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Secret Eaters - Episode 3

Dawn, Mike & Gareth from Hull try to get down to why they’re putting on weight. All believe they eat well, and can’t understand why they are getting larger.

Episode 3: Dawn, Mike and Gareth from Hull
  Dawn Mike Gareth
Age 49 47 29
Weight 14st 3lb 14st 12lb 29st 10lb
BMI 33.1 32.6 44.6

The Problem

Dawn believes her size does not reflect what she eats.  She is a serial dieter who has tried most diets but has put on nearly 5 stone in 8 years.  She hates the way she looks and wants to be the same size that she was in her 30’s.

Mike realizes that he is overweight, but cannot understand why as he eats no different to his work colleagues.  He worries about his future health and appreciates that he needs to lose some weight so as not to carry the problem forward into older age.  He thinks that this is really his last chance to get to the bottom of his problem and start shifting the pounds.

‘Big G’ , Gareth also worries about his health and at 6’9” realizes that he will never be petite, but wants to get slimmer.  He blames a possible slow metabolism for his weight gain, after all he does have salad with his kebab!

How they fared

Snacking and poor meal timings were their worst enemies.  Combined with a big dose of alcohol, the calories were certainly mounting up.

First up was Mike.  His food diary claimed that he ate around 2470 calories, had 1 small meal and 1 main meal a day. As it turns out, Mike liked to snack during the day as a result of skipping breakfast.  The show suggested that people who skip breakfast are 4½ times more likely to be overweight.  By eating a breakfast consisting of cereal, eggs or fruit, Mike can keep feeling fuller for longer and resist the temptation to snack.

Alcohol was Mike’s other problem , with an additional 2330 calories over the week coming from his favourite drinks.  If he were to cut out the booze, he could lose 2½st in 1 year.

Dawn’s food diary indicated that she ate around 2000 calories per day with a diet rich in salads, grilled meats and low fat dairy.  She actually ate around 2500 calories per day mainly as a result of the extra dressings such as mayonnaise.  Weekend overeating also added to Dawn’s poor eating with her meal

Still in denial about what she is actually eating, the recommendations for Dawn were that she cuts down on fatty dressings (mayo was adding over 1000 calories to her healthy salad) plus eats a more varied diet during the week, including treats, to reduce weekend overeating.

Gareth believed that he ate around 3100 calories per day, way below what his body needs to maintain his weight, so in theory he should have been losing.  What the team actually found was that he was eating over 5000 calories daily, mainly through takeaways and convenience foods grabbed throughout the day.  Basically, he was eating way too much. 

A simple tip to reduce the calories in a kebab is to have chicken rather than meat and to forgo the chips – you’ll save nearly 1000 calories!

By replacing Gareth’s takeaways with a healthy packed lunch and as much fruit as he likes, his aim is 2500 calories a day.

After 10 weeks of following a structured diet plan, Mike and Gareth returned to show a 1st 6lb loss and 3st 9lb loss respectively.  Dawn fail to return but claimed she had lost 2st.

Additionally throughout the show, Dr David Lewis looked at how we ‘eat with our eyes’. Demonstrating that the size of the plate or bowl reflects how you view portion size, he showed that by reducing the size of your plate, you will feel fuller quicker and eat less.

WLR Says

Compulsive viewing definitely.  And you’ll be surprised by the findings; they may just make you take another look at your daily habits.

Of course WLR members know that it makes sense that you keep your food diary up to date as it allows you to self monitor and spot areas of your diet that are letting you down. 

It would have been nice to see the importance of exercise highlighted, but within the scope of the show, it does just what it say’s it’ll do: it will make you more aware of your eating habits.

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