The Biggest Loser: Season 9 begins

Perhaps the best line from last night’s premier of The Biggest Loser Season 9 came from O’Neal a 51-year-old postal employee from Minneapolis who joined the show with his daughter, Sunshine.

I just want to put on my own damn shoe, O’Neal said. Because at around 390 pounds, he needs the help of his wife to put on his shoes every morning.

Thus is the plight of this season’s contestants on The Biggest Loser on NBC. Repeatedly through the show viewers were reminded that this is the largest cast ever assembled . These men and women are … huge. Losing weight is a matter of life and death.

And a matter of happiness.

As the contestants got to know each other, many of the contestants in their 30s and 20s talked about their relationships — or lack there of. They broke down — women and men — about how they have never been in love, or pushed potential relationships away because really, could any seriously love them?

This is where the show, for me, is at its best. Because on its simplistic face value, it’s a show about fat people losing weight in a game show setting. But get involved in the story lines, and you see that weight loss is a much deeper issue. It’s not just about vanity. Not even just about health.

It’s about stepping into the person whom you were meant to become.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of ways in which we ca hide from ourselves every day. Our weight is one of them. If you watch The Biggest Loser for its personal story lines (not just the drama and the brutal, screaming trainers, which, I have to admit, is entertaining TV for me) you get a chance to see a little of yourself reflected back. You might not be 400 pounds. Heck, you might have never had a weight or body image issue your entire life. But you can see some flashes of struggle that are universal — the desire to be love and accepted and the need to start with discovering who your authentic self really is.

The Biggest Loser is not just about people who are clinically obese. It’s about people who have lost themselves and through a fitness routine and healthy lifestyle habits are slowly getting reacquainted with the person they were born to be.

Product placement: Each episode of The Biggest Loser contains a sponsored product. The placement in the  show is always conspicuous. Last night, it was the Brita water filter pitcher which took center stage as trainer Jillian showed one team how to use it while filling up their water bottles during a workout. This one, actually, wasn’t too annoying.

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