Thursday, March 17, 2011

Village on a Diet epilogue: Weight loss=Exercise, Obesity=Laziness

Yesterday I finally got around to watching the final episode of Village on a Diet - Canada's answer to The Biggest Loser.

The episode saw the experts going back to Taylor to see how everyone was doing.

Oh, but not all the experts. Perhaps because they were barely included in the show they didn't bother bringing back the registered dietitian or the clinical psychologist.

The show wasn't surprising, and that wasn't a good thing.

So did they keep it off? Some did and some didn't. Some gained and some lost, just as anyone might have imagined. One thing for certain was maintained, in fact I'd say it was hammered home - the show's overarching message that weight loss is all about exercise.

The show visits Brent and Sheena who were discussing their post-miscarriage struggles. They blamed their lack of commitment to exercise, "The exercise hasn’t really been my priority lately", said Brent. Dr. Ali, while certainly understanding of the major life event they'd gone through, was then shown to explain to Brent and Sheena that if they don't exercise 30-60 minutes a day they're 10x less likely to keep their weight off.

Next we see Jamie head to the gym to impress trainer Mike. He works her to the point where it appears she throws up into her mouth - cause you know it doesn't really count unless there's vomit.

Next we revisit Colleen. She hasn't done very well. There's no discussion surrounding her food at all, just her dropping off fitness. As a solution Dr. Ali explains to her that her, "assignment for the year", is to be on the treadmill every day at 1pm. Here the show also makes a point of spending precious airtime having Colleen explain away obesity to laziness as Colleen explains directly to the camera that it's laziness that has kept her from success.

Her daughter Sarah's done surprisingly well. Surprising because she was stubborn about change during the time the CBC was in Taylor. She ascribes her success to? You guessed it - exercise. But given the exercise she reports doing is walking the track at a gentle pace for 15 minutes when she can find the time, I'm thinking her success has far more to do with the fact that she also reports she's no longer eating junk food and that she's making healthier meals for herself and her family.

And there's lots of tears and thank yous - with every last one of them going to the personal trainers.

So there you have it Canada, just move more.

In the end, Village on a Diet should have been titled, Village on an Exercise Program, and the show Dr. Sharma brilliantly coined, "a Nightmare on ELMM (Eat Less, Move More) Street", was predominantly just a Nightmare on MM Street because at least according to the CBC's chosen clips, food, or anything else for that matter, has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

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  1. Monisha12:00 pm

    I gained about 15 pounds a couple years back and decided to finally attempt to lose it at the beginning of this year. I'm a 40-year-old, 5'4" woman. Because i love to exercise, i decided to initially try just exercising. I was doing 5 hours of rather intense cardio work and about 1.5 hours of resistance training (free weights) per week. Over a five week period, i lost a total of 1 pound. I felt great and it was enormously good for stress management - and i have largely continued to exercise alot since. But obviously, it was not going to help me lose the weight and i suspect for many people the story would be the same. Your description of the show is so sad.

  2. Anonymous2:15 pm

    And that someone who is probably diabetic will feel sleepy and lazy, especially after meals...

    And that a younger person will have a higher metabolism....

    And that "working out" is the most boring and detested way of getting exericise.

    Bye. Heading out to the park, where I will walk and feed birds for about an hour. I'll be sure to include a 15 mins segment in the middle to get into my heartrate zone.

  3. Anonymous8:48 pm

    Unless you were food compensating for the exercise expenditure you should have gone down in size Monisha, and if you were weight training, you would have changed the shape of your body. For example, a woman weight training will develop her shoulders from just lat pull downs, her calves from calf-raises. Etc.

  4. Anonymous7:33 am

    Nutrition is such a major component of weight loss. Not just exercising. A combination of both is the key-calories out have to be less than calories in. You can do that without the major exercising shown on these types of shows.

  5. Anonymous10:04 am

    Oh. Oh. JAMA comes out with warnings on lap bands.

  6. Anonymous12:56 am

    Hi Yoni, this is Adele, the psychologist from Village on a Diet. I just wanted to say that I have enjoyed your postings about the show and issues surrounding health and wellness in Canada. My decision to be involved in the show was the hope that I could educate Canadians on the importance of understanding the emotional, social, and cognitive experiences that impact our weight. It was a lofty goal to de-stigmatize and get people excited about how to use their brains to overcome their weight struggles, knowing that the many hours of time I spent with the people of Taylor would never make it to the viewers television set. I can only continue to work hard at trying to get the message out, and learn how to be utilized in the social media so that Canadians will learn that weight loss is more than what you eat or how far you run. many regards, adele fox