Claire Sweeney’s Big Fat Diet ~ Review

When I saw this show advertised, I figured it was another Supersize Me type show and expected it to be somewhat preachy and prattle on about health and wellbeing and how we should all just live on aduki beans and go to the gym for 12 hours a day…

However, it actually wasn’t like that at all and was in fact fascinating and for me, it’s motivated me to shift the pounds that I’ve been too lazy for several weeks to do anything about. It was startling to see just how quickly weight goes on.

The show opened with a round up of Claire’s state of health before she undertook the Big Fat Diet and she was in peak condition.

At 9st 13lbs, 5ft 8ins, with a BMI of 21.3 and a waist 27ins, she ticked all the right boxes in terms of her general health and how she looked.

We then heard how Claire didn’t intend to binge or anything like that; she was just going to eat what she fancied without ‘putting the brakes on’.

She then went to do a grocery shop for her BFD and bought items she’d never normally buy such as full fat milk, cakes and white chocolate.

In a restaurant, she looked at the menu whereas normally she wouldn’t in order to avoid temptation.

Claire then went on a trip to Majorca to see old friends, one of whom was Mandy who’d been dieting for quite some time. She said that it was quite odd to watch Claire indulging in whatever she wanted to eat because ordinarily, it would be Claire who encouraged Mandy not to eat certain things and would set a good example by being disciplined herself.

Another of her friends, Dion, was astonished to see Claire squeezed unflatteringly into a size 10 dress that a couple of weeks before had fitted her perfectly and flattered her flawless figure. Just that short time later, having been indulging in what she wanted to eat for that time, Claire did in fact look pregnant in the dress and it hugged in a very unflattering way.

After three weeks, Claire had put on nearly a stone, her BMI had gone up, she’d gained 5½ inches on her stomach and her exercise tolerance had dropped.

On a trip to LA, Claire met with Pamela Shae, a Hollywood casting director, who told her that if she wanted roles there, she’d have to drop at least two dress sizes.

Claire then went to visit her old friend and TV presenter Ross King who took a fair while to drag his eyes away from her enlarged and very visible breasts. However, when he did, he and Claire talked about how her weight gain was affecting her and it became clear that she was feeling very conscious of it and it was negatively impacting on her psyche.

Within five weeks, she’d put on 1½ stone and after six weeks, Claire weighed 11st 12½ lbs and had a body fat level of 33% and had gained 10 inches on her waist. Her blood pressure had rocketed and she was now at a point where she was at much greater risk for cardio vascular disorders as well as diabetes.

Now the fact is, none of us really need to be told that it’s bad for us to be fat. We know. But what made this programme unique was that it showed how very dramatically different people could look and feel depending upon their diet. We really are what we eat.

Ordinarily with slimming and dieting type shows, we see the before and after the other way round – we start out seeing a big person who becomes a slimmer person but in this case, we saw the dramatic effects the weight gain had on Claire, and it was an eye opener.

Unlike shows of the ilk of the film Supersize Me, which examined the health effects of living off McDonalds, this show didn’t involve Claire binging on anything specific, she just ate what she felt like eating, which is how the majority of us live.

It’s hard work being self-disciplined and controlled and many of us – myself included – simply don’t do it, which is why there’s an obesity epidemic in the UK and America.

I must say I found this programme fascinating, and I have to applaud Claire for doing it. For someone whose livelihood depends on her looking slim and trim, she risked a lot for this programme and I really was astounded to see what a difference just six weeks of self indulgence could make. I wonder if there were times when she lay awake at night wondering if she’d be able to get rid of the weight after the show?

I suppose one of the best things about it for me was that I’ve always had this assumption that women who are very slim – as Claire was before doing the show – had a propensity to be so; they were just slim by nature, however it’s clear that’s simply not the case.

Claire was as slim and healthy as she was before doing the BFD because she worked hard at it and was self-disciplined. It exploded a comfortable myth that I’d got about very slim women, and I have to now admit it was one that was convenient for me to have as a good excuse as to why my own weight has gone up.

Well done Claire for taking what must have been a scary assignment for you on board and for showing very graphically just how much of a difference it makes to be indulgent!

Related: ,

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.