So, how much weight have you lost?

I accept that this is the one thing folks most want to know: The number on the scale. This is, after all, the  Biggest Loser era, where teams of fatties don’t work, and don’t worry about the mortgage, relatives or meals. Like laboratory rats, their world consists of working out six hours a day, every day, and whatever else their masters train them to do, so that once a week when they stand on the Almighty Scale viewers can get their fix, their answer, to the only question that matters.

Last night I spent a couple of hours catching up on Ruby and Kirstie Alley’s Big Life, and I started to wonder about our national obsession with weight and appearance. Me, I’m just empathetic; I can relate. But there are so many reality shows, weight-loss competitions and medical series regarding the maladies and surgeries of the super-sized that I just have to wonder . . . Why?

The only reality in these shows is virtual. No one works for a living or deals with everyday issues, such as cooking, cleaning, keeping track of everyone’s schedules, doc appointments and other distractions.  That wouldn’t be very entertaining, which is why these shows are heavily edited. Days and weeks are spliced together for your enjoyment, ending with that grand finale, the trip to the scale.

How much weight have you lost? It is irritating, being asked so often, as if people like me only measure our worth in pounds. The more I lose, the “better” I am, right? Hmmm … The converse of that statement, then, means if I gained everything back, I would be worth less. Worthless.

It’s just that life is not as seen on TV. What I’m doing is not the least bit easy and not at all glam. My 100-pound goal is in addition to, not in place of, an already full life schedule. Alas, no camera crew, trainers, chef-prepared meals or wardrobe allowance. In between trips to the gym, I squeeze in work, shop for groceries, prepare meals, do the laundry and make sure everyone’s needs are met. I stress about what’s happening in the real world, with the President, with the school system, with the dog.

The reason Biggest Loser contestants and even Ruby can lose 10+ pounds a week is because losing weight is the sum total of their being. It’s their occupation, the reason they get up every day. I believe I might actually welcome the opportunity to suspend life as I know it and be paid to do nothing else but lose weight and get weighed, publicly (though judged, privately). Then again, maybe not.

Rumor has it there are at least three new weight-loss shows on the horizon.

So, how much have I lost? Still at 19 pounds and holding. Sometimes I bounce up a pound or two because, like most people, my weight fluctuates, which is why I like to report every five pounds or so.  

Meanwhile, I appreciate all the support, comments and finger-wags. I’m now entering Month Three of this quest, and I believe it’s the longest period of time I’ve consistently tried to lose weight.

Feels good.

Reality leaves a lot to the imagination. ~  John Lennon

Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.