Last Night’s TV – Fix My Fat Head & Claire Richards: My Big Fat Wedding

Fix My Fat Head & Claire Richards: My Big Fat Wedding

Normally, I’d do two separate reviews of shows that were on last night, as regular visitors to the site will know, but given that both these shows were about weight loss, I decided to cover both in one article, primarily to ask why is it that are there so many programmes about weight on at the moment?!

The shows are all about either being overweight or underweight but it would appear if the words ‘fat’ or ‘thin’ are in the title, it’s going to be coming to a screen near you very soon…

We’ve had Supersize Me, Superskinny Vs Superfat, The Biggest Loser… in fact, there are just too many to list and then last night, we had these two shows, both on the BBC; Fix My Fat Head on BBC1 and Claire Richards: My Big Fat Wedding on BBC3. Is Aunty Beeb trying to tell us something?? Have the government had secret talks with them to use some kind of subliminal messaging to make us all lose weight?

Well, there is an obesity epidemic apparently, which, while not being as much of a swine as the ‘flu one, still involves piggin’ out…


Anywho, let’s start with Claire Richards; Claire used to be in the band Steps but when the band split up, she walloped on the weight because she stopped doing their bouncy, frenetic dance routines. She went from being a size 8 to a size 20 – which to be fair, is a really lot of weight. Anyway, Claire was due get married and didn’t want to wobble down the aisle so she went on a strict regime of eating healthily and doing a really lot of exercise. And she’s not alone in wanting to be as thin as possible for her wedding day; apparently around 70% of women try to lose weight before they get married.

claire Richards

After Steps disbanded, Claire told us how she binged on McDonald’s and didn’t do a whole lot, hence the rather dramatic weight gain, however, she got herself a personal trainer and off she went on her voyage of weight loss. Just by the by, does it irritate anyone else that a lot of these shows deploy/employ the services of a personal trainer? I mean, for us average Josephine’s, that’s just not an option and it kinda bugs me that they feature heavily in this type of show…

Ok, little rant over. So, long story short, after much self-discipline and a lot of exercise, she went for that final ‘push’ and booked herself into a weight loss boot camp type place in Scotland which was a snip at just £1,650 for a week. Jeez, book me in for a month, why not? She lost four pounds in that week; if she’d paid me £1,650, I’d have personally stuck a straw in her and just sucked the fat out! But like all nice girls, I wouldn’t have swallowed…

claire richards wedding day

The film followed Claire’s “weight loss journey” for five months – right up to her wedding day last November, and fair dos, she’d lost a lot of weight and looked stunning in her wedding dress, but it was a pretty dull show to be honest. I like Claire; she’s a nice girl but really, as with many of these types of programmes, what’s interesting about watching someone else lose weight? About thirty seconds would’ve been good enough for me, just a before and after picture set… the rest was just filling, albeit low fat filling.

hannah jones

But then there was Hannah Jones who, at 21 stone, decided it was time to start taking control of her overeating and lose weight. This show was part of BBC’s Headroom series that concentrates more on the psychology of eating than simply watching as someone dissolves before your eyes into a skinnier person.

Hannah’s a 36 year-old Welsh journalist who writes a column about the fact that she’s fat. In it, she’s brutally honest, self-deprecating without being apologetic and very funny, but at the start of the show, I thought, “Isn’t she going to make herself somewhat redundant by losing weight?” It turned out, I need not have worried about her employment status because she actually ended up putting some weight on!

Anyway, the BBC’s words about Hannah and the show last night are these, “Exploring hypnotism, overeaters support groups and cognitive-behavioural therapy, Fix My Fat Head is one woman’s attempt to finally understand the underlying causes of her condition.

“’It’s not that I haven’t tried to lose weight,’ says Hannah. ‘In fact I’ve been on every diet going. But I’ve never got to the bottom of my complicated relationship with food. I mean, I know what I should be doing to lose weight but why can’t I stick at it? Is the problem all in my head?’”

So with a view to finding out if the fact that she eats far too much junk food and never exercises has some deep routed psychological explanation that she can blame, off she went to see a hypnotist and a psychotherapist who wanted to delve into the details of her childhood to see if that’s where the problem lies.

So while Hannah was sitting on a couch talking about her weight and the prospect of losing it – while actually putting on a bit more – Claire was doing sit-ups, push-ups, running and generally eating a whole lot less but confusingly, Claire lost weight and Hannah didn’t. Hmmm, that’s a headscratcher eh?

But to be fair, watching Hannah’s programme was infinitely more entertaining because she’s funny, intelligent and sardonic; it was actual entertainment rather than a video diary of the Incredible Shrinking Claire. Hannah came out with some very funny stuff last night; one of my favourites was her assessment of the Atkins diet which she summarised by saying, “Eat whatever you like, just don’t make a sandwich out of it.” It was something of an oversimplification but, like Frank Carson, it’s the way she tells ‘em.

The bottom line is, as my GP once told me, “Look, nobody came out of Belsen fat.” It hugely offended me at the time and I thought it was a terribly insulting thing to say, but I have to admit the truth of his words. I’d gone to see him to ask for those pills where anything you eat by way of fat rapidly makes an exit from the Down South Orifice, but when he asked if I’d tried eating less calories and exercising more and I promised him I had, he came out with that line…

Point taken, and I have to admit, he was right; I stopped living on junk food and walked my babies around in their double buggy up lots of hills and voila, the weight came off.

In all these shows, with all their differing regimens, approaches and whatnot, the fact is, if you take in less calories than you burn off, you’re gonna lose weight. End of. So why is it that we keep on tuning in to these multitudinous weight loss shows? I’m as addicted to watching them as anyone, I just can’t figure out why

Maybe instead, I should go for a walk or eat some lettuce while hopping on the spot – in fact, for anyone watching the shows to get tips on how to lose the pounds, maybe that’s what we should all do? As in the immortal words of the theme tune to that old kids’ TV show, ‘Why Don’t You’, which went as follows…

“Why don’t you, why don’t you, why don’t you, just switch off your television set and go do something less boring instead… why don’t youuuuuuuuuuuu…” or words to that effect.

And in terms of weight loss, it’d be far more productive than sitting on the couch doing nothing more energetic than blinking as we stare at the screen wouldn’t it?

So why do you think there are SO many shows about weight loss or sometimes, weight gain? And do you love them or hate them? Let us know!

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.