ABC to Air Most Ridiculous Diet Show Ever

facepalmOk, it may not be the most ridiculous, but this one is definitely a contender.  It’s well known that most people can lose weight on most diets in the short term, and almost everyone gains it back long-term. In fact there is no study where more than a tiny fraction of people are able to maintain weight loss long-term. The diet industry, and shows like The Biggest Loser, have long taken advantage of this fact to tout their ability to “transform” people, ignoring the fact that those people “transform” right back within a few years, often “transforming” into a bigger body than the one they started with. ABC’s “My Diet is Better Than Yours,” will take this fraud to the next level. Here’s what they say about the show:

“My Diet Is Better Than Yours” is the first weight loss competition show to put its experts to the test. Hosted by fitness mogul Shaun T (creator of the workout phenomenon “Insanity”), “My Diet Is Better Than Yours” features celebrity trainers Carolyn Barnes, Jovanka Ciares, Jay Cardiello, Dawn Jackson Blatner and Abel James, who will change the lives of five ordinary Americans with their unique diet and exercise plans. In an interesting twist, the competitors hold the power of elimination and the trainers and their plans can be sent packing if their teams do not feel that they are hitting their fitness goals. Throughout the journey, contestants will be presented specific milestone fitness challenges, designed by celebrity trainer Anna Kaiser, that will test their progress along the way while learning tips and tricks to help them achieve their long-term weight loss goals, all while helping America decide who’s diet is better than who’s.

Right. Now let’s translate this into reality:

“My Diet Is Better Than Yours” is yet another weight loss competition show to promote so-called experts who are either legitimately deluded about weight loss or just willing to take advantage of fat people for money.  Shaun T will host this piece of crap show in which people who sell fad diets will set up five ordinary Americans for another ride on the diet roller coaster with their most likely ineffectual diet plans. In a move that is best done on the first day, moments before quitting the show, competitors will be allowed to fire their trainers.

The competitors will be put on display in a way reminiscent of a Roman Colosseum for the entertainment of the masses.  They will be given tips and tricks that supposedly will help them achieve their long-term weight loss goals but in reality will have absolutely no basis in evidence, and will be no help.  That doesn’t matter as long as they successfully set up the contestants, to blame themselves when, almost inevitably, they gain the weight back.  Because the cameras will stop before the contestants gain their weight back, people will be fooled into doing these fad diets and buying the products from the celebrity trainers who will each be issued their “Fat Person Whisperer” club membership and jacket.

Not horrified already?  One of the diets highlighted will be  The “cLEAN Momma Plan,” which “promotes burning calories through performing different household chores” and includes something called Taskercises (“Pillow Plump and Pump” – I wish I were kidding, but this is real and even my alliteration addiction can’t make it ok)  adding a delightful side of outdated gender expectations to unrealistic weight loss promises.

We don’t yet know if, like The Biggest Loser before it, this show will simply become an ode to the physical and emotional abuse of fat people for sport, but regardless it exploits America’s negative attitudes about fat people, conflation of body size with health (you’ll notice there are never shows about thin people adopting healthy habits,) and incredibly stubborn ignorance about the realities of weight loss.  And you probably won’t be surprised to learn that I won’t be tuning in.

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Published in: on January 4, 2016 at 9:24 am  Comments (17)  

17 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Omg, this is just horrible. Are they out of ideas or just like abusing people? This seems like a shark tank/biggest loser mash up.

  2. Seeing the ad for this was so horrifying to me.

  3. Wish they’d pit the “celebrity” trainers against each other and just omit any ‘contestants’. They could have the trainers beat the crap out of each other and then declare the winner to be the last person standing. Then this last person could attest his/her win to their diet/exercise regimen.

  4. Another year, another type of BS. Thank you for calling it out.

  5. Thank you for speaking out against this show, Ragen! When I saw the ad I was horrified and had to let you know that “they’re at it again,” i.e the people who are shaming fat people for money and what they seem to call “fun.” I hope the show doesn’t succeed! Like the Biggest Loser, I won’t be watching.

  6. I saw an ad for another WL show on TLC. Fit to Fat to Fit? Something about fat people pairing up with a trainer who gets fat and then they lose weight together? I don’t have the energy to Google it. Followed by “Skin Tight,” another medi-porn show about people undergoing skin removal surgery after extreme WL. So, yeah, um, it’s a bountiful time for television.

    • Oh man, I had a rude awakening this past holiday season. I went home to visit the family and did something I don’t normally do– namely, watch television. (I have a few shows I follow online, but I haven’t had cable in over a decade and I don’t miss it.) Anyhow, got myself all into the Mythbusters marathon and kept seeing those AWFUL ads for “Skin Tight” and “My 600 lb life.”

      It was this, “Holy crap, they really do use fat people as inspiration porn” moment. Like, I knew, somewhere in my head, but seeing it was another experience entirely.

      • I know, right? It feels like being a human in Invasion of the Body Snatchers at that exact moment when your parents/spouse/best friend points at you and screams.

  7. So, we’re just ignoring the fact that if a show like this can even exist, it’s proof in and of itself that we actually don’t know how to “transform” fat people into thin people via dieting?

  8. Ragen, someone should hire you to translate *all* the pop culture messages. This was brilliant.

    Let’s not watch it together.

  9. If there’s one good thing about Biggest Loser, it’s that it’s now 10 years later and we can see where all the contestants ended up body-wise: fat again. Not that TV seems to have learned the lesson.

  10. I have never heard of this show, but it sounds completely ridiculous! I would like to see a show called ‘healthy lifestyles’ or something similar that is about people coming into your home and showing you just 5 things you could change about your lifestyle to be a bit healthier. Not massive things like only eat from these approved meal lists. Things like: having a glass of water with every meal and snack, trying to cut out soda, parking at the back of the parking lot so you have a longer walk to your destination. Making 5 small changes in your lifestyle still has a great impact and I find is more likely to become a habit than if you change everything all at once. The focus needs to be on living a healthier life not losing weight.

    • I love this idea! The show could also focus on things other than health, say, five small changes to help a family with multiple small kids get through the day more smoothly, or five small changes to help keep a house clean or make tax prep or travel less chaotic. There could be interesting but less general-interest themes, like horse- or dog-training. The possibilities are huge!

      • Yeah I think it is good and all of those things would go under a healthy lifestyle because the reduction in stress would be positive🙂
        So much better than “sweat out 20kgs eating controlled meals and working out many hours of the day in a house with a bunch of other people” fine print you need a magnifying glass to read… “results temporary”.

    • And then they could see how small, sustainable changes do not actually lead to losing weight.

  11. I haven’t seen the ad for this one, but I have for the new season of biggest loser. Apparently they get $40,000 to walk away. I’d take it and hire a personal trainer for every day. Not just the 3 months on the show. lol

  12. Your voice is SO needed, thank you for your honesty, authenticity and insight! So much appreciation, support and love for you and your work🙂 Keep on, and thank you!


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