The Biggest Loser Might Make You Fat

Staff Writer
New research shows that the popular show could make you hate exercise

If you’re struggling to get motivated to exercise, heed this advice: Do NOT turn on the TV.

Okay, we know what you’re thinking: No bull, the TV is not going to help you get your butt to the gym. But there’s more. According to a new study, watching weight loss TV shows (a la "The Biggest Loser") might actually make you feel worse about exercise in general, no matter what shape you’re in.

Researchers from the University of Alberta surveyed more than 100 people, asking each to watch either a clip of "The Biggest Loser" or "American Idol" before measuring their attitude toward exercise. Consistently, participants felt more negative about the thought of a sweat session after watching boot-camp TV than they did after the karaoke-fest. And that finding remained constant whether participants tended to be active and healthy or sedentary—which, as the study points out, runs contrary to the mantra that these shows often push: That watching weight-loss TV can result in real-life weight-loss.

The scientists point out that part of the cause for this effect could be that "The Biggest Loser" makes exercise look—quite frankly—horrible, with contestants screaming, crying and throwing up seemingly before every commercial. Why would you want to subject yourself to something like that?

But really, if you’re serious about weight loss, turning on some terrible channel probably isn't going to make as big of a difference as (you guessed it!) turning them all off.