Thursday, February 6, 2014

Don't Judge Her Until You Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

I am a member of the Biggest Loser Fan Club on Facebook. Yesterday's group feed was in an uproar over the winner of Season 15, Rachel Frederickson. And by uproar, I mean some of the nastiest, hurtful, judgmental comments I have ever seen.

"she looked like a skeleton"
"she looks sick"
"she has an eating disorder"
"I am starting a petition to have her prize money taken away from her because she has an eating disorder" (I cannot make that one up)

And perhaps the rudest of them all: "please give her a cheeseburger"

Before and After

From a size 20 to a size 0/2 and we are going to still criticize?

First, here is a fact: she was a competitive swimmer. Athletes tend to have a lower body fat percentage. The contestant is 5'4" and weighed in at 105 pounds. Which puts her BMI at 18, which is considered to be underweight according to the Centers for Diseae Control. But BMI is not a true science. To measure true body fat percentage, it is more than a chart. For example, my BMI is 23 but when I actually had my body fat percentage measured, I was 18% body fat. Again...that BMI chart is not science.

Second, clearly some of the group members were doctors. Apparently you can diagnose Anorexia Nervosa just on sight alone (insert tongue and cheek). Yes, there are physical signs of weight loss including changes in your hair and skin. Putting that aside, one sign of this disorder is rapid, drastic weight loss with no medical cause. Well, THIS WAS A COMPETITION WITH $250,000 IN PRIZE MONEY! There was no unexplained reason for her weight loss...SHE WANTED TO WIN A PRIZE!!! Having known a family member who suffered with this disease and also discovering that I too recognized some dangerous warning signs in my own past, please DO NOT assume she has an eating disorder unless you have a medical degree and she is your patient.

For more on this eating disorder, see the following link: Help Guide on Anorexia Nervosa

Third, it was a game show to see who could lose the most weight. For MONEY! Oh, I did mention that above. The show wasn't called "The Biggest Loser Who Can Stay Within a Healthy BMI". The show is called "The Biggest Loser". It awards the prize MONEY to the contestant who can lose the highest percentage of weight. She is competitive and did what was needed to win. For MONEY!

Four, no one asked Rachel at the beginning of all this to be a role model on healthy weight loss. They asked her to compete on a game show to achieve the highest percentage of weight loss. For MONEY! For those who think she is not a good role model of weight loss because according to your judgments, she went to extreme levels, then we can educate our family and friends on what we think is.

And while we are on number 4, let's also tell our family and friends that most of us will not have the benefit of living at a ranch for four months, working out 7-8 hours per day with our own personal trainer. That is not the real world.

I guess what bothered me the most is those who trashed her with those nasty comments. I still remember hearing the cow "moos" when I walked by. Perhaps Rachel had heard some of those. Are we now going to call her sickly and skeleton-like and continue to criticize her just as she may have been criticized in the past when she was on the opposite end of the spectrum? Can we stop judging people, insulting people and criticizing people? Can we stop throwing out insults at people because of the shell that they wear? Can we stop judging others on the clothes they wear, the color of their hair, the color of their skin? It makes me so tired.

Can we?

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