I Can Make You Thin

 
(i)

 

Infomercial-like show offers healthy eating ideas.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show focuses on changing people's attitudes about food and their relationship to it. It offers non-judgmental advice on how to change behavior, though explanations about how the body and mind address food are oversimplified.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

Occasional references to how people feel unattractive to others. Some personal stories bring up issues like adultery.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Although the show doesn't sell any products, it blurs the line between being a talk show and being an infomercial, since it's essentially a promotional vehicle for Paul McKenna and his self-help tools.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Occasional references to drinking alcohol as it relates to food consumption and weight loss.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although this series -- in which a popular British self-help author shares his advice on how to lose weight -- offers some healthy, non-judgmental advice, the way the plan is presented sometimes sounds more like an infomercial than a talk show. Tweens probably won't be too interested anyway, but weight-conscious teens might be. If so, make a point of reminding them that there are no "quick fixes" and that changing their relationship with food takes time and commitment. It's worth noting that some of the featured folks; personal stories bring up mature issues like adultery.

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What's the story?

I CAN MAKE YOU THIN is a reality/talk show designed to change the way people think about food in order to help them lose weight. Star Dr. Paul McKenna is a popular British self-help author and hypnotist who has developed a plan for shedding pounds based on \"4 Golden Rules\": eating when hungry, eating what you want, eating consciously, and stopping when full. Each week he encourages people both at home and in his studio audience to follow these rules and change their eating habits. He also checks in with specific audience members selected to participate in his program to see how the plan is working for them.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Although McKenna's rules aren't particularly innovative, he uses them to encourage people to rethink their relationship with food and how and why they eat it. Interviews with frustrated dieters highlight some of the common reasons why people can't lose weight, like eating too fast and depriving themselves of meals. He also addresses some difficult weight-loss issues -- including emotional eating -- and offers concrete exercises designed to break these habits, as well as some mental tricks created to help dieters regain some control over their food consumption.

Although the series offers some sound advice, it frequently sounds more like an infomercial than a talk show. Although McKenna isn't selling any specific products, he's promoting the idea that he's making people skinny rather than simply offering them techniques on how to help themselves. His claim that losing weight is "easy" and his oversimplified explanations of how the mind and body process food sound similar to some diet pill commercials. And then there are the testimonials from his satisfied former clients. But for teens who understand that there are no quick fixes, the show offers some healthy, non-judgmental suggestions on how to approach weight loss.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the media's role in promoting a healthy lifestyle. How does the media affect the way people think about food? Do you think the media promotes healthy habits overall? Why or why not? Families can also discuss the difference between talk shows and infomercials. Did you know that talk shows are designed to promote things like movies, books, products, and ideas? Do you think talk shows ever go too far in promoting something?

TV details

Cast:Paul McKenna
Network:TLC
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG

This review of I Can Make You Thin was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 11 year old Written byvvfrn2 April 9, 2008
 

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