My Big Fat Pile of Trash

TV in January always has the usual run of weight loss programmes, count down to summer bikini diets and the like, but this year the television bosses have really outdone themselves with last nights fare, “My Big Fat Diet” featuring Claire Sweeney. For those of you that missed it Claire Sweeney (TV presenter/ former soap star) put aside her usual healthy eating plan for six weeks and ate whatever she liked instead- cue chips, burgers, cakes, full fat milk etc and we watched her poke and prod her expanding body as she piled on the pounds, 28 of them in all over six weeks. As she got bigger we saw her try and fail to squeeze herself into one of her favourite dresses, tell us that she felt like the Michelin man and go to a cosmetic surgeon in LA so they could tell her how fat she was and explain the procedures they could perform on her in order to help make her “Hollywood skinny”.

I was amused. I was amused by the absolute pointless tosh I was watching and I was amused by my own inability to permanently change the channel. I was mesmerised by the drivel and even though I was also watching “Celebrity Big Brother” on another channel (I was having a trash TV- a- thon) I kept flicking back to see what daft direction the show was going to go in next. It was billed as a project to show the effect of an unhealthy diet on the body which it did in the most simplistic and effortless way possible. While I agree that a constant diet of burger and chips isn’t a grand idea for anyone, I don’t think that message was this shows main achievement. Its main achievement was to fill a slot in a television schedule and provide airtime for a celebrity. I have nothing against Claire Sweeney herself, I just think the programme was crap. If ITV were really interested in educating people on the negative aspects of a bad diet they would have created something with a lot more substance and a lot less froth.


2 Comments on “My Big Fat Pile of Trash”

  1. I made a point of avoiding this particular pile o’ cack as I knew it would make me want to put my foot through the TV screen in seconds flat. It seems to me the entire purpose of it was to reinforce the idea – yet again – that all fat people are fat because they eat too much, and that what they choose to eat to the exclusion of anything else is junk. (With the added implication that fat people are too stupid to realise the connection and too weak-willed to resist the compulsion). Which, considering fat people make up about around half the population, and there are any number of reasons as to why an individual might be fat, is a simplistic, propagandist crock that I for one am soooooo tired of hearing. Out of curiosity did you notice who the advertisers were during the breaks? I’ll bet Weight Watchers, Rosemary Conley and all the rest were giving it their all for the sake of their ever-swelling wallets – oh, and the “good of our health”, of course.

    I don’t know Claire Sweeney personally but I’m willing to bet that working in an industry that demands slenderness, the sole purpose of her allegedly healthy diet is weight control, which would make it a diet in the chronic restrained eating sense, as opposed to a genuinely healthy, well-balanced, everything-in-moderation eating regime. The reasoning behind my cynicism? Because people who practice the latter do generally eat what they want when they want and their weight remains stable. The former will keep an artificially achieved weight down if sustained for a long period of time but will, if abandoned, result in weight gain. Since binge is the flipside of denial the more restrictive and draconian the regime, the more “unhealthy” the resultant food choices are likely to be when relaxed and the more substantial that weight gain is likely to be. Claire Sweeney’s example of eating what she wants when she wants is purely representative of how dieting has affected her individual psyche. Presenting it, just as Morgan Spurlock did, as the diet of the average fat person is disingenuous

    Last time I checked, mental health was a big component of overall health. Guilt, obsessive “unhealthy” food cravings, loss of intuitive eating skills, fear of becoming or being perceived of as fat and, with it, stupid and out of control, (which is where I came in), are not indicative to me of a sane or healthy society but one racked with fear and self-loathing.

    Sorry for the essay, Dee but this stuff really gets my goat!

  2. Deena says:

    Essay length but bang on point! No, I didn’t notice who the advertisers were during the break (I went back to Big Brother) but I would bet good money that Weightwatchers was one of them. This sort of programming makes me want to get rid of my telly altogether. There is one advantage though. Since the show aired an awful lot of people have found this blog through searching Claire Sweeney and the programme title. I hope they didn’t expect to find a glowing review here. Mind you, most people seem to be more interested in finding out where her maxi dress came from! Hello to all the new readers!


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