Listening to Amanda talk was pretty interesting. During her time on the Biggest Loser she lost about 87 pounds in just a few months. But, she revealed that to lose that much weight in such a short period of time she worked out eight hours a day and only consumed an average of 1,000 calories. It was also interesting to hear her discuss how the competition got to her head. For example, she shared that she became quite paranoid that the other contestants were trying to sabotage her weight loss by putting salt in her food.
While Amanda was very sweet (a persona that no doubt helped her get cast on the show in the first place), there were a lot of things about her talk that I found problematic. For example, Amanda shared, as though it was the most normal thing in the world, that she currently thinks about her weight "every minute of every day" and even dreams about it. She bills herself as an inspirational speaker, but is that really what we want to inspire women to be like?
Another theme in her talk that was actually really sad for me to hear about was the idea that self-worth is largely based on weight. She perpetuated the dumb (and completely false) idea that being overweight is synonymous with having poor self-worth, but being thin is part of having high self-worth. For example, she talked about deciding she loved herself enough to lose weight so that she could wear skinny jeans and men would find her "sexy." REALLY??? I'm honestly not knocking the fact that she wanted to lose weight to look better (I can relate to that), but to say these things with absolutely NO critical analysis of our culture that equates thin with beauty is doing a disservice to every single college woman who goes to hear her speak. Even just a few sentences on the idea that it is possible to feel good about yourself no matter what your weight would have gone a long way.
|i think these women look mighty fine. via the healthy apron.|
Another unfortunate trap she seems to have fallen into is the "I'll be happy when" mantra. First, it was I'll be happy when I've lost weight. But, now that she has lost the weight she still isn't happy with the way she looks. Instead, she hopes she will finally be happy after losing twenty more pounds and getting her excess skin removed. But will she actually be happy then or will she find something else that needs to change before she can feel good about the way she looks?
She spoke for a good 45 minutes, but here is a two sentence run down of her talk - being fat stops you from doing the things you want, like wearing skinny jeans, going to prom, having fun, being pretty, having a boyfriend, feeling sexy, being happy, loving yourself, etc. So, you should love yourself enough to lose weight so that you can have those things.
If I could waive a magic wand and change her speech up, this is what it would sound like --
We live in a society that shames fat women and makes them feel like they can't wear skinny jeans, go to prom, have fun, be pretty, have a partner, feel sexy, be happy, or love themselves. But, all of these things are possible at any weight. I'm happy that I've started eating healthier and being more physically active because I'm less concerned about my health and it makes my every day life is easier. But, now that I've lost 87 pounds and I'm still preoccupied with my weight and still too self conscious to wear what I want to wear, I see that true self-worth doesn't come from a number on a scale or the size of your jeans.
ANYWAYS, my rant is over. Are you a fan of the biggest loser? What do you think about the show? Do you think Amanda is a good role model? What do you think self-worth should be based on?