Like many of you, I have been anticipating a new show on A&E called “Heavy” which chronicles 22 people struggling with obesity and the various health problems resulting from their weight. The premise is that each week, we’ll follow the journey of 2 individuals who spend 1 month in a supervised weight loss facility and another 5 months continuing their weight loss at home amidst their every day lives. If they struggle and/or start to gain weight again, they go back to the facility for additional help.
I was cautiously optimistic when I hit the play button on my PVR.
I was very sad watching “Heavy”. I believe in accountability and that we are all responsible for our actions and decisions. But I also know that once you get caught in a vicious cycle of unhealthy behaviour, be it overeating, starvation, excess abuse of alcohol, or drug, it can become impossible for an individual to overcome it without support and help.
What really stuck with me long after I finished watching the first episode was this comment from Jodi that said “No fat person wants to be trained by a trainer who has never been fat”. My heart really felt for her and for many others in that moment and for a long time after.
Having never been heavy (outside of my 50 pound pregnancy weight gain), I don’t understand what it’s like to be heavy. I can’t because I haven’t walked in those shoes. But does that mean that my help, support and encouragement are viewed negatively or unwelcome? I really hope not. In watching her and the other 3 people profiled (I’ve still got one more episode to watch on my PVR) and their interactions with the trainers, I see people who want to support and cheer them on. I see encouragement and respect being shown. I was very happy to see what looked like a changed attitude toward the trainers by the end of Jodi’s 6 months.
I would have loved to sit down with Jodi and talk about that statement and uncover the roots for which that thought was planted. Is it because people like myself don’t know what it’s like to walk in those shoes? Or is there a pre-conceived opinion that some things come easily to some while others spend a lifetime struggling. Or maybe it’s something all together different.
I have to say that in watching the first two episodes, I could see these trainers had a heart for helping and encouraging. This isn’t always the case. I’ve seen other weight loss reality shows where the trainers have a clear distain and lack of heart for those they are training and that angers me. As a post-partum depression survivor, I had many professionals and even some friends look down on me and tell me repeatedly that I was the problem and not a good mother because I was struggling. I also had a few people who loved on me and supported me until I found my way out of that fog. These were people that didn’t know PPD or what it can do to a mother’s mental condition.
I guess it goes both ways.
What do you think? Do you need to have walked the path? Are you more likely to open up, listen to and be supported by someone who knows what you’re going through or are you encouraged by anyone who shows unconditional support and encouragement? And finally, what do you think of “Heavy” now that we’re a few episodes in?