As a former fat kid, I can’t handle one more reality television show dedicated to obesity without having an emotional meltdown.

There is just something about a person struggling with obesity, which is a disease and an addiction, that really hits the heart and gets the waterworks flowing.

With a combination of unfortunate genetics and various types of eating disorders, when it comes to obesity, food is an addiction for some people.

While it might be hard to keep up with the Kardashians lately, Rob Kardashian has gotten larger than ever, which might be the perfect example of why food truly is an addiction for some people.

He has the resources, education and money to help himself, yet refuses to seek help.

People struggling with their weight need to treat it like an addiction, which is exactly what some reality television shows try to convey to the rest of us who may not understand.

The misconception that people struggling with obesity are just lazy and don’t care about their self-image is a lie fattened by social stigmas and stereotypes, not one’s weight.

When it gets to the point of having to buy two plane tickets or being too embarrassed to go near a pool or a beach, it becomes so much more than laziness.

With shows such as My 600-lb Life, The Biggest Loser and Extreme Weight Loss, an emotional element is brought back into the picture and you can’t help but sympathize with these people and begin to root for them.

For example, The Biggest Loser recently had a season dedicated to former athletes.

Each contestant had gained a significant amount of weight since his or her glory days due to a traumatic event.

They took to overeating and, paired with a lack of exercise, couldn’t get back on their feet.

So when watching the commercials or previews for these shows, don’t make fun of them.

They are just like every person in this country, struggling with something.

They just so happen to be brave enough to let the whole country tune in to their challenge.

Although these shows aren’t always particularly practical in some cases, at least they have the right approach: finding the source of why they are eating, aside from just loving food, and working to develop healthy habits.

These television shows also bring awareness of this epidemic. Back to the season of athletes on The Biggest Loser, I bet they never thought they would allow themselves to become like that. But it can happen to anyone.

According to, one-third of adults and a quarter of children are obese in America, making us one of the most obese nations only behind Mexico.

Although I haven’t yet come up with a solution to end obesity as an epidemic, I have a suggestion.

Let’s first and foremost stop making fun of and bullying people and children struggling with obesity, especially when they are desperate enough to get help by participating in a television show.

Aside from just having empathy, continue to implement more education. Starting an open forum for talking about self-esteem issues in schools and providing calorie counts on menus are just some small steps that can start to help our nation fight obesity.


Bridgette Norris is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter @blogginbridge email her at

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