Is the Biggest Loser Really a Winner?

As I watched Helen win the grand prize of $250,000 on the seventh season of “The Biggest Loser” for losing 140 pounds in 20 weeks, I was thinking about the messages that this “reality” show sends to all of us.  I get why it’s so popular: the drama, the competition, the personalities and life stories of the contestants, and of course the “can you believe someone could weigh that much and lose that much weight!” shock value. 

I’ll even admit that The Biggest Loser does show you what is possible with very hard work and determination combined with a tremendous amount of support.  And there’s no doubt that the contestants’ lives change in a positive way over the 20 weeks of the show; not only do they lose the weight, but you see their confidence and self-esteem increase as they discover that they can do things they never imagined.  In many ways, it’s a great “feel good” story.

But the problem is that the story is more fiction than fact.  The weight loss that the contestants experience over the 20 weeks is unrealistic, unhealthy and un-maintainable.  Unfortunately, without a focus on sensible and realistic nutrition goals, truly effective weight loss is just not possible.   

If you are trying to lose weight and get in better shape this summer, what positive messages can you incorporate into your program from the Biggest Loser contestants?   

  • If they can workout for hours each day, I can find time for 15 to 30 minutes to be more physically active.
  • Gradual but consistent changes work over time. You gained your extra weight one pound at a time and will lose it in the same way.  Be patient. 
  • Get positive support from friends and family.  Let people know what you need from them and what is helpful.  A workout friend can be very motivating.
  • Set challenging but flexible and achievable goals.  For example:  I will eat breakfast five to seven days each week and have two to three food groups/meal.
  • Making a commitment to changing my eating and exercise patterns will help me feel better about myself, give me more physical and emotional energy and help me feel I have some control over my life.

They’re not as glamorous, or as quick, as winning The Biggest Loser.  But in the long run, they’re worth their weight in gold!

Maureen Latanick, Dietitician – Ohio State Student Health Services

Let’s talk teeth!

Q: Does diet pop do as much damage to my teeth as the sugary regular pop?

A: Yes.  Even though diet pop does not contain sugar, it is made with two kinds of acid: phosphoric acid and citric acid.  Both can be very destructive to your enamel, the hard coating that protects your teeth, and cause large amounts of tooth decay, especially when you’re sipping on the pop throughout the day.

Q: Does sugar really cause cavities?

A: Sugar does not cause cavities directly.  The bacteria that normally live in your mouth use the sugar as a food source and when it digests the sugar, it produces acid.  It is this acid that destroys the enamel and leads to cavities.  

Q: What is a root canal?

A: Root canal therapy is necessary when the nerve inside a tooth dies due to deep decay, or trauma like a cracked tooth.  When this happens, the inside of the tooth becomes infected and the best way to treat the infection is by performing a root canal.  An opening is made in the top of the tooth and the pulp (or nerve) is removed and replaced with a filling inside the tooth canal.

Julie O’Neil-Johnson, DDS   Charles Schindler, DDS   Salvatore Lowry, DDS

Ohio State Student Health Services Dental Clinic


Last Call for Birth Control!

Q: I want to make sure I get my annual exam and birth control prescription done before I graduate. Can the Student Health Center help me? 

A: Yes. You can schedule an annual exam by calling 292-4321 to make an appointment. If you have the comprehensive OSU Student Health Insurance, coverage is provided for one routine gynecological exam per insurance plan year.

Q: I don’t have the OSU Student Health Insurance Plan. Can I still get routine women’s care at the Student Health Center.

A: Any student can be seen at the Student Health Center, regardelss of insurance coverage.  However, you should check with your insurance plan to see if they will cover an annual exam at the Health Center. We will gladly bill your insurance if you receive care here, but you may be responsible for paying a portion of the bill not covered by your insurance. 

Q: In the past, it has taken me 6 – 8 weeks to get an appointment for an annual exam in the Women’s Clinic. The quarter will be over by then. Is there still a long wait to get an appointment?

A: Great news!  Student Health Services recently added a new nurse practitioner to the clinical staff of Women’s Services.  Li-Chun Liu has 10 years of experience in the Women’s Health field and has really been a fantastic addition to our team.  With Li on board, there are now three providers in Women’s Services which has greatly enhanced appointment availability.  As of today, a graduating senior can get an appointment for a routine annual exam within 1-2 days!!  You’ll find that after you graduate, getting a new patient appointment for a routine annual exam with a private gynecology practice can take up to 3 months, so you would be much better off coming to see us before you leave Ohio State.  You’ll be all set with birth control for a year, which should give you plenty of time to find a new health care provider wherever you land. 

Q: That sounds great, but if I have my birth control prescription at the Student Health Center pharmacy, I won’t be able to get my refills after I graduate, right?

A: You can continue to use the Student Health Center pharmacy for one quarter after graduation. When you can no longer come here, all you have to do is choose a local pharmacy and give them the phone number of our pharmacy, the name of the medication and the prescription number. (All of this information can be found on the label of your prescription.) The new pharmacy will contact our pharmacy and transfer the balance of your prescription.


And the Winner is…

It’s a wrap!  The first annual Real to Reel online video competition, sponsored by The Ohio State University Office of Student Life and the Inspire USA foundation was a smashing success.  Seven outstanding films were submitted by Ohio State students and the winners were announced last night at an award ceremony hosted in the Younkin Success Center.

Picking a ‘winner’ was an extremely difficult task for our panel of judges.  All of the films were so excellent and unique that it is impossible to say that one is ‘better’ than another.  Nevertheless, the votes were counted and the scores were tallied and in a neck and neck race to the finish line, the top 3 finishers were…

1st Place: “Static” by Timothy Weaver

2nd Place: “My Mom” by Megan Dunlap and Aaron Kunkel

3rd Place: “The Lonely Lamp” by Sarah Cory

Campus Choice: “Static” by Timothy Weaver

Honorable mention went to:

“From Ato B: Overcoming Obstacles with Parkour” by Craig Pentak, “Getting Through It” by Arianna Bond, “Panacea for an Imaginary Problem” by Max Long and “Take a Deep Breath” by Ruth Lang

We would like to congratulate all of our Ohio State film makers for their outstanding work.  These films are already being used by the Inspire foundation in presentations from Los Angeles to Australia and the reviews are overwhelmingly positive: “amazing, moving, inspiring, awesome, rad, spot on!”  The fact that their work is having a meaningul and direct impact on the mental health and wellbeing of young people literally around the world is a testament to the great things that Ohio State students can achieve.

Plans are already in the works for next year’s Ohio State Student Life Inspire USA online film competition, so hopefully you’ve been inspired to tell your story.  In the mean time, the Inspire Foundation was so impressed with the power of our students’ work that they’ve launched a nation wide online film competition that runs through the end of June.  Get the details here and let’s keep Ohio State’s winning streak alive!  Go Bucks!!

Cash in on your stress at the Student Wellness Center!

Our friends at the Student Wellness Center are conducting focus groups around student stress. Attend one focus group and receive a $10 gift card for one hour of your time. All information obtained in the focus groups are confidential and will assist the university in developing or enhancing services available to students around stress management. For more information or to sign up for a focus group, phone 292.4527 or stop in to the Student Wellness Center (B130 RPAC). All focus groups will be on a first come, first serve basis.