Binging on HEAVYPosted: August 28, 2011
It is 10 on a Saturday night. I have spent the entire evening watching HEAVY, the A&E show that follows obese people doing a six-month, weight loss boot camp. It popped up on Netflix, and I could not resist a viewing marathon.
I am conflicted about this show and all shows that use tortuous exercise (many hours a day) and insanely restrictive diets (1300 calories per day) to “help” fat people. They make the fat people take off their shirts and weigh themselves in public (and on TV no less)–something I simply cannot imagine. I still have rituals when I weigh myself that border on voodoo (always no clothes or shoes, first thing in the morning, and ALWAYS behind a closed door).
That said, HEAVY really highlights the emotional struggles that accompany carrying extra weight. The episodes let you see how limiting living with extra weight can be for some people. So many of the show participants are given ultimatums by their spouses or girlfriends to “do something, or else.” They do a good job of showing how hopeless these people are when they are beginning their journeys.
I remember that feeling of hopelessness all to well when I was 90 pounds heavier. I feel like I got sucked into the show so I could get back in touch with that feeling. That feeling is what gives me empathy for all of the people in my life who are struggling with extra weight–family members, co-workers, people in classes that I speak to.
So, I recommend you watch an episode or two. Don’t follow any of the diet or exercise advice (there is a more sane way!), but watch to delve into the life of a fat person and to see how that fat makes them feel.
Let me know if you’ve seen the show and what you think. Leave a comment!