I don’t usually watch many “reality” TV shows. They seem to scripted to me on the whole. But the new show on ABC caught my eye with its advertising. Fat March is taking 12 seriously obese persons and asking them to walk 500 miles to lose weight. That’s Boston, MA to Washington, DC. If all 12 succeed, they will each win $100,000. If someone drops out, each person looses $10,000 of that total. It’s a way to encourage teamwork. They have a pair of personal trainers working with them and walking with them every step of the way. I’m sure the producers of this show had everyone screened for health issues before they were allowed to embark on such an endeavor.
Sadly, I can relate to these folks. As I’ve mentioned before, my sedentary lifestyle due to fibromyalgia contributes greatly to my own obesity problem. I don’t know where I stand compared to these folks because they are giving weight only and not height. The women tend to be smaller than the men in both height and girth. But it really doesn’t matter how tall you are when your weight goes over 500 lbs, which one person’s weight did. What many doctors now refer to is Body Mass Index or BMI, a ratio your height and weight. Mine is 43. Too high, but not as severe as some of the participants in this program. Some of them are probably in the 80+ range. Healthy is around 25 or so.
Two people left the show on the first episode. One you could have predicted – she had a negative attitude the whole time. Not about the concept but about the work and the inconveniences. Whine, whine, whine – I wanted to get out a violin to accompany her! I think she would have preferred the celebrity version, where you get pampered and someone else walks for you. She was definitely not a team player. The group was relieved when she just quit and walked away.
The second participant was lost when the group voted. It wasn’t exactly like Survivor, because these folks knew that sending someone off would cost them each ten grand. It was more of a weakest link kind of thing – who needs to go for the good of the group and the good of the person. The only man who got named was a man that everyone loved. He was the heaviest of the group and the day before the vote he had had significant physical problems. As they were walking, he lost feeling in his feet and could not stand. When his feet were checked, he had severe blisters as well. He was taken to the local emergency room, where in addition to the blisters, it was determined that he might well have stress fractures in his feet as well. He was in serious pain but determined not to give up. I recognize that situation, having been there. He would have forced himself on in spite of any additional damage he might do to his health. I believe that this group voted him off as an act of love. They gave up financial consideration in exchange for his health. I do hope he continues to pursue the weight loss in some way. I suspect he would be a perfect candidate for some type of bariatric surgery.
I did learn one very interesting and annoying fact. It is truly harder for women to lose weight than men. After walking from Boston to east central Connecticut, they had a weigh-in. The men’s average loss was around 20 lbs. The women’s average loss – about 5-8 lbs! Same distance covered, same food, same challenges. Bummer. You could see the women were disappointed. To their credit, the men did not gloat.
I really liked the participants of this show as they were revealed to us. They were not afraid to say, “I know I’m fat.” Or as one girl put it after hearing that they would be walking 13 miles on one day, “Hello?! Did they forget we’re fat?” Each person’s reasons for the weight gain and desire for weight loss was different. None of them were mine and yet all of them were me.
I think this show and it’s participants will provide motivation and encouragement for many of us who watch. I know I will be watching to see who makes it as well as listening for tips from the trainers that perhaps I can use.
I’ll let you know if it helps my BMI drop!