I Was Wrong – The Most Ridiculous Diet Show

that's not how this worksA couple days ago I wrote that ABC’s “My Diet Is Better Than Yours” might be the most ridiculous diet show ever. Friends, I stand corrected.  A&E gives us a show so absolutely, batshit ridiculous that it may require adjectives that have not yet been coined.

In the show “Fit to Fat to Fit” trainers will intentionally gain weight in an effort to “better understand the struggle of their clients as they lose weight together.” Holy shitballs this is fucked up.

In a promo video a trainer tells his client “I’m going to be gaining sixty pounds from where I am now, so I can better understand and relate to where you’re coming from.”

The client, having eaten a bowl of (diet) No Shit Sherlock flakes (with skim milk of course) responds “I don’t recommend that.”

Nor would anyone who was driven by something other than a desire for TV ratings.  A personal trainer who thinks that (very publicly) intentionally rapidly gaining weight just to immediately attempt to lose it will tell them anything about what it’s like to be a fat person, let alone a fat person attempting weight loss, should probably lose their certification immediately and permanently.

This is a lot like the misuse of the fat suit. Even if the experience of intentional rapid weight gain and loss had anything to do with being a fat person – and let’s be clear that it doesn’t – this is a still a hot mess.  We don’t need thin people to rapidly and very temporarily become fat to understand what it’s like to be fat, we need thin people to listen to fat people when we tell them our experiences of being fat, and then believe us.

People are allowed to do whatever they want with their bodies, including attempting rapid weight gain and/or loss.  But as fat people living in a world where we are shamed, stereotyped, stigmatized, bullied and oppressed, we don’t need personal trainers to be involved in dangerous rapid weight gain and loss to better understand us.  We need personal trainers to be speaking out against weight-based stigma.

We don’t need very temporarily fat people to speak for us, when that airspace could be filled by actual fat people talking about our real experiences. We need Personal Trainers to know what the research says about weight loss and stop promising things they can’t deliver.  Fat people’s almost non-existent likelihood of weight loss success doesn’t increase if their trainer doesn’t understand the difference between body diversity and binge-eating for rapid weight gain.

We’ve been successfully dropping ratings for The Biggest Loser by not watching it anymore, I’m thinking that we can be way ahead of the game with this show if we just don’t start watching it at all.

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24 thoughts on “I Was Wrong – The Most Ridiculous Diet Show

  1. I watched a portion of My Diet Is Better Than Yours and it was beyond hideous, humiliating, and just wrong in so many ways.

  2. So, what will happen if the personal trainer DOESN’T put on sixty pounds? What if their personal metabolism is such that their body doesn’t gain the weight as easily as the person they are supposedly trying to help? Will they admit that maybe – just maybe – it’s not all about what we eat and what exercise we get, and that genetics does play a role in body size?

    Another case of reality TV demonstrating that they pull their ideas out of their asses.

    1. That would be a good possibility – my assumption, however, is that they will eat 6000 calories a day and gain lots of weight, then be able to take it off by going back to a reasonable diet and exercise, then claim that other people are only fat because they eat 6000 calories and sit on their asses and look how easy it actually is to lose the weight if you’re not a gluttonous sloth. I.e., I cannot see this going any way but confirming current popular beliefs.

      1. Bingo. They’re manipulating set point to create an illusion of easy weight loss by grabbing someone with a low set point, artificially plumping them up for the camera with a caloric intake so high it’s almost impossible to reach without actively aiming for it, and then letting them go back to their normal eating habits and filming the subsequent return to their normal body type. It’s the worst kind of bias affirmation – they’re not seeing the whole picture (gee, isn’t it WEIRD that both thin and fat people have trouble artificially manipulating their weight through food? It’s almost like bodies have a preferred set point they fight to stay at), just the parts that reinforce their world view (“See? That guy gained weight by eating a lot and lost it by eating less! That means you gained weight that way, too, Mr. Lifelong Fat, and can lose it just like he did!”).

        1. You’re so right, they manipulate to reinforce their view, and they will manipulate the way of what will and will not be shown on tv to reinforce their view, too. On top of that, I would say that 60 pounds weight gain might seem a horrible amount for those fitness trainers, but putting 60 pounds onto a very slim and perhaps also tall body doesn’t really result in a fat person, so they really won’t learn anything from this

    2. No, if they have trouble putting on pounds (and research has shown that it’s difficult for some people to put on weight even when eating thousands of calories above their normal) they’ll bleat that they’ve proven that you have to be REALLY lazy/stupid/gluttonous/insert insult here to gain weight.

      1. I’m afraid you’re right.

        “Look how much I’ve eaten today! And I haven’t done a thing but sit on the couch and watch TV, and I STILL can’t gain weight. Just imagine what Fatty McFatterson must consume! He probably doesn’t even roll out of bed to the couch. He must just stay in bed all day long, eating entire cows every single day, in order to be as fat as he is. But don’t worry! I’ll whip him into shape! … Here, sign this waiver, so you can’t sue me for assault, when I whip you.”

