Sunday, August 14, 2011

Show Review: "Heavy"

As I mentioned in a previous post, I know a few people who struggle with their weight and so I am coming to our relationships from a few angles: First, I am trying to be supportive myself by eating a healthier diet (i.e.: more water, healthy snacks, etc., less sugar) and secondly, I am working to better understand the thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc. that my loved ones struggle with in their efforts to become healthier people. To that end, I've begun watching shows on Netflix to get ideas and understanding. SO... Without further ado, here is my first TV show review...


The Show: Heavy
The Channel:  A&E
The Medium: The Internet via Netflix

The Premise:
Two people who are overweight leave their homes for one to six months to stay in a somewhat isolated retreat facility. During their time in the facility, the two people work with personal trainers, therapists, and other weight-loss professionals to jump start a new way of life. At the end of their time in the facility, the individuals return home, either having finished their time on the show (if they're in the six-month facility) or to continue on their weight loss journey under the show's spotlights for the remaining five months. They show tracks them for six months during which time they continue to work with a personal trainer and go in for occasional weigh-ins.

The Breakdown:

---> Each show is approximately 45 minutes long, without commercials. Of that time...
-----------> approximately 5% is spent on food and diet
-----------> approximately 45-50% is spent on exercise*
-----------> approximately 45-50% is spent on "who am I" scenes, progress reports, etc.*

* the amount of time dedicated to each of these seems to depend on whether they're in South Carolina or Texas

The Good:

  • the drama is minimized in this show, unlike many "reality" shows (think: Biggest Loser, etc.)
  • lots of visuals for exercises that 300 lbs. + people can realistically do (this takes up about 70% of the overall show time)
  • emphasizes the need for pairing up with someone who is on a weight loss journey with you by highlighting two individuals who are both struggling to lose weight 
  • follows the two primary people over the course of six months, showing sustained weight loss tracking for each person
  • tends to show people who need to lose at least 200 lbs. to be at a healthy weight (in the first six episodes, every participant has been in excess of 300 lbs. I have not watched beyond that yet so this may change over the course of the show)
  • the show is realistic in that it shows the participants griping/crying out/sweating it out/etc. as they struggle to achieve each prescribed exercise. The people on this show are (from what I've seen so far) morbidly obese and so the exercises are going to be necessarily rough in the beginning of their six months - their knees are going to hurt, they might throw up, they're going to have difficulty walking and breathing - while the show does not dwell on this, they do show it as a fact of life. They also show mental/emotional struggles when it pertains to the person's overall health and ability to lose weight, in other words: those scenes aren't about highlighting the drama as much as highlighting the fact that many of these people are fat because they have some reason behind it. That being said, no excuse is accepted when it comes to jumping in to do the exercise routines.
  • the exercise routines are varied - anywhere from the treadmill, golf, beach activities, using resistance bands, using yoga/balance balls, weight balls, machines, pools, etc. is highlighted. So whether you have money for a personal trainer to work alongside you or whether you're doing it on your own, you can get some seriously helpful ideas on what you can do, even at 500+ lbs!
The Not-So-Good:
  • while calorie counting and diet changes are mentioned as part of the overall program, not much is said about healthy meals, etc. otherwise. Each participant is given time with a dietician in the grocery store and one meal (usually the participant's first meal in the facility) is shown to differentiate between how much they were eating at home vs what a healthy meal portion looks like
Okay, that is my big "negative" for the show, but you can't fit it all in, can you? All in all, I am gaining inspiration from these folks and am impressed with their progress and determination. I am really looking forward to seeing more from this group - and strongly suggest that if you're struggling with weight loss, take a look at this show and 

Be Motivated and Inspired!


  1. I have recently figured out that the episodes taking place in South Carolina are the ones where the participants stay in the facility for the full six months. The episodes taking place in Texas are the ones in which the participants stay in the facility for one month and then go home for five months.

  2. That's quite a commitment, staying away from your home for that long! Did they just stop working for that six month period?

  3. It is my impression that the did stop working for the time they were in the center - whether for one month or six. But that is one area they did not really address. Many of the folks on the show are so large that holding down a job would have been difficult. At least one person was a teacher and "at risk of losing his job" if he didn't lose the weight. But if they lose the weight and keep it off, I would really consider that it might be worth it.

  4. Okay, I watched episode one and part of three. I skipped episode two because they kept showing a guy screaming at the trainer, and I really don't appreciate that kind of drama.

    I liked it -- I particularly liked how the trainers acknowledged that food can be an addiction, just like other addictions, and that it isn't just a matter of "eating less." It's a matter of changing everything. I applauded when Jodi kicked her mother out of the house -- she told her mom she was going to exercise, and her mom laughed at her, so yeah, she had to go. And I really think a lot of Jodi's problems with her husband -- well, I kinda thought maybe he was a bit light in the foot. Anyway, I enjoyed the first show, and started watching the third one, which is about a woman who gained weight after terrible tragedy in her family, and a younger woman who goes out drinking every night. The man in the first show didn't really seem to have a reason for his excessive weight, but all of the other characters did (depression, bad family life, etc). And I really liked how they showcased exercise. JUST exercise. No liposuction, no fancy diets, just sensible eating and working out.


I look forward to hearing your thoughts!


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