A&E’s? new? reality show Fit to Fat to suit? takes the thought of yo-yo dieting to some whole new level. With what the network is? calling? “the most extreme weight reduction experiment ever,”? fitness experts agree to pack on pounds to allow them to? shed weight? alongside their overweight clients.
The series, which premiered yesterday, is hosted? by Drew Manning, the personal trainer who famously? gained after which lost 75 pounds? on purpose. (In the fall? of 2014 he dramatically revealed his back-to-ripped? body? on Good Morning America to promote his? book about the experience.) “Getting fit again was the hardest thing That i have ever done, but it helped me a better man,” he states within the opening credits of Fit to Fat to Fit.
Inspired by Manning’s journey (or gimmick, for the way you look at? it),? the show? follows 10 trainers because they abandon their? rigorous diets and use? routines to intentionally gain as much weight as possible, under medical supervision, for four months. Then? they use their customers to get fit together.
When we learned about the? show our first thought? was,? How can this often be safe? In the end, we’ve read? time and again that both? extreme putting on weight? and fad diets pose? serious risks.
It turns out we weren’t the only ones to possess that reaction. On Twitter, lots of people? expressed concern that Fit to Fat to Fit? was? portraying? something troubling? at best and straight-up dangerous at worst.
</p> <blockquote><p lang="en" dir="ltr">"fit to fat to fit"<br>…. um WTF?! who would do that privately and why is it likely to be on television.. smh</p>— emmy (@emilytaingxo) January 7, 2016</blockquote> <p>
</p> <blockquote><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Fit to Fat to suit is an interesting television show concept however , dangerous. But I such as the premise. I'm all conflicted.</p>— the jinkiest slip (@LetsJustNotOk_) January 3, 2016</blockquote> <p>
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After watching the premiere, it’s difficult? to not be moved through the enormous personal sacrifice the trainers make? to higher understand the challenges their clients face.? And it is interesting to watch their? perspectives evolve. JJ Peterson, for example, starts out completely unsympathetic:? “Who on the planet wouldn’t desire to be thinner, to be healthier, to possess more energy?” he states.? “Being healthy is really a choice. If you aren’t healthy, change.”
Meanwhile his client, Ray Stewart, articulates? why changing is way easier in theory.? “Oh, ‘Eat less and work out,”’ he states, mimicking the conventional advice. “Wow, why didn’t I believe about this? It is a little insulting.? I doubt a trainer would really understand that? emotional pull those meals has.”
But? after JJ doubles? his caloric intake and wears? 61? pounds (prepare to feel a little sick as he stuffs himself with? burgers, pizzas, and milkshakes) his outlook? changes: “The more time passes in this experiment, the greater empathy I’m gaining,” he says.
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While? it’s heartwarming to witness the prosperity of JJ and Ray (spoiler alert: they both lose a lot of weight), Fit to Fat to Fit is? still an incredibly irresponsible? “experiment.”
Putting on a few pounds isn’t? necessarily harmful? if you’re? eating? healthy fats, lean proteins, lots of fruits and veggies, and staying physically active. But? trouble starts whenever you pack on? weight from? a high-calorie diet that also includes a lot? of saturated fats, as JJ appears to do on the show.
“Weight gain such as this can increase your chance of diabetes, hypertension, and mortality in general,” says? Bartolome Burguera, MD, PhD, an endocrinologist at the Cleveland Clinic and Director of Obesity Programs.
When you consume? considerable amounts of fatty foods, deposits of fat get? kept in parts of your muscles and organs, especially? your liver, explains? Eneida O. Roldan, MD, an? associate professor of pathology at? Florida International University. “And a diet that’s heavy in saturated fat raises LDL? levels of cholesterol, causing plaque to build up in? your arteries,” she says.
Then there’s JJ’s lack of exercise while he’s trying to gain weight. The? sedentary habits he? adopts would? make? the harm? he’s doing with his diet? a whole lot worse.? “What many people don’t realize is that a sedentary lifestyle in and of itself may cause cardiovascular problems, even if you’re thin,” Dr. Roldan says. “So eating a high-calorie diet and not exercising? That’s like a double-whammy for your health.”
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Fortunately for the trainers on the show, the answer is yes. “Acute, short-term physical changes are usually reversible,” says Dr. Roldan. “In this case, with somebody that was once in good physical shape coupled with healthy habits, it will likely be very quickly reversible.”
Dr.? Burguera agrees: “Recent literature does not suggest that weight ‘cycling’ such as this necessarily increases morbidity or mortality.”
But another big question remains: Does this whole experiment even make sense? Can a couple really share the same weight loss journey?
Not exactly,? as you might have guessed. A? trainer who’s probably a thinner, healthier person would? possess a distinct advantage, says Dr. Burguera.? “If a lean? person? gains weight, it will likely be relatively? easy? for them to lose? it again, as their brain will be? programmed to crave? fewer calories,” he explains.
“In order to really understand what it ‘feels’ like to be an overweight person can not lose? weight, a 160-pound person would have to actually lose 20 pounds for example.” Only then would they experience the? intense hunger usually gone through by an overweight person (whose brain is programmed to want more calories) dieting.
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The real problem with weight loss reality shows like this one, says Dr. Roldan,? is that they? don’t always address? the long-term behavioral changes that? are necessary to establish healthy? habits. Weight reduction can take years of effort, she points out.? “As a physician, I disagree with what they’re doing. Any change of structure takes a lifetime to determine. And it is important to consult with a physician who understands weight loss and has seasoned skills in how to treat these conditions.”
People forget that obesity is a chronic disease, adds Dr.? Burguera. “It’s not always as easy as simply? eating less and exercising more,” he says.? “The key to maintaining weight reduction over a long time is making small changes you can stay with. Specifically, enhancing your diet, involved in an exercise program, getting enough quality sleep, and managing stress.”