Village Faces Nightmare on ELMM-Street?

Last night I had a chance to catch up with the first episode of Village on a Diet, a new CBC “reality show” that documents the efforts of the inhabitants of Taylor, a small village in British Columbia, to lose 1 ton in 10 weeks.

Frankly, I found the 45 minutes painful to watch. Not because of the magnitude of the obesity problem in this little town or because of the evidently appalling lifestyles of its inhabitants, but rather, because the approach to tackling obesity (as far as I can tell from watching one episode) appears to be entirely based on the overly simplistic formula of “eat-less-move-more” (ELMM), which we know simply does not work for the majority of people with excess weight.

While the boot-camp drill-sergeant approach to chastising and chasing the unfortunate participants across fields and up hill slopes or cleaning out “junk food” from pantries and refrigerators may provide cheap voyeuristic entertainment, I have little hope that any of this will result in lasting success as far as long-term weight management is concerned.

Rather than launching into a point-by-point criticism of this episode of Village on a Diet, I would like to simply refer my readers to yesterday’s scathing review by my colleague Yoni Freedhoff on his blog Weighty Matters.

As one of the commenters on Freedhoff’s post so rightly points out:

Honestly, it seems like this show would actually contribute to the obesogenic environment by perpetuating the idea that exercise = pain, weight loss = deprivation, and motivation = yelling. If I was on the fence about becoming more active, imagery of a couple of buff folks yelling at me to work ’til I vomit would dissuade me right quick.

Perhaps the show will get better – I guess we’ll see.

Nevertheless, I’d certainly love to hear what my readers have to say about this show so far.

If you’ve missed the episode, Canadian readers can view it here.

Edmonton, Alberta