TV’s New Approach to Weight Loss

By Kelsey – February 2, 2011

A&E’s new show Heavy, which airs on Mondays at 9 p.m., is an hour long docudrama that chronicles the six month journey of morbidly obese participants who have made the decision to save their lives by making drastic lifestyle changes. The participants, who range from 240 to 630 pounds, face life-threatening health consequences resulting from their obesity.

The show, which first aired in January, features trainers and contestants from Austin and surrounding areas. David Richardson and Britny Fowler, both of whom work at Lifetime fitness in Austin, work with the participants to help them meet their fitness goals through exercise. The first half of the 11 show series, which will run through the end of March, was filmed in Austin. While the Austin episodes have already aired, Richardson and Fowler remain the trainers throughout the season, which finishes up in South Carolina.

It’s clear that Richardson and Fowler have already impacted the participants’ lives in a big way. Sharon, the 47 year old from Cedar Park, lost a total of 109 pounds throughout her journey on Heavy. The series premiered with Tim and Jodi, Houston residents who lost a combined total of 339 pounds.

Heavy doesn’t take the route of other prime time weight loss shows like The Biggest Loser. It’s about the challenges that come from making real lifestyle changes, not about rushing off weight to win a contest. As its website says, it’s “rooted in the incredible real life day-to-day journeys of the participants during a lengthy treatment program.”

Even though it’s often hard to watch and an emotional roller coaster to be sure, Heavy seems to take a positive approach to weight loss– an approach not yet seen in prime time.

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