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I Used to Be Fat
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this reality show, which profiles teens who want to lose weight before going to college, features positive messages about healthy weight loss, as well as conversations about emotional eating and dysfunctional family relationships. Expect occasional bleeped profanity ("s--t," "f--k") and some mild arguments between parents and their weight-conscious teens. Parents may want to watch along with their teens and discuss some of the issues brought up here.
What's the story?
I USED TO BE FAT follows recent high school graduates who want to lose a large amount of weight before starting college. They work with professional trainers to create new diet and exercise habits that will help them reach their weight-loss goals and live healthier, more active lifestyles. With the help of their trainers, they also spend time trying to uncover some of the emotional reasons behind their weight gain. In the end, they discover that they have not only changed their size, but their lives.
Is it any good?
The series shows how teens can take charge of their lives and empower themselves to make healthy choices that will let them feel better about themselves. It also demonstrates how taking these steps can help teens build their self-confidence, which, in turn, allows them to be the people that they really want to be.
Many of the points made here are very constructive, but the show fails to address things like having a healthy body image and being happy with who you are regardless of your size. Meanwhile, well-intentioned parents are often portrayed as being part of the problem rather than a supportive part of the solution. But overall, the series demonstrates that it's possible to change what you don’t like about yourself -- as long as you are willing to work hard to do so.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of being overweight as a teenager. What are some of the specific challenges that teens face when they weigh more than what is generally considered healthy and/or physically attractive?
Parents: How can you help your teen cope with these challenges? Teens: if you don’t think you're at a healthy weight, what steps can you take to make yourself healthier?
How should a person balance the importance of being at a healthy weight with having a positive body image regardless of her/his size? How does the media impact the way we think about our weight and the importance it has on our every day lives?
For kids who love reality TV
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