Last night I was flipping through the channels, and I came across a re-run of the Tyra Banks Show. I don’t usually watch her show because, frankly, she’s a lousy talk show host, but I decided to watch this one because of the topic: Diet Wars. When I first heard that title I knew that it was going to be a train wreck because of the word “war.” I am currently reading A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, and I had read the following passage yesterday morning.
“These days you frequently hear the expression ‘the war against’ this or that, and whenever I hear it, I know that t is condemned to failure…War is a mind-set, and all action that comes out of such a mind-set will either strengthen the enemy, the perceived evil, or, if the war is won, will create a new enemy, a new evil equal to and often worse than the one that was defeated.”
So, in light of that quote, I was concerned that combining the word “diet” with the word “war” might just turn into a perfect storm. Turns out I was right. It may have been the worst display of diet mentality I have ever seen on TV.
This show was actually the follow up Diet Wars show. On the first show, Tyra teamed up three diet gurus with three teams of two women each. The teams were supposed to compete. The guru whose team lost the most weight after three months would win. I probably don’t need to tell you that this show ended up drenched in destructive diet mentality.
The first team was lead by Dr. Ian Smith author of The Fat Smash Diet. I don’t know anything about the diet (and I don’t particularly want to), but his team was by far the most “successful.” These two women lost a combined total of 69 pounds in just three months! Dr. Smith spent the rest of the show gloating about how his diet is the best diet.
The second team was lead by Jillian Michaels who is a diet coach from The Biggest Loser. I have never watched that show, but what I have heard about it reeks of all-or-nothing diet mentality. Anyway, her team “failed” to comply with her plan, and they “only” lost a combined total of 25 pounds. The team admitted to not following Michaels’ plan. She told them that they had to completely give up pizza, which they refused to do. They said that they didn’t understand why they couldn’t have a piece of pizza now and then and still lose weight. That’s a very good question if you ask me!
But what really drove them away from Michaels’ plan was the exercise. These two women were significantly overweight and didn’t exercise at all, so what did Michaels’ have them start out with? A spinning class! They said they felt like they were going to die fifteen minutes into the hour long class and that they weren’t willing to put themselves through that again. Something tells me that Michaels would have had better results if she had eased them into exercising instead of dropping them into an extremely challenging class.
The worst part of this show (and there were many bad parts) was that Tyra was clearly horrified by how these women “failed.” She lectured the women and then gushed to Michaels about how successful she is as a diet guru and was so apologetic at how her team had “failed.” Tyra clearly felt bad for Michaels! If 100 people went on Michaels plan, at least 95 would “fail.” Michaels’ failure rate may actually be higher than that, as her diet sounded like it is particularly difficult to follow. Yet Tyra clearly didn’t see it that way. She kept saying that this isn’t how she envisioned the show going, and she placed all the blame for that on the dieters. I wanted to jump through the TV screen and ask Tyra to take a closer look to see what was really going on.
Diets don’t work. Crazy, hard-core, all-or-nothing diets REALLY don’t work. How do people not know this? Evidence that they don’t work is everywhere. It’s difficult to find any evidence that they do work. Yet most people persist in thinking that diets are the answer. I guess it shouldn’t be so shocking that Tyra was surprised by the “failure” of the Diet Wars. I’m sure most of her viewers felt the same way.
If you want to read the synopsis of this show on Tyra’s website here’s the link. Just a warning, the person who wrote the synopsis did a great job sugar coated Tyra’s reaction.