Monday, December 3, 2007

Fat Camp

I watched this really interesting/disturbing documentary about kids going to "Fat Camp" to lose weight. There were several things about this show that really disturbed me. Yes, I realize some of what they show is for the drama and to compel people to keep watching.

Probably the biggest thing that stuck out to me was that Fat Camps really do not teach you how to eat healthy and exercise after the camp. Maybe there are some camps that teach these things, but this particular one shown did nothing to teach kids how to eat afterwards. The main reason the kids were losing any weight was because they were given their meals which were usually pretty disgusting that they either didnt eat and that caused them to lose weight, or it was healthy enough from what they were eating before the camp. And then all they did all day long was exercise. Nothing was taught to them about how to choose healthy foods afterwards.

Another thing that stood out to me was all the kids that gained the weight back afterwards. Yes this is no surprise since they werent taught habits that could help them in the "real world" aka, not in a controlled environment. A few kept the weight off or were at least trying, but the majority just gained it all back which is to be expected. Whats even more disturbing is that their parents will probably spend even more money again the next year to send them back in hopes that they can lose weight again, never seeing that they are completely wasting their money.

Which brings me to my next thought...why are the parents doing this in the first place? This one mother was holding her hopes up so high, like this was her sons last chance? Well what is she doing in the home? Why isnt she helping him exercise? Or cooking him healthy foods? Or limiting the junk foods that hes eating? Why is a last resort a Fat Camp? Whats even worse is that they parents were praising their children for the weight lost. Yes it is an accomplishment, but why are you praising something that is unhealthy? The kids see how happy their parents are and can continue their unhealthy habits to stay that way.

Probably the most disturbing thing I heard and saw was this one girl who was probably 15-16. She was actually one of the few who was working really hard and who wasnt as overweight as the others. At first I really gave her a lot of credit because she was working hard and then when she had a stall on the scale she was so frustrated and I could relate to that frustration. But then she said "If I could just get to 130 and be skinny, I wouldnt have any problems for the rest of my life". That was so sad to me because already at that young age, she thinks that weight is everything and her whole happiness depended on it. She has so much to experience and she honestly believed her life would be so perfect if she was at her goal weight. That my friends, is how an eating disorder is born. And right before my eyes I really believe I saw it consume her. She was working out and rarely eating (and barely losing too because we all know you have to eat to lose). She was standing in front of the mirror obsessing over her stomach and her body. Even when she finally got to her goal weight, she still wasnt happy. It was so sad to see.

It just seems to me these camps are so unhealthy. Why send your children to them when all it does is temporarily take some weight off them so they can come home and put it back on? What is going on in these homes that the parents feel they cant help their child in a way that will create habits that will stick for life? Why waste your money on something like this when you could invest it in a gym or a sport, or even a diet plan if necessary?

Mostly, I was saddened by the girl who was developing an eating disorder as a result of this camp. Even more saddened by the attitude of some of those attending the camp. They were so young and already had such a bad attitude about diet and exercise. They all whined about exercising and some were happy being overweight and didnt care if they stayed that way. How did our society get like this?


Teale said...

I watched one that I think was the MTV "real life" specials called "I'm going to Fat Camp". There was a girl on there who only went b/c a boy she was interested in told her she was too fat & he wouldn't go out w/her until she lost weight. She went to the camp all summer, lost like 30 pounds, went to see him, and he said "you look better, but you still need to lose more". WTF?!?!!?!!?! I was so outraged that they would show something like that... what is that teaching young men & women. The girls think "I have to lose weight to get a guy" and the guys think "it's OK to tell a girl to lose weight". UGH.

Heather said...

YES! This was a movie length doc of that. It was "return to fat camp" so it didnt have those kids on it, but it was the same camp.

Lyn said...

How awful for those kids. What a shame that ANYONE can go have kids, no common sense needed. I have five kids. If any of them were obese by the age of 2... or 5... or 8... barring a major medical condition... I think it would be MY fault. Little kids can't go to the store, don't have $$$ for junk, not in THOSE amounts, unless their parents are giving them the money or the food. Very sad situation and especially the unhealthy emotional attitude of the teens!

Jan B said...

This is like people who take their dogs to a trainer and expect them to fix all their problems. Thanks for talking about this.

Anonymous said...

I watched that on mtv yesterday too! I have the same feelings... so sad.

Chubby Chick said...

Wow. What a disturbing show! The Fat Camp sounds more like child abuse, if you ask me. Those kids are probably leaving there with MORE problems... both physically and emotionally.

It really is sad that their parents aren't doing more at home to help them. The parents should be setting good examples and serving lots of healthy food for meals, and they should encourage their kids to exercise by exercising WITH them and finding fun activities to do together as a family.

I pity fat kids. I was one, and I know what it's like. It's miserable.