of her appearance, because it's not for me to judge others' appearances. (By BMI standards, she is technically "underweight" now).
I just feel very, very bad for her. She was ashamed of her body when she was obese, and now, I imagine she's excited that she lost the weight; but she's getting bashed for losing too much weight. I feel awful that people are talking about her appearance as if she doesn't have feelings, or that her feelings don't matter. I know how hurtful it is when complete strangers say cruel things about you, especially online. For someone with low self-esteem, it can do some serious damage, even if the comments are well-intentioned. I imagine that in reading those comments, she probably feels like she'll never be "good enough"--she wasn't good enough when she was fat, and now she's not good enough when she's thin. That would be very hard to deal with!
All of that said, I think that The Biggest Loser definitely should make a couple of rule changes to the show. I think that a contestant should be disqualified if they become "underweight" (this has never been an issue until this season). Even better would be some sort of way to win without having to lose "the most" of anything. I don't know how it would work, but here's a thought: what if the person who is closest to goal weight wins? They could pick a healthy goal weight to aim for at the beginning of the show (something that they could reach without taking drastic measures), and whichever contestant comes closest to their particular goal weight at the end, wins.
Of course, that wouldn't be as dramatic, but I think it would solve a lot of the problems that the show has in regards to unhealthy weight loss. When I was running Ragnar Relay with Ada (from season 10), I learned a lot about the "behind the scenes" of the show. I don't know how much Ada was allowed to say, so I don't want to write about it and possibly get her in trouble; but I will say that I definitely don't believe everything I see on TV ;) Ada did say that she was fairly represented, however, as far as her story and her personality. And the overall experience for her was a good one.
It makes me think of the issue that I've noticed with getting too focused on the numbers: once you see a certain number on the scale, anything higher seems like "failure"; once you see a certain race time, any time slower than that feels like "failure". That's why I stopped focusing on the numbers so much, and I'm a lot happier for it. I accepted that my weight isn't the lowest it's ever been, but it's still healthy. I've accepted that running at a slower pace makes me enjoy my runs more, so it's okay not to go for PR's. I definitely feel like I'm "good enough" now, and I don't have to always keep trying to be "better". But I can certainly understand how some of the contestants feel so much pressure to keep upping the ante.
In my perfect television world, The Biggest Loser wouldn't be a contest at all--but rather, a documentation of a group of people who get together at the ranch to learn a healthy lifestyle, and reach a healthy weight. Dramatic? Not really. But certainly inspiring! And then, just like the show now, they'd go home for a few months to continue on their own, and we could see them at the "big reveal". I guess it would be a lot like Extreme Weight Loss, only with a group of people at a ranch, instead of one person at home.
I don't know if I'll watch the next season of The Biggest Loser or not. I'd like to see if the producers make any changes after the issue with Rachel (the show is getting some heat about it). I just think that there has to be a better way of doing it!