    3. My cousin used to try SO HARD to gain weight. His body just wouldn’t keep it. Any excess calories just somehow got flushed through his system. I have no idea how, but he just couldn’t gain weight for trying.

      Some people are simply slim. I had a friend, once, who ate like a horse, and literally could not hold onto enough body fat to float. Another friend cheered and bragged to all her friends that after YEARS of trying, she FINALLY weighed triple digits! WOOOOT!

      Yeah, this intentional weight-gain thing is problematic, if they manage it, at all.

      1. When I was younger I had that same problem. I could pack away food like it was going out of style, and not put on any weight. I’ve mentioned here before that when I joined at Air Force at 17 years old, I was 6’2″ tall and weighed in at 107 pounds at my induction physical. The doctor said he should fail me right then and there because I was under the minimum for my height.

        Middle-age has lessened that tendency for me, but I still do not put on weight nearly as easily as my wife does.

        My wife and son work with a young woman that has a similar metabolism to what I had at that age. She drinks numerous full-calorie sodas a day, snacks frequently, and is very thin.

        Of course, it’s much more boast-worthy to claim superior life-style choices and habits, than to admit genetics plays a larger role in our body sizes. To quote Dana Carvey’s “Church Lady” character, “That makes us just a teensy bit more superior!”

  3. Maybe he will actually learn something. That life is not easy when you are overweight. And perhaps losing the weight won’t be the simple experiment he expects.

    It could be an interesting learning opportunity.

  4. “We don’t need thin people to rapidly and very temporarily become fat to understand what it’s like to be fat, we need thin people to listen to fat people when we tell them our experiences of being fat, and then believe us.”
    Amen. Amen and amen.

  5. I think my vote for the worst still goes to “Weigh for Love”.. which I still hope never actually makes it on the air on NBC, but basically the make a couple that both “have over 100 pounds to lose” agree to separate as a couple for 6 months for them to both try and lose weight on their own just so that they can come back together and do the whole emotional surprised reunion thing.

  6. Every body is different. Even if they can rapidly gain and lose 60 pounds doesn’t mean everybody can. I’m so sick of this nonsense!

  7. Well, it is “reality” tv. That alone tells you absolutely nothing shown on this program is true in any way, shape or form. I find it fascinating that gullible people would believe anything they see on a “reality” tv show.

  8. I guess if they ate a massive amount of sugar in an attempt to gain 60 pounds, developed insulin resistance, and suddenly discovered that their body wanted to keep the extra weight, they might have a tiny idea of what their client is dealing with.

  9. Didn’t the prison study show that those eating even 10,000 kcals/day only gained 10-12 lbs, and plateaued there, even while eating 3-4 times normal? If these trainers want to gain 60 lbs, they might need to eat 100,000 kcals/day. Who really has time, energy, and money to eat that in the real world? The thing about all this “fatties eat too much” is that where is the money coming from that we spend on food? If we’re over-proportionally poor, and work 2 f/t jobs, and get evicted, it doesn’t seem like there’s any money left over for food!!!

  10. The thing that frightens me most about this show is that the fitness trainers who intentionally gain weight, only to take it right off, will then declare just how “EASY” it is to take off those excess pounds, and “So, what’s YOUR excuse?”

    Because, sure, if you rapidly gain weight from binge eating, your body is not comfortable at that weight, and will fight like the dickens to get smaller. Losing ten or more pounds in one week will be child’s play to these guys. Then, they will use that to shame their victims even more, as they work themselves half to death, just to lose one or two pounds in a week.

    The old “If I can do it, you can,” mantra from hell will be running joke in this series, I’m sure.

    Bleh. I used to like A&E so much.

  11. Right on Ragen. Your suggestion at the end of your blog, to not watch the show from the beginning so it won’t get a start is activism at its best and easiest. When you watch a dopey show like this, you subject yourself to the charisma of the host and contestants etc. which can subconsiously affect one’s attitudes, judgement and other unknowns in a harmful fashion.
    If you watch the show then try to remember some of the main advertisers, especially if you sometimes use the product and switch to a competetitor where possible.Passing the word to friends etc. may have a negative effect and they might choose out of curiosity etc. to see the show.
    The only person you can control with relative certainty is yourself.

  12. What I really can’t get my head around is the fact that we live in a world with Jyoti Amge (the world’s shortest woman who is only 2 feet tall) and Sultan Kösen (the world’s tallest man who is over 8 feet tall) and people of all shapes and sizes in between and yet we still (as a society) can’t understand the concept of natural body diversity and think that everyone should weigh the same. It’s so idiotic to think that a world that created a 2 foot tall 22 year old and a 8’3″ tall man is the same world that says “everyone is supposed to be thin”. Riiiiiiight.

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