Proud2Bme | Tell Michelle Obama Not to Appear on "The Biggest Loser"

Tell Michelle Obama Not to Appear on "The Biggest Loser"

Michelle Obama is on a mission to promote healthy eating and exercise. But her upcoming appearance on The Biggest Loser is the wrong way to do that. Join the protest!

The Biggest Loser bills itself as an "inspiring" and "motivational" show, but what it really does is encourage extreme weight loss behaviors and add to a culture of shame and bullying. Research has shown again and again that stigmatizing people of larger sizes (ahem, yelling at them and calling them names until they cry) doesn't help anyone adopt healthy behaviors. Quite the opposite, actually. When people feel shame and embarrassment, they are more likely to engage in disordered eating and more likely to gain weight in the long-term.

Former Biggest Loser contestant Kai Hibbard has spoken publicly about how her participation in the show triggered her eating disorder and how fat hate was par for the course throughout the production:

"You get poked and prodded by complete strangers and nobody will tell you a single thing about what’s going on," she told body acceptance advocate Golda Poretsky. "And that point was where I really believe that the dehumanization process started, where they start teaching you that because you are overweight you are sub-human and you just start to believe it."

And the show isn't just dangerous for the contestants. Viewers are absorbing these messages, which reinforce the idea that extreme diet and exercise is somehow "healthy." Shirley Wang, a college freshman and Proud2Bme contributor wrote that the show taps into her insecurities and mimicks the voice of the eating disorder she has been working hard to overcome:

“[I]t is yelling, hurling 'fat' insults, and demanding that participants exercise to the point of vomiting. Does that sound familiar to you? Because it sure sounds familiar to me. It sounds like ED, that sneaky little voice inside my head, the voice that tells me I weigh too much, eat too much, and will be happier when I lose weight--all of which are false, of course."

If the First Lady is serious about helping people understand how to make healthy choices in their lives, she would not be aligning herself with a show that stokes disordered thoughts and behaviors and validates the shaming of others. A group of obesity and eating disorder experts and organizations (including the National Eating Disorders Association) has recently signed a letter asking Obama to reconsider her participation in this dangerous show. Join us! Here's how:

1. Sign this petition, created by BingeBehavior.com.

2. Tweet Michelle Obama. Here's a sample message: @FLOTUS please do not promote #stigma & dangerous weight loss methods by appearing on @biggestlosernbc.

3. Watch this video of testimonials from people who oppose the First Lady's appearance on the show.

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

This site was developed in partnership with Riverduinen and made possible by generous contributions from JPMorgan Chase, Globant, the University of Delaware, and The Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation.

Proud2Bme was first launched in the Netherlands by Riverduinen, a mental health organization that has licensed the concept to the National Eating Disorders Association. Unless otherwise noted, all original content on this site is copyright The National Eating Disorders Association. The Proud2Bme brand, logos, and trademarks are property of Rivierduinen.