How much does empathy play into losing weight? We’re about to find out…
In A&E’s new reality series, From Fit to Fat to Fit (try saying THAT five times fast), ten dedicated fitness experts will intentionally put on weight so that they can lose it with their overweight clients.
In four months the trainers have to lose their perfectly toned bodies and go without exercising and eating healthy so that they can increase their body weight by up to 40%.
They are actually being paid to watch Netflix and eat junk food and carbs—not a bad deal.
However, they then have to try to lose that weight over the next four months by meeting weekly weight loss goals with their clients.
The idea being that they will gain empathy for their clients by losing weight with them and, therefore, help them reach their weight loss goals more successfully.
So not only do they have to train their clients, but re-train themselves as well.
The idea for the show came from an experiment done by fitness coach Drew Manning.
In 2012, Manning intentionally gained 75 pounds after his clients claimed that he could not relate to their struggles of losing weight.
However, intentionally gaining weight is not as easy as so would believe.
In the preview for the show, one of the fitness experts breaks down as he is eating a cheeseburger, trying to pack on the pounds.
“I don’t know why this is so hard,” he says.
Another trainer, Katie Mack says that intentionally putting on weight for the show was so taxing that she and her boyfriend broke up (but have since reconciled).
In the preview, when an obese man learns that his trainer is intentionally putting on weight (under medical supervision) in order to help him through his own weight loss program, he begins to cry.
He says tearfully, “It breaks my heart that you're doing that to yourself. Because I know what it's like, it's sucks.”
Most of the weight loss contestants seem to appreciate what their trainers have put themselves through to help them on their own weight loss journey.
One contestant says in the promo, “The trainers that I've had don't understand what a fat person goes through.”
The trainers also agree that this experience has greatly changed their perspectives.
Health guru JJ Peterson says of his client, Ray “Before this journey, I was judgmental. Now Ray is my inspiration.”
With all of the weight loss and dieting shows on television, it will be interesting to see if this concept of “empathizing” with a client’s weight loss will have a great effect on the clients’ weight loss goals.
From Fit to Fat to Fit premiers on A&E on January 19th.