Reality TV is kind of tricky. It certainly is TV. How much “reality” it serves up, however, is a matter of some debate. Some shows are downright icky. A few programs, however, at least try to maintain a sort of high road approach with a message of hope and positive change. I’d put The Biggest Loser (TBL) in that category.

In this program a group of severely obese men and women compete to see who can lose the greatest percentage of body weight in the allotted time. Contestants live in a closed compound, observe the strictest eating guidelines, and undergo grueling physical workouts. It’s all captured on camera, edited up and served weekly for couch potatoes across the nation.

There are real problems with the whole concept. The hothouse setting and the forced-for-TV drama suggest we should be cautious about borrowing our training programs from The Biggest Loser.

Nevertheless, if you can get past watching Jillian pummel the crap out of some poor guy, there are also some admirable lessons built into the show. So take off your skeptic glasses for just a minute, and let’s separate the wheat from the chaff.