I'll never hide it: I love The Biggest Loser. I've been watching it (on and off) ever since it began. While I like Bob and his quiet intensity, I always felt drawn to Jillian. I liked her tough-as-nails-ness. I liked that she pushed people harder than they thought they could go. I think I responded to her because I don't think I had anyone in my life pushing me to my limits. I always stepped over the limits people gave me but after that I felt like I didn't have anywhere else to go. I didn't know how to challenge myself.
Last night on her show, Losing It with Jillian Michaels, she takes the Jones family under her wing. They suffered the loss of their father 6 years prior, and ever since, his widow has been drowning in her life. While I identify with the mother's weight struggles, I so very much identified with her daughter. After her father died, her mother began to treat her like an adult/co-parent. The daughter was resentful of this added burden put on her. She was 12 years old and worrying more about her mother than about her own hopes and dreams. And well, I got that. I got that loud and clear.
When my mom died (I was 13), my father never said "well you need to grow up and take care of the house now" but when he fell to pieces, everything else did. I did grow up, I did cook dinners, I did clean the house, I did mow the lawn. I did whatever I could in the hopes of it helping him and relieving the stress of working long hours between an arduous 2 hour commute each way. I did it in the hopes of having a dad that would do fun things with his kids.
Carl Jung wrote “the greatest burden a child must bear is the unlived life of the parents.” I think all parents, but especially widows/widowers with children need to remember this. My father's inability to pick himself up and be a parent resulted in my ballooning up to 240lbs at my highest. Years later, I still feel hurt, angry, and a sense of betrayal for having lost my childhood so early because my father was unable to take care of himself let alone his kids. But I really do feel compassion, because despite feeling the hurt, anger, and betrayal, I'm able to tend to them with a gentle heart. I'm gave them their say, and each day those feelings grow more distant.
I sent him the link to this episode saying "you should watch this." I'm so proud of him for doing the work he's doing, but there's so much more left to be done to get his health back.