"Believe In Yourself, Trust The Process, Change Forever."
[sarcasm]Way to go Bob.[/sarcasm]
I've never seen a complete episode of "The Biggest Loser"... ever. Something else more important always comes up while I'm watching it, like dishes, or, well, just about anything. Morbidly obese people put themselves through starvation diets and torturous exercise programs to stay on TV, get their fifteen minutes of fame, and maybe win enough money so they can loaf around carefree for a few years.
I used to think "Well, maybe it's a good thing. Maybe the contestants are being taught (off-camera) how to truly enjoy food and an active lifestyle. Maybe they will have long-term results." A lot of 'maybes' that, the more I heard, gradually became 'probably nots'. Maybe Bob was just having a bad day, I don't know. But, it troubles me to think that some athletes and trainees (not to mention coaches and trainers!) will actually think Bob's methods are sound.
Here's a biggie that we, all of us as coaches and trainers (not just Bob), need to review from time to time:
As much as we'd all like to believe it's the other way around, it just doesn't work out that way. If you have a group of obese clientele that you want to help lose weight, you cannot expect them to endure pain and torture without first giving them success and competence. If, as a trainer or coach, you yell at your clients and athletes without having built up an extraordinary measure of trust and goodwill, how do you think the message (no matter how true) will be received? What has Bob taught Joelle in that exchange? Will she come away from the experience more motivated, or less motivated? Will she now have positive associations with healthy exercise, or will the association of physical exertion with humiliation and failure be strengthened?
"For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath."
- The Book of Matthew
In assessment circles, the "Matthew Effect" refers to the great divide of haves and have-nots, and how this becomes a vicious self-perpetuating cycle; the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. In education, kids from affluent families, with a reading-rich enviroment, taught to be intellectually tenacious and curious will hit the ground running in kindergarten and never look back. Their classmates will start out behind and, even if they make up ground with the best teachers and work-ethic, will fall behind again every summer break. Many will come to associate reading and writing with discomfort and disappointment. They may never learn to enjoy reading, and will never choose picking up a book as fun way to spend a few hours.
In athletics, kids who are older (and bigger) get more playing time and, consequently, more meaningful practice and praise (see "Outliers" for a fuller illustration of how this process plays out in all levels of sport). In fitness, the fat will avoid exercise because of social factors and physical discomfort and it will only get worse as they gain more and more weight. Physically trim people will go to the gym, or join a team and, with positive reinforcement in the mirror, from peers and from others, will be encouraged to continue and progress.
If you start on a long journey absent a nurturing environment that you've happened upon, or been given, or created (naturally, or 'artificially', it doesn't matter), chances are pretty good it's not going to last. We've all seen "Field of Dreams", right? The phrase "Build it and they will come" is cliche now because everyone realized its genius - you must build the foundation of competence BEFORE commitment will truly come around. No kid commits to walking until they've built competence and strength. If a child was learning to walk and a parent pulled a Bob every time their child fell, how well would that work? Even IF (and it's a big if) the child did learn to walk, what consequences would it have?