Thursday, November 02, 2006

Downsize Me

I tried to fight it, but slowly it’s come about that Tuesday nights 7.30pm my butt wants to find itself on the couch just in time for Downsize Me, which is NZ’s offering to the Gods of fitness reality TV. I tried not to like it, telling myself that this would just be another glitzy hour of watching aggressive skinny trainers terrorise obese individuals into losing 10lbs a week in an artificial environment engineered for scale drama. But, since I stopped snarling and started watching I have been pleasantly surprised.

The trainer Leanne does not look like an action figure, she looks real, strong and like she eats. The diet coach, Damian, is a Naturopath and, although they both try to be stern and steely, it’s all a bit too kiwi for much of that ‘I am perfect, you are fat’ B.S. Sometimes Leanne tries to channel Jillian, but it just doesn’t work when you can't stop smiling. Then there is the ‘slow weightloss is good’ vibe. This I like. Each program features two people with unhealthy habits and, over the course of 8 weeks, Leanne and Damian guide them toward fitness. Most lose between 6-8kg and are loudly applauded and ‘woohoo’d’ over for their efforts.

The participants continue their regular lives and, at the 6 week mark, the trainers take a big step back. No more PT sessions, no supervised meals, the exercycle is confiscated and all the junkfood is returned to the cupboards. They are on their own in the big scary real world to either go float or bloat. All of this is good, but what really won me over is the Crash Diet Dummies (CDD’s). These healthy people get to don a bright orange jumpsuit and embrace the previous eating and exercising habits of the program participants for a period of 10 days. They undergo a medical at either end of the experiment….. veeeery interesting. It’s a bit like Supersize Me lite…. Screwy cholesterol, weight gain, muscle loss, moodiness, acne.. all in just 10 days. One CDD had to live on caffeinated energy drinks and one meal a day. While her counterpart was experiencing migraines and lethargy as her body detoxed from its accustomed 6-10 bottles of V, the CDD was experiencing the shakes, hadn’t slept for days and was in danger of a divorce. After 7 days her resting heartbeat was above 100bpm and the doctor refused to let her continue.

Note to the Downsize me producers: If you need a Crash Diet Dummy for someone whom, for example, owns a chocolate shop and spends their lazy days getting massage and manicures then you know where to find me. Everyone has to do their bit in the fight against obesity. Sign me up.

1 comment:

  1. Ooh, a chocolate shop owner who gets manicures and massages all day? Does such a person exist? *elbows you aside to grab the CDD job first*


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