VH1 has yet another new offering in the reality weight loss genre. Like its contemporaries, Bridal Bootcamp is a nonstop barrage of sweat, yelling, crying and the ever present, drawn out, and emotional “weigh in” segment. This is where the contestants step on a scale and are judged on their progress by the number that is revealed. The women are competing to win a “dream wedding” by losing the most weight.
There is so much wrong with this. First and foremost, these shows make it all about pounds lost. That’s not what weight loss is about. Your goal is to lose body fat. But losing body fat doesn’t necessarily lead to a lower number on the scale.
The “boot camp” is just what you’d expect: an extremely physical program that would be a challenge for even the most athletic person.
One of the biggest barriers to successful weight loss is understanding the difference between making progress and the number on the scale, especially if engaging in strenuous exercise.
When you introduce a difficult new work-out into your routine, you put a lot of stress on your body and it can take some time for you to adjust and start losing pounds. This doesn’t mean you aren’t losing fat though. Unfamiliar exercise can cause your muscles to retain more water than usual which is used to repair the muscle tissue. That doesn’t mean you aren’t losing fat, but the net result of the temporary gain in water weight is canceling out the weight of the fat loss, causing you to see no change on the scale or even a gain.
This isn’t anything to worry about. If you push through it, the water retention will pass and you will see a dramatic loss. But many people, not knowing this, become frustrated and quite.
Bridal Bootcamp judges its contestants solely on pounds lost. In episode 2, one woman gained 2 pounds and was sent home. As she wailed “Why, why, I just don’t understand!” and cried her little heart out, I felt terrible not just for her but for all of the viewers getting the message that the only way to tell if you are progressing is the number on the scale.
The concept of this show is absurd. None of the women are obese and only a few are remotely chubby. I hate the idea of extreme dieting to fit into a dress. It’s that “other” kind of weight loss. The one that leads to yo-yo weight. Dieting for an event is so futile. Gaining it back is inevitable and it has been shown that yo-yo dieting is worse for you than simply being fat. But I have come to realize that a large portion of people who want to lose weight are doing it for nothing but vanity and the perceived notion that thinness will bring them success, love, and happiness. These people are rarely successful in the long term.
People who lose weight for overall well-being and health in addition to the desire to improve their appearance, seem to have a much better success rate. Perhaps it is the same thing I often come back to: losing weight out of love and caring for yourself rather than out of hatred for fatness is the key to being able to really change your life.
Doing it to fit into a dress for one day is temporary, and pretty pointless in the grand scheme of things.