We’re back in the pointless world of The Diet Testers, where hapless victims of diet culture are put on weight cycling diets for the entertainment of the evil Dr X. It’s time for Sue and Lucy to be weighed after their incredibly irresponsible 2 week crash diets. Sue loses 3.6kg in 2 weeks, and Dr X thinks this is great, even though it was because she was drunk the whole time. Lucy loses 8kg in 2 weeks, and instead of checking her for signs of cancer, Dr X has asked her out on a date.
“Cured’ of their fatness and now deemed acceptable to be seen in bikinis in public, Sue & Lucy go to a day spa where there are absolutely no other people to see them. What a win.
Sue raves maniacally about the diet and insists she’s going to keep dieting and lose even more weight, but with her body in severe starvation mode we know she’s up against it. Lucy says that the ‘Australian CSIRO diet’ is fucking hard work and needs A LOT of planning, what with all the bbqs and the bad English weather, but she still claims she loves it. She’s planning to quit her job and work full time at Bunnings so she can keep up the food prep.
The good Dr finally squeezes in a ‘crash dieting can be dangerous’ comment at the end of their segment but everyone knows he doesn’t mean it because he keeps gloating WEIGHT LOSS WOW. It’s infuriating: we KNOW that 2 weeks into a crash diet, people feel on top of the world. But 70 years of weight science research shows us that they are going to regain the weight, possibly even more than they started with, and feel like shit again. Sue and Lucy have already had this experience at least one time before after their gym starvation period. Why promote this as a ‘success’ story Dr X? It’s a fucking trap! I throw a shoe at the tv screen, and the cat hides underneath the couch.
Now we’re introduced to ‘Shape Shifters’ (WTF??) Fi and Sarah. Sarah is 60 in 6 weeks and wants to lose weight ‘for her birthday party’. Fi is a chronic dieter who has trouble ‘sticking’ to diets (ie, like most of us). She publicly shames herself during her intro, believing that it’s her fault that dieting isn’t working for her. Sarah joins in during the next sequence, where both of them dutifully body shame themselves and one calls cheese her ‘demon’. It’s hard to watch.
They sit down with Dr Judgypants and the mute dietitian and both want to lose over a stone in 6 weeks. Neither of the health professionals bat an eyelid at this, and Fi is sentenced to the ‘wild diet’ (hello paleo) in which everything she eats she has to kill herself.
It’s obscenely expensive as everything has to be organic but it says that people can lose 10kg in 40 days. Mostly because they can’t afford anything. And meals have ‘only one ingredient’ wtf?
Stacie the café chef immediately breaks the rules, bringing out some lamb mince she stole off Bharat’s eggplant, topped with sweet potato. She rather optimistically calls this ‘wild shepherd’s pie,’ which is a lie because 1) no potato, and 2) Stacie didn’t hunt the lamb herself.
Proving he’s now scraping the bottom of the diet barrel, Dr X has sentenced 60 year old Sarah to a diet app called “Lose It’. It’s basically a calorie controlled diet, but to make life utterly irritating you have to enter everything you eat into the phone. Sarah is not a millenial. Sarah is going to HATE this.
The café chef plonks 2 tiny scallops on a bed of rocket and a smear of avocado. Her voice shakes as she declares “it looks like a salad, but it’s more substantial than that cause it’s got avocado”. I’m really worried about Stacie.
“Nope. That’s just a salad…”
Dr X is meeting with Dr Tim Spectre, who does gut biome stuff. Dr X can’t quite believe that dieting isn’t all about calories in and calories out and hang on why is he on this show? He seriously needs a crash course in weight science. Anyway, his mind is blown when Dr Spectre drops the bold statement that if a gut biome is ‘diverse’, the human attached will be ‘lean and healthy.’
Dr Spectre also says that if you get a diverse gut biome you’ll lose lots of weight. He then hedges his bets by saying this is a ‘long game’ which is a neat way of saying he actually has no evidence to back up that little nugget of feelpinion. Dr X gets his gut biome tested for diversity and we have to watch him doing a poo in a public toilet, which is TMI.
