“Alone” is a reality TV show where 10 or so survival experts are dropped off in remote locations across Vancouver Island, British Columbia and Patagonia, each completely secluded from human contact. Their only task is to survive as long as possible. Isolated from any human contact other than random medical checks, contestants struggle to stay dry, sheltered, healthy, injury-free, away from predators, and of course, fed.
Once these people get on the ground, the struggle immediately gets real. Most don’t eat more than a few berries, mushrooms or sea snails for the first few days alone. From the first episode to the last you see the affects of a low caloric intake taking its toll on each contestant. They spend their days building shelter, foraging for food and collecting firewood, expending significant amounts of energy to perform relatively light work. However, because their caloric intake is so low, they fatigue quickly, struggle to think clearly, and remain lethargic for much of their time in the wild.
Alone takes the audience out of the 21st Century First World and into the lives of our ancestors from just a few generations ago. Overeating and inactivity are issues that no longer exist. Contestants are instead worried about when the next fish is going to take their bait, where there might be some more berries or mushrooms they can eat, or what small animals might they be able to hunt and eat. Rarely does anyone get even half the food they would consume on an otherwise daily basis. Even when they do make a large catch, they have to ration the meat to last them several days.
Participants lose multiple pounds of body weight every week because they simply can’t find or catch enough food to sustain their starting weight, and the show does a fantastic job of educating viewers on how important calorie intake is for sustaining body weight, thinking clearly, supporting vital organ activity and more. The few contestants that last more than a week are able to eat regularly, but just enough to sustain their energy needs and support further survival activity. Just like the generations preceding us, obesity is not an issue because contestants are just too active and eating too lean of a diet, a stark contrast with the world we live in today.
So many today are either naive or ignorant to the contributing factors of weight gain and weight loss. Some under-eat for fear of becoming overweight, and many others overeat because the foods they think are normal to consume have been engineered to pack more calories than nutrients. People blame their expanding waistline on genetics, age, or some other external factor, and an unfortunate number of them will never take control of their weight until the health consequences catch up to them, likely leaving them with chronic conditions for the rest of their lives that could have been prevented.
Alone will teach viewers to appreciate the food they have, perhaps even inspire them to eat more in moderation, ideally avoiding fake, designer foods in favor of natural choices. There is no doubt that a diet composed of healthy portions of natural plant and animal products would contribute to healthier bodies and waistlines, especially compared to those of Western society today. I personally recommend Seasons 1, 3 and (so far) 4!
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