I’ve recently been watching a British show that showed up on YouTube called Supersize vs Superskinny. If you haven’t seen it, which I assume you haven’t, because I never had until I came across it randomly, the premise is that they take one person who is very fat and another person who is very skinny, pair them up and put them in a house where they have to eat each other’s diets for a couple days. Experiencing the other person’s disordered diet, they are able to help the other person while learning about and healing their own food issues in the process. At least that’s the goal. Generally it works, the fat person learns to eat smaller portions and the skinny person learns to eat more, and at the end of the episode when we see them at a follow-up weigh we learn how much weight they gained or lost, and admire their generally improved appearances.
I love makeover shows in general, and food shows, so this is right up my alley. It makes me just so happy to watch people learn to treat themselves with respect… It’s inspiring to me. (“What Not To Wear,” another of my favorites, has a similar formula.) The fat person gets sad when they see someone else struggle with their elephantine portion size, and the skinny person feels guilty when they see the fat person sitting in front of an empty or barely filled plate meal after meal. Everyone finally gets to the point where they think “How could I treat myself like that, I want to live a better life” and then they leave and presumably DO lead better lives. I LOVE it when people go on to lead better lives. IT’S JUST SO FREAKING INSPIRATIONAL, YOU KNOW?
Because most of these people have some sort of psychological issues that got them to this point, they have to do additional exercises to pinpoint and confront said issues and the harm their eating habits are causing them. For example, the skinny person will look at a picture of a malnourished tongue, and talk about how they stopped eating when their parents got divorced because it was the only thing they could control. The fat person will look at a picture of, say, a bowel cancer, and they’ll talk about how they were in a bad relationship and started eating to kill their feelings. This is a crucial step for their recoveries.
And there’s always one additional step to scare the overeaters into reforming. They must stare the demon right in the face, look directly at the horror of what they might become. Generally it shocks them directly into immediately pledging reform. What in the world could scare them this badly? They take a trip to the United States.
Each supersizer is paired with a massively obese American, and they come visit the generally homebound person, who talks about their poor quality of life, how they can’t play with their kids, about the massive quantities of prescription drugs they have to take, about their sleep apnea and problems getting around. Actually, those are just the lucky ones. The one who are really bad off are bed bound, have lost limbs to diabetes, can’t get out of bed or wipe their own asses. And then they share a meal with the supersizer, who is shocked by the massive portion size. (Remember, this is generally someone who already eats 2-3 times the amount that a normal person.) The supersizer is shocked into changing their eating habits, lest their quality of life become as bad as the American.
AND, that’s what America has become, a real-life boogy man, a living example of the horrors that could occur if other people don’t change their eating habits.
The emphasis put on it is incredible. Hillbilly music starts playing, banjos or a harmonica, under shot after shot of fast food restaurants and fat American rear ends while voiceover intones, “To teach (fatso) about just WHAT her poor eating habits might lead to, we took her to the EPICENTER of the obesity epidemic, AMERICA, to show her just where her bad eating habits will lead.” Then it cuts to a generally very nice and shockingly obese person, and who serves as a living warning to the supersizer to change their ways.
The sad thing is, is this really what we have become? A warning to other people to change their ways? I guess so, and the people they dug up for the show are really, incredibly obese. It just strikes me, there’s something wrong. There’s something wrong with us, that people are getting this way. I don’t think it’s entirely the fault of the food industry, although cheap abundant crappy food has definitely contributed to it, I think there’s a general sadness. Or sickness, or unhappiness… Loneliness? And that’s what we’re not helping people with.
Just think, all of the supersizers or superskinnys got there because there was something wrong, something that they weren’t dealing with properly. America is used as a warning to them of how bad things can get, so there’s something we’re not dealing with, some sort of cultural psychological wound that we’re not dealing with.
It’s just a theory, and I don’t know what it is, or how to deal with it exactly, if I figure it out and figure out how to heal everyone I have not doubt I would be hailed as a genius, but I put it out there, what’s making us sick? Or is this just a dumb theory?