New TV Show About Weight Loss

Have you seen the new show on ABC called My Diet is Better Than Yours?

It has been airing on Thursday nights from 9-11pm. I never stay up past 10pm so I've been watching it on instead.

The premise of the show is that 5 obese contestants choose a diet plan from a bunch of strange prescriptions no one has ever heard of. The "experts" that go along with these plans advise the contestants on what to eat, how to exercise, and how to change their lifestyles in order to lose weight. After 14 weeks, the best plan, based on the greatest percentage of weight loss, will win.

The plans have names like "The Wellness Smack-down Diet" and "The cLEAN Momma Plan." The "experts" range from dudes in camo wearing headrags to spandex-clad, goldielocks hotties. They spout all kinds of bizarre theories as if they were facts: self-massage will somehow break down and release fat(!) and there's nothing wrong with eating cookies (containing loads of sugar!) as long as they are vegan! (Both of these suggestions were courtesy of the Wellness Smack-down Diet...) The cLEAN Momma Plan advises constant task-ercising, including while saying evening prayers and during meals. No lie.

Despite these off-the-wall ideas, the contestants have been losing weight on all the plans. The show focuses most of its attention on the lifestyle changes which must accompany weight loss. Contestants are learning how important sleep is, for example, and ways to ensure a better night's sleep. Tasks like grocery shopping are broken down and analyzed for better efficiency. Although there have been some strange suggestions (like purple sheets will help you sleep better) many of the ideas seem helpful for the average overweight person.

For the most part, even with all the oddities, I feel this show has loads of potential. It is a giant step forward from The Biggest Loser, which currently airs on NBC. Here are some of the reasons why:

1) No contestants are eliminated from the show. Ever. They weigh in each week to track their progress and if they are unhappy with their diet, they can change plans. So the "expert" is the only one booted off the show, not the person attempting to lose weight. I like this very much.

2) Every week they receive information beyond just the # of pounds lost. Inches lost around the waist, total hours of sleep, hitting target heart rate during exercise are all mentioned, along with medical facts like blood sugar levels. Losing weight is never just about pounds on the scale. It's about getting healthier and having a better life. So I like hearing more than just how much weight was lost.

3) The trainers ("experts") talk about why their plans are working. Some of this is pure hooey, but some information is valuable. The Paleo dude (Wild Diet) talks about how you have to EAT fat to BURN fat. In other words, restricting fat does not work. He also explains why grassfed meats are so much better than grainfed. (The contestant on the Paleo plan is in the lead, having lost the most weight so far...)

4) The contestants receive TONS of support. They each have their own personal advisor, trainer, and coach. In addition, there is Shawn T., the host, who steps in to encourage contestants when they are struggling. (You can read Shawn T.'s blog about the show here:

5) The contestants lose weight while living at home, going to work, and doing all their real day-to-day stuff. There is no ranch where the magic happens (as on Biggest Loser). They need to learn from Day 1 how to shop for the correct foods, prepare them, take them to work, etc. They need to figure out how to squeeze exercise into their busy days. When the expert leaves them to do it on their own, they will already be lightyears ahead of those Biggest Loser contestants coming home from the ranch.

6) Many different diet plans can work. This is made clear by each and every contestant losing weight every week. While some plans might not be as sustainable for the long haul, it is good to be reminded that there is something out there for everyone.

The finale of My Diet is Better than Yours airs this Thursday at 9pm on ABC. Check it out to discover which diet plan wins!