Writer. Warning: opinions. My lawyer advised a disclaimer, but didn't include any jokes to go with. Damned if I can think of any either.

A&E’s show Heavy: A Fat Guy’s Review

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.

Tri Colors

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.

Fat Mentality

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.

Thought Squats

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!

9 thoughts on “A&E’s show Heavy: A Fat Guy’s Review”

  1. llml

    J..This is so good!!

  2. abby

    I’ll check out the show — sounds less “Biggest Loser” and more “Made” (but for grownups). Great insight on learning how to think! It’s pretty interesting to realize what you can change about yourself, from little things like food preferences and daily routines to bigger ones like weight loss.

    All that healthy stuff aside, your presence is hereby requested at brunks this weekend.

  3. amanda

    I could totally go snarky on this, but decided to take the higher more adult road. As one who works daily to overcome past “bad habits”, I have to agree with the chick from episode one. If you can’t understand the mentality, it is hard to take the advice seriously. However beggars can’t be choosers and if you are going to recover a real life then you have to do what you have to do. Until the day more recovering fat people are personal trainers, people are stuck with the Britny’s of the world leading the way. And seriously, I hope someone put Britny’s parents out of their misery after naming their child that.

  4. Leigh

    I don’t believe any of the persons profiled weighed half a ton. That would be 1,000 pounds. They weigh more than a quarter ton, though.

  5. jim

    You have a point. Math is hard.

  6. TAE

    Hello I’m almost 14 and I’m about 300 pounds it’s not fun being one of the biggest in your p.e class or now being able to wear the cool tees shirts. I wish that I could get on this show because I can’t afford weight loss summer camps. I just want to be about half the size I am because I’m 5 foot 5-6 inches and that’s around the right size I need to be. I have tried weight watchers 4 times it don’t work after the first time. My doctor said I’m to young for wright loss pills so I’m down to going to a fat camp but cant afford it. I would love to look like a normal teenager but it’s hard to loss the weight I need to get away to a place where they will push me into loading weight.

  7. Chris Harrison

    You are not alone. I’m 32 years old. By the age of 17 I weighed 300lbs. I’ve tried Atkins, Weight Watchers… They never worked for me. I hit rock bottom last year. I topped out at 540lbs. I let myself go too far. This past Thursday, after 6 months of dieting and support groups I was able to have gastric bypass surgery. For me this will open a world of opportunities as I attempt to Shed 260+ Pounds. But a long, difficult road lies ahead for me.

    You’re young and I know the things you deal with as a teen must suck at times, but know that your life, your fate isn’t written in stone. You can change your life. Start with little things like stopping soda and fast food. Walk a little further each day. Your life is precious. Don’t ever give up on your health.

  8. Gob

    Weight loss is the same as quitting smoking, or drinking, or giving up coffee/caffeine, or various illegal drugs. You have to want it. You have to believe you want it. It helps if you have a reason for giving up whatever your vice is, a goal to aspire to.

    No one is alone. There are plenty of resources out there, even free ones on the internets. You have to want it bad enough to find them.

    I’ve never been fat, but I’ve quit smoking, quit drinking, quit caffeine, and gone on low sodium diets in my lifetime. If you don’t want to weigh 300 pounds, you have to be tough with yourself. You have to deny yourself foods that are fattening, or portions that are too large. You have to go hungry. You have to exercise, and sweat, and be uncomfortable, on a regular basis. You have to realize that it’s not easy, but there is a reward at the end. The reward is your health. The reward is liking what you see in the mirror.

    The biggest reward of all, though, is the knowledge that you overcame it. You succeeded. And once you taste that success in one aspect of your life, you can adapt what you’ve learned to the rest of your life.

    You can do it. You just have to want to do it.