Can a reality dating show lose out to a weight loss competition in finding true love? It’s now widely known that in all of the seasons of The “Biggest Loser”, more couples have met, fallen in love and gotten married than in the 23 seasons of “The Bachelorette” and “The Bachelor” combined. Here we have two reality shows completely dedicated to the perfect matching of “soul mates”, through an extensive selection and matching process- and that has failed dismally in creating couples that have any longevity. Contrast that to a group of overweight people who are trying to change their lives, and end up not only successful in losing weight, but also meet their romantic partner in the process. The “Biggest Loser” currently has 5 couples that have met, become romantically involved and married as a result of being on the show together. The real question is, how and why do people fall in love to begin with? If you look at one classic definition of love, Merriam Webster dictionary defines it as “affection based on admiration, benevolence or common interests”. I’d like to add respect and likability to that equation- for long term attraction and love to take hold, mutual respect and simply liking who your partner is as a person is crucial. So, let’s take a look at why “The Biggest Loser” would be a natural environment to create lasting love.
Losing weight is not easy- we can all relate to that. Potential contestants of the show must also be willing to be vulnerable, take risks and work harder than they ever have on a goal, without any certainty that the goal will be met. All contestants have a common interest, that of losing weight, regaining their health and improving their lives in the process. Watching someone else struggle with exercise, learning how to cook together and successfully changing eating habits supports the love requirement of mutual admiration, and as the contestants complete each of their baby steps towards their goals their admiration grows along with their feelings for each other. At the same time, they are depositing positive experiences to their emotional “bank accounts”, memories stored for the future that enhance the feelings of affection and love. As these contestants support each other in the achievement of their goals, they are building a foundation that can last a lifetime. Compare this to the contrived environment of the “Bachelor” or “Bachelorette” and you can see how any romance that might blossom would be short lived, and based on an artificial standard. No common interests, respect, admiration or likability- and nothing to build a relationship on. At the end of the show, it’s just a couple of good looking people that have competed to be the one to get the “proposal”.
So, which kind of love do you want?