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The Biggest Loser: Families

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of The Biggest Loser. Last year I even went in the middle of the Hebrew intensive to see Shannan and Michelle at a local shopping centre! I’m excited that it’s back on and loving the early days of this ‘Families’ season.

Two observations:

1. As far as I can tell, this Australian season of The Biggest Loser is the first to have an openly gay contestant. (The US Biggest Loser has had a contestant who wasn’t out until after the show; Jillian Michaels, a trainer from the US Biggest Loser is bisexual.) Sarah said casually in the first episode that she likes girls and her profile mentions her girlfriend. With lesbians being twice as likely to be overweight than heterosexual women, a representative from the GLBT community on The Biggest Loser seems like a positive move.

2. The Biggest Loser has upped spirituality this season. There’s been Tiffiny with her talk of having always treated her body ‘like a temple’ plus a bit of the spiritual stuff that comes with her Tae Kwondo instructing. But of real interest to me was the weigh in after the trainers got back from spending a week with their families. Though they both still looked amazing to me, Shannan had put on 5kg and Michelle 5.8. They both looked absolutely shattered. Michelle described Shannan as ‘hurting’ and said that she didn’t respect herself any more. Eating ‘garbage’ and not exercising went against ‘everything I do’ she said. Now I know that being healthy is important and that exercise has been these guys’ whole careers but it seemed to go deeper than that, to the essence of who they are – and it was only 5 kilos! Maybe they were hyping up their horror for the benefit of the contestants but it seemed to me that their image was almost sacred.

Categories: Tanzanian culture Written by Tamie

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Tamie Davis

Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at

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