I’m a long-time TV fan but as I get older, my time is precious. I want to watch things that I find really entertaining. And with the rise of more fat representation on TV, there are more things for me to think about watching. But just because something includes a fat person doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a great show.
So in this episode, Aaron and I discussed the viewing options presented over the past year (thanks to streaming!) and offered up some criticism to help you in deciding what to watch. And it is summer after all, which, if you’re old enough, you remember as the time of summer reruns and trying to figure out what’s on that’s good (apparently this is no longer a problem, but nostalgia dies hard in my home).
In this episode, we talked about the TV show Dietland, based on the book of the same name by Sarai Walker, that aired last year on AMC and now streams on Hulu, and Shrill, which debuted this spring and runs on Hulu as well. We also mention a few shows with dubious fat representation that we have not and will not be watching (return of The Biggest Loser, Insatiable) for a variety of reasons.
Last year, Aaron and I did a podcast on how much we hated the terrible, exploitative show The Biggest Loser. Some data had just come out about how participants metabolisms had all but flat-lined and stayed that way for years after their time on the show. For us, it was no surprise, but it was good to finally see some data supporting what we already knew (and what data from other studies also showed).
Imagine, then, how delighted we were when we heard that The Biggest Loser would NOT be returning this year for another round of fat-people abuse. We REALLY needed to celebrate this – and who better to celebrate with than a former contestant of the show?
Kai Hibbard was a season 3 contestant who came in second that year. Since then, she’s become an outspoken critic of the show and its tactics, a proponent for body positivity, and an all ’round riots-not-diets kind of sHero. When we contacted her to see if she’d like to come on our podcast and toast the end of this shit-show of shame, she was all in.
What followed was an honest exposé of her time on the show, how she developed extremely disordered eating during and after the show, her eventual recovery and transformation into a body positive warrior. Yes, there is lots and lots of swearing, too.
And while we have no doubt this is not truly the end of the exploitation of fat people for the profit of network TV, we think it was a nice little nail in the coffin. We need to celebrate every win against diet culture.
Greetings Dietitians Unplugged Podcast fans! We’ve got a new episode for you! Aaron and I let it all out as we discuss a show that epitomizes our current diet culture, NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” We discuss the widely-shared article in the New York Times that reviewed the latest research on how contestants’ metabolisms have yet to recover even six years after being on the show. We also talk about Sarah Aamodt’s great article from the NYT about why you should never diet again. And we quote one of our favorite HAES® colleagues, Deb Burgard in this great article. Take a listen to this very important episode — it might be the one you need to hear before you consider going on your next “diet.”
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