Does cruelty burn calories? "The Biggest Loser" trainer Jillian Michaels seems to think so, as she returned to star in the kick-off for season 14 on Jan. 6. We watched contestants slip and fall, as the camera panned to Jillian's ferocious face. And then came the scream: "Lose your victim mentality!" she yelled at a heavily sweating contestant. The only item missing was a soundtrack of "slip, slidin' away" as the contestant slid to the ground. Message sent from Ms. Michaels: Taking time off to enjoy raising her children has not diminished her tough-as-nails personality. Message received.
Although the main part of the show has stayed the same (obese adults compete to shed pounds, trained to the max by Jillian, Dolvett Quince and Bob Harper), the show added a new dimension: Three overweight teens. The young people include: Lindsay Bravo (13), Sanjana “Sunny” Chandrasekar (16) and Noah “Bingo” Gray (13). NBC has emphasized that the teens will focus on losing weight rather than competing, with the goal of showcasing childhood obesity without shaming the kids in the process.
The National Assn. to Advance Fat Acceptance has described the addition of teenagers as an attempt by NBC to "profit off the bullying and stigmatization of fat kids." They contended in a statement that the show itself is dangerous, and described the addition of teens as "appalling," noting, according to an NAAFA advisory board member, their concern "that 'The Biggest Loser' promotes short-term weight loss and does long-term harm to the bodies, minds, and spirits of many of its contestants and viewers --precipitating eating disorders, weight gain, depression, and weight-based bullying. That they are now involving teenagers is appalling."