|Photo courtesy of Bravo TV|
If you are familiar with Bravo, you might recognize Ms. Warner from her previous series Workout which highlighted the personal and professional drama that comes from a Beverly Hills health club. Her new show, Thintervention is a less personal drama but more like the Biggest Loser. It tracks a small group of people who are working with Ms. Warner to lose weight. Her expertise is as a personal trainer and according to this site holds certifications from the International Sports Science Association (I.S.S.A.), and National Endurance and Strength Association (N.E.S.T.A.) but no nutrition degree or certification of any other kind. The greatest thing she has to offer is the best six-pack abs on TV. But abs of steel in no way qualifies her to give sound nutrition advice or help people find a successful weight loss plan.
I watched just enough of Episode 1 to see Ms. Warner literally punish her client for eating 150 calories of cookies. Her basic nutrition advice was to eliminate all sugar from her clients' diet. When she found that her client did not follow this "order", she made him walk up and down the stairs in his house until he burned the 150 calories from the cookies he ate. My thought when I saw this was a little shocked. Working with obese individuals, I never try to demonize a specific food or punish someone for not making a healthy choice. What message does that send to the client and how does that promote long-term healthy eating? It doesn't but it does get ratings. Since I couldn't watch the whole first episode I thought I should give Ms. Warner a chance and try to catch a full episode.
Last night, after putting the kids to bed I figured I would watch Episode 2. I still have a bad taste in my mouth. Thankfully, there wasn't much in the way of flawed nutrition information from Ms. Warner during the episode. Her only really great kernel of "nutritional wisdom" was to talk about her pre-workout shake. See the recipe here but to summarize, it's protein powder, glutamine powder, branched chain amino acid (BCAA) powder, L-carnatine, flax oil, spinach and fruit. I'm not an expert in sports nutrition but it seems like a lot of supplementats to me. Wouldn't teaching her clients how to find some of those ingredients in whole foods that they can find in any market be more useful?
The most disturbing thing about the episode though was the end. All but one of the clients lost weight. Most averaged a few pounds but no, "huge numbers." Jackie's reaction to the weight loss was simple: disappointment. Not reassurance, not a congratulatory hug. No, disappointment. There was no discussion about how the body fights weight loss and that it might not be realistic to lose 5+ pounds every week. No, there was disappointment. How does that motivate someone to stay with a program? Now I know that this is TV and that we are only watching the show for the drama that ensues but with something as personal weight loss, drama is not the name of the game. Losing two pounds in a week is a big accomplishment for anyone and should be congratulated.
I'm sure that Ms. Warner's clients get results. I'm sure that they lose weight while following her exercise and diet plan, but is it sustainable? Is she helping her clients make life-style changes to make the weight loss permanent/ Is she teaching them to change how they think about food? Is she giving them the tools to have a healthy relationship with food? From what I've seen so far, the answer is no. I wish her clients success and good health. Maybe after they are done filming they can go to the ADA website, find a Registered Dietitian and see how the nutrition experts do it.