Sarah hates the app. She’s not a tech savvy person so why did they force her to do this diet? Why didn’t they give her the cabbage soup diet? Poor Sarah has to scan barcodes of all her foods into the phone and it’s horrible to watch. Valiantly, after spending a mere 4 hours prepping her stir fry and entering each teaspoon of soy sauce into the phone, she says it’s delicious.
Fi is edging closer to insanity on the wild diet, completely overloaded with expensive and wanky foods and weird pagan food rules. For someone who’s usually broken her diet by Thursday, I’m betting this one will bite the dust by Tuesday morning. But the cameras are still rolling and she’s gone all zen and Gwyneth-like. I’m pretty sure there’s a jade egg involved.
Sarah gets busted in a field drinking champagne that she hasn’t told her phone about.
Atul is trying to mind map his way into food prison, by writing a list of good and bad foods on a whiteboard. 10 minutes later he is spotted heading to a curry house. He and Bharat have been ‘avoiding parties’ because they have food at parties and food is bad. But fuck it.
Fi and Sarah borrow a bike off The Goodies and escape to a café (not one with the diet chef in it) and order actual food. The good Dr throws shade at them from the safety of his studio. Fi annoys the chef by asking for no toast. Sarah orders a full English and says she’s happy to eat lettuce for dinner.
By now Sarah is hand writing everything she’s eating because the app thing sucks so badly. It’s heart breaking. She says she feels like ‘a naughty schoolgirl’.
Both women cannot stick to these ridiculous regimes, and both of them keep being ‘naughty’. I’m seeing a pattern here, are you Dr?
Nope! Because Sarah lost 4.9 kg in 6 weeks. So did Fi. Although she’s ‘appy’ (the Dr’s joke), Sarah says she hates the diet and won’t keep it up. Fi says she will, because she is now being sponsored by Goop.
Dr X goes back to the poo people, who tell him that his gut biome isn’t diverse enough. Which is slightly confusing as the Dr is thin and good looking, so the Laws of the Poo Universe are perhaps wrong? The poo consultant tells him to improve his gut diversity by increasing the range of foods he eats, and not cutting out things like carbs, and I wonder who’s going to break this news to Lucy. The poo experts tell the Dr that he now has to eat 50 different types of fruit and vegies a week, and I am 90% sure it’s just to get back at him for acting like a bit of a prick.
Dr X sees straight through this crazy advice, and immediately hunts for a more rational solution. He’s now skyping some American guy who swallowed poo straight from a thin person, just to see what options are out there. Internet coprophiliac guy tells him that after swallowing someone else’s poo, he lost a ‘crazy’ amount of weight. Not seeing any red flags, Dr X is impressed. He warns viewers not to try this at home, but you know that it’s probably too late.
He goes to see an actual poo transplanter, an expert in medical applications of ‘fecal transfer’ (yes, apparently that’s a thing) and asks him if it’s good for weight loss. The expert doesn’t think so. The Dr is crushed. He might need to eat his veggies after all. You know, like he’s been telling all of his victims throughout the show.
Once again, even though the most qualified person on the program has given him a ‘no’ to using thin people’s poo poo for weight loss, the Dr still concludes optimistically that we ‘can’t poo poo the poo pills just yet’.
I don’t see why not.
Atul loses 3.6 kg. Bharat loses just over a stone and rubs Atul’s face in it. They both believe they’ll keep dieting forever. They do their Bollywood dance sequence, which is full of Indian people in larger bodies. I have no idea why they ‘needed’ to lose weight for this scene.
And that’s that. We have just watched 6 people endure voluntary starvation diets. All of them struggled and broke the rules, including the leader of the diet cult, Dr X. The bleeding obvious consequence of dieting: that almost no-one can do it, was incredibly never discussed apart from the odd disparaging, victim-blaming comment. Everyone’s relationship with food was impacted, and ‘banned’ foods became extraordinarily appealing. The long term impact of these diets were never mentioned, nor was the likelihood of weight regain. The contestant’s reasons for weight loss were appearance based and short term, and had nothing to do with health. Overall, this insipid, shallow take on dieting was disturbing to watch.
I hate this show!!
PS Good news – Lucy ghosted Dr X for their date. She’s not that into poo.