A&E has a new show called Heavy that I’ve caught a few episodes of. It’s kind of a close-to-home show for me, as a fat guy, mostly because I don’t like seeing my own poor habits reflected back at me, but it’s also powerful for that same reason.
The format is a profile of two people per hour-long episode as they work for six months to change their habits and drop the weight. They have personal trainers and dietitians to help them along the way, and they get to attend what looks to be a high-dollar weight loss spa/resort for the first month.
“Heavy” in more ways than one
One thing I like about the show is that they don’t make it into a shiny experience. They’re pretty candid about the fact that these people, some of whom weigh well over half a ton, are in danger of death. Diabetes, strokes, and heart failure are all very real possibilities for them.
As I say, it’s tough to watch for me, but also a good reminder of how easy it is to become lax mentally, which is an important part that I think the show does not explore that well.
The chick in the first episode gets a little testy at her personal trainer, Britny. I can understand wanting to be testy with Britny for a few reasons, not least of which being the spelling of her name, but let’s assume that her name was her parent’s doing and not under her control.
In episode 3 of Heavy, the full horror of Britny’s true colors are revealed:
The show fails to address Britny’s unfortunate triathletism. You might be saying to yourself, “But Jim, couldn’t she merely be a time trialist? How do you know she’s a triathlete?” and my answer to that is simple: She’s brought a TT/tri bike to a group ride. QED.
That aside, the chick that Britny is training in episode one has this to say about working with her:
No matter how awesome a personal trainer is, no fat person wants to work with a personal trainer that’s never been fat. [sic]
This is an interesting point, and one that I can identify with. It is easy, as a fat person, to want to dismiss a personal trainer on the basis that they don’t know what it’s like to have the mental fortitude of a half-melted marshmallow, but on the other hand, there really aren’t that many personal trainers who used to be enormous. Fat people tend to stay fat and then die.
I trust my financial guy Jordan completely, for instance, and to my knowledge he has never been a penniless hobo.
Lastly, I want to point out that, in my opinion, the most important thing you are training when you start a life change of any kind is your mind. Being more fit is awesome and losing weight is an undeniable benefit, but learning how to think — about yourself, about food, about fitness, about life in general — is the most important thing of all.
You just don’t know how far you can go until you start going. You think you know, but you don’t!