One night I watched about half of “Extreme Makeover: Personal Edition.” Or something like that.
It was about body renovations instead of housing, which is an interesting way to extend the brand. I can’t help wondering if as they pitched the idea a guy didn’t say, “Heh, heh — fat people … house … get it?”
There is a sense in which this is quite OK. It’s as OK as I am fat. That’s saying a thing.
Even more OK was that I watched it while at the gym. It was a Monday evening, and the 24 Hour Fitness was still pretty crowded. And no that’s not a product placement — they aren’t paying me anything yet.
It was the All-Star Break but the networks milked it with the homerun derby. Used to be there were two days in the calendar (before and after the All-Star Game) where no major sport had any event. But that was too long to go without hitting us up for our eyeballs — and I say this as someone who follows baseball. Robinson Cano beat my boys Adrian G. + David Ortiz. But we’ll take the Series this year, so he can have this one.
The guy on the show — not yet a man in any sense of the word that makes sense — was in major straits. He wasn’t at Death’s Door; he was in the foyer and headed for the kitchen.
His first three-month goal was to lose 110 pounds. That’s not much when you have 490 to work with. A quarter-ton. It was weird to see someone who weighed 50% more than me. I didn’t know how to work with it, so I just watched. There seemed to be a minimum of the schmaltz, probably because they had so much work to do. They couldn’t even waste much time on milking our eyes (again, the same as MLB!). Still, they managed. He broke down, once in the first half hour.
Made his goal though. At 490, his BMR was at least 4900, unless the formula breaks as it has to deal with larger numbers. With even a modicum of movement, he’s into mid-5000 territory, which means even 2000 calories in and a bit of exercise = a pound a day. Do it, every day, for 90 days, and you’re already 85% to 110. Water and waste could easily take you the rest of the way.
I’m not downplaying this: he did something, pardon the expression, huge. After 90 days I saw him weigh 380 pounds. That must have felt amazing. He was still 50 pounds heavier than I am — but he lost basically the amount I want to lose. It can be done.
I’ve noticed before that these shows do something intense — and give fat people another excuse, namely, “Well, yeah, if you move away for three months, quit your job, go on TV, have all your expenses covered … ” blah blah blah.
We fat people didn’t get this way accidentally, and I mean that in many ways — including alluding to our ability to make excuses, form narratives, that both justify and extend our fatness.
The Fat Guy is about as overweight (Met Life be damned) as the guy on the screen.
I was on the elliptical at the time.
I kept walking.