In part 1 of this post, I discussed the positive aspects of the current reality weight loss TV shows.

OK, now for the not so good points:

  • For most of the people in the shows, they would almost certainly know that they need to stop eating junk and start exercising even without professional help.
  • In some of the shows, the exercises given are dangerous for people of that size. For instance, one of shows had their ‘contestants’ running as the first thing they do. The last thing you should ever do to someone carrying that much weight is to overload their already stressed joints.
  • Also, one guy who keeps telling everyone how he is the best trainer in the world, quite clearly didn’t screen his clients properly… one client had an old shoulder injury and he had him rolling around on a rugby field when he injured his shoulder.
  • The client then went to hospital and was told he had a minor tear in his rotator cuff muscle. The trainer clearly did not know what to do for his client (and quite rightly referred him for physio). If you are the best trainer in the world, then you would know how to rehab a very simple muscle strain.
  • There seems to be no assessment of overall stress on the people before the start, such as adrenal stress, liver stress, toxic load, food sensitivities or gastrointestinal infections.
  • I think it gives the wrong impression to obese people that they have to take part in torturous exercise for up to 4 hours a day to be successful – when this is not true!
  • There appears to be little (if any) skilled psychological/motivational intervention from the start. The motivation seems to be extrinsic in nature normally in the format of shouting at the people and sometimes insulting them.
  • Motivation has to come from within, otherwise when the show is over, they will just go back to how they were given enough time.
  • It is crucial for any professional and indeed the individual to clearly understand the person’s goals and core values in order to maintain motivation.
  • There is no mention of organic food. Food which is not organic is considerably devoid of nutrients and toxic. Malnutrition (by increasing appetite) and toxicity (toxins are stored in fat cells) can lead to obesity.
  • Most of the nutrition advice given is about 30 years out of date (despite being better than just junk food).
  • The advice on diet is generally a one size fits all approach. In reality we are all different and all require completely different diets.
  • Apart from sweating via exercise, there appears to be no procedures for detoxing. When weight is lost quickly, the toxins stored in the fat have to be released. Unfortunately, it is likely that the toxins will be transferred to the internal organs, glands and nervous system and could cause a very serious medical problem.

Am I totally against these shows? No!

Do I think they could be done much better and professionally with more skilful professionals? Yes!

Is this likely to happen? No! Without all the shouting and torturous exercise, it probably wouldn’t make for good TV.

Whilst I do generally cringe whilst watching these shows, I do think the guy on “Obese: A Year to Save My Life” on Sky1 HD is pretty good and has the best approach. To have a whole year with someone is much more realistic, which I wish the other shows would do.

If you are looking to lose weight, I suggest you have a look at my Lean & Lively Programme.