The game show, Survivor, strands 19 (willing) contestants on an island, where they compete in immunity and reward challenges and each team ends up voting their members out. At the end of 39 days, a final three remains and the winner is chosen by a jury made up of that season's former players who, earlier, were voted out of the game. The game is about social skills, manipulation, and strength—all which can be seriously influenced by a lack of nourishment.
Unfortunately, the tribe(s) are only eating well a few nights out of their presumed month on the island. The food usually comes through reward challenges or when the two tribes merge into one and they have a celebratory feast. Some seasons, tribes aren't even given rice and beans, so essentially, they are starved to the point of barely surviving. Hence the name.
These people are competing for a grand prize of a million dollars, but the sole survivor had to give up ice cream, pasta, french fries and pizza for 39 days. So, are they really winning?
Thankfully, tribes do eat well if they win reward challenges. The reward usually involves the tribe being taken off the island to eat, and they also get another form of indulgence—like tooth brushes, showers, or some from of comfort.
At the beginning of the reward challenge, the host, Jeff Probst, either mentions what food they will be eating, or pulls a cover off of a table full of delicious burgers and steaks to tempt their empty stomachs. But, even if they castaways feast on one night, the next night they are starving again. It's a shame how the human body works, isn't it?
In one of the immunity challenges in Survivor Amazon, tribe-mates Jenna Morasca and Heidi Strobel stripped for peanut butter because it sounded more alluring than being safe in the game. While this may sound funny, their bodies were wrecked from extreme conditions on the island and they were severely malnourished (you could see the outline of each rib, people).
The decision may look silly to those of us eating Cheetos on the couch, but not eating for three days can make people do crazy things.
Many of the castaways leave the game with a record high weight loss. Although, many of them have claimed in follow-up interviews and articles that they don't just lose weight, but also muscle, calories and protein that make them both physically and emotionally weak.
Some of the most notable drops in weight are: Kathy O'Brien (Survivor All-Stars) who lost 36 pounds, Tom Buchanan (Survivor Africa) who lost 77 pounds, and winner Tina Wesson (Survivor Australia) who lost 16 pounds leaving her days on the island at 99 pounds.
Most of the contestants gain the weight back once they return home. Many contestants have had to ease their way back into eating everyday foods because of having a stomach that can't handle sugary or salty flavor.
If you love rice and beans, the survivor diet doesn't sound so bad. But if you also love brownies and coffee, it could lead to 39 days of cravings.
The survivor diet usually consists of simple, bland foods such as rice, manioc flour, beans, the occasional fish or chicken, plant-based foods and some local fruit found amongst the trees and bushes of the island.
If you are really looking to lose weight, there are more safe and comfortable ways to do so. While I love the game, I do not condone it as a weight loss program.
But, if you take on the show and like your thin, tanned Survivor body, my advice would be to take a lot of pictures before eating wings and drinking beer.