Since when did it become acceptable to air shows like these?
According to my friends, one of my most annoying traits is that I don’t use Twitter. Coming from a budding journalist, maybe I should consider upping my Twitter game, but I’ve really never gotten into it. Meaning I am always late to trends, always late to breaking news and always behind on what everyone is talking about.
So, just now, sat on my bed with Emily she started to tell me about a new BBC show called The Restaurant That Burns Off Calories. She went on to explain to me that the whole idea of the show is that a group of diners are invited to eat a meal, where in a gym opposite, are a team of fitness fanatics burning off every calorie that they eat. The whole premise of the show is based off the fact that when we physically see how much we need to exercise to burn calories, we eat 20% less.
Besides from total shock, my first thought that came to my head was “What the FUCKKK!!.” I seriously needed to get on Twitter to research the bullshit that is this show.
Coming from someone who has battled with anorexia for 2 years, I was more than disappointed to hear that something as dangerous and senseless could be aired on TV. Not only is the entire idea of the show absolutely shameful, but the fact that it has been made by the BBC (yes, you read that right) is slightly sickening. So, to explain that further, the £150 you pay a year for a TV licence goes towards the BCC, for them to only spend it on trash like this.
How come all of a sudden, we are back to the old ways where we have to ‘earn food?’. I thought that we were starting to quash everything to do with diet culture. Everything on the media that tells us to cut out the carbs and spend an extra 30 minutes on the treadmill. We were finally entering a society where what we ate and the way we looked (in real life and in the media) was not the biggest thing on everyone’s minds.
I cannot stress enough that exercise is NOT a way to punish yourself for eating or a way to relieve any guilt you may be feeling. Trust me, that is easier said than done. I used to have such a negative relationship when it came to exercise. I could not go one single day without exercise. Even drunk after a night out I would go to the bathroom to do jumping jacks. I got into the mindset that I only deserve food If I ate. So, for those who are easily triggered by content like this, it is genuinely appalling that the BBC are encouraging said messages to be aired.
Thankfully, eating disorder charity, Beat, quickly made a statement about the show saying: We strongly discourage anyone with an eating disorder to watch the BBC2 programme [sic] The Restaurant that Burns Off Calories airing tonight,’ and released that since the show has aired there has been a 30% increase in the number of calls.
The BBC did reach out about the issue to say: ‘The voiceover is clear throughout that there are government guidelines for the recommended number of calories needed for the average man or woman to remain healthy (2500 for men and 2000 for women). The programme never endorses or suggests restricting calories below these levels.’ However, whether or whether not they reinforce how we ‘should’ behave around food, they are still promoting very disordered behaviours and encouraging poor thoughts around food in those who watch it.
I know I have had a rant, but really, I am truly saddened by everything that this show represents and that the step back that we have taken in society. I know that we can do better than this, and I only hope that people who choose to watch this show, do it with the right intentions. Because please remember, you do NOT need to exercise to deserve food.
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Beat (Eating Disorder Charity) Helpline: 0808 801 0677; Youthline: 0808 801 0711