Why do I feel so guilty admitting that I like reality TV shows? Does it seem too trivial, unlike the awesome John Adams documentary or educational programs on Animal Planet? Or is it because they’re not deep or even clever, like episodes of Boston Legal or CSI? Or entertaining like The Office? There are many reality shows I’ve never watched (American Idol, Dancing with the Stars). But, as someone struggling with my own weight loss issues, I do enjoy The Biggest Loser.

The show isn’t perfect. You have to get past the agonizingly slow pace, frustrating constant recaps and in-your-face product placement. But I’ve got to admit, the show inspires me. This season is the heaviest season ever, with many contestants starting at more than 300 lbs, and some close to 400. Yet, by the end of the season most of them will not only be half their size, but also fit and toned. They’ll have learned healthy nutritious eating habits, not binge dieting. I’ve got to imagine that these skills help them to keep the weight off for life. I hope so.

I’ve never had to deal with that significant amount of weight to lose, but all dieters know that our own 20, 30, 40 or whatever pounds is a struggle. On the show, contestants train for 6-10 hours a day. Watching them spin ’til every inch of them is covered in sweat and lift weights until they cry (and they do) inspires me to get on my elliptical and work out for at least a measly 30 minutes. If they can do it, then so can I!

So I’ll try not to be embarrassed that I enjoy watching The Biggest Loser. If it inspires me to lose weight and eat healthier, then win-win.

Paws for Reflection: This is so appropriate when it comes to exercising! “Success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration.” –Thomas Edison