Last Night’s TV – Who Made Me Fat?

by Lynn Connolly

becca wilcox who made me fat

Becca Wilcox, a disarmingly charming and honest newbie presenter – well, I’ve never seen her before – did a good job of presenting lots of reasons why we, the overweight viewing public, shouldn’t blame ourselves for the fact we may not have seen our feet since the ‘70s.

Indeed, some of her opening lines included, “You’re going to love my programme about obesity because for once, it won’t make you feel guilty.”

However, we then saw her doing aerobics and producing some 40 odd workout DVDs and explaining that her battle with weight gain is one that rules her life… so why isn’t she just sitting around eating McDonalds and blaming them for the weight gain?

If it’s not her fault if she gains weight, why does she work so hard at her physical exercise to make sure she doesn’t? Because, despite her initial comforting it’s-not-your-fault-you’re-built-like-a-truck segues, she in fact immediately proved that actually, it is.

In her bright and cute way, she put across a good argument that there’s some kind of secret conglomerate ‘feeder’ conspiracy, designed to make us all, without us knowing it, consume everything that’s bad for us.

She chased down those who might be in on this global conspiracy such as the Health Secretary, Andy Burnham and a robot from Morrison’s who trotted out his company’s mottos with tedious monotony. She accused everyone she met of subliminally forcing us into eating chocolates and fast food, and in the opening minutes of the show, she pointed out the incongruity of the fact that the sponsors of the 2012 Olympics are pretty much all producers of stuff that can make us fat.

However, one person she met put things rather more – if totally rudely – into perspective; Rod Liddle remarked that people are in fact not subject to 1984-esque mind control and become fat because they are “idle and stupid.”

Obviously that’s bullocks, and please don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just telling you what he said, but I have to say, though I’d phrase it entirely differently, the man has a point…

He was odious and obnoxious and not exactly anyone’s idea of a persuasive orator, but speaking as someone who’s overweight – granted, not hugely but even still – I’m aware that when I have three biccys with my coffee while watching Corrie, I’m not then doing anything to burn off the calories those biccys just put into my system.

And nobody had a gun to my head in the supermarket forcing me to buy them. Similarly, the CEO of Cadbury’s wasn’t whispering in my ear, “Eat them or I’ll kill you.”

Yes it would be lovely to blame someone else for being overweight. It’d be awesome to say, “Lookit, this isn’t my fault. If only the makers of salads sponsored the Olympics, I’d be a size 10.”

But it’s not true and it never will be. I agree that we are all to some extent subliminally influenced by advertising but if that were the case across the board, nobody would be less than 50 stone, so how come this ‘feeder conspiracy’ doesn’t work on the people who are a normal weight?

Self-discipline and autonomy are not swear words and if people like me used those principles more often, I might well be a size 10 instead of a 14 going on 16. So although this film was fun – there were lots of fun graphics and Becca made full and frequent use of the phrase “I wasn’t going to be put off that easily” – the value of its mission statement is, I’m afraid, BS.

It’s not some faceless suit in America who’s responsible for the fact that I have jeans I keep in the wardrobe that haven’t seen the light of day for decades but which I one day hope magically will fit again. It’s my fault for eating stuff I know I shouldn’t. End of.

But nice try Becca and I hope you’ll be on our screens again soon. You’re a bit Fearne Cottonish but heck, that’s probably no bad thing; I wouldn’t mind swapping bank balances with Fearne anyway…

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.