I don’t know how, but my daughter found the Freaky Eaters TV show this weekend on Netflix. I had never heard about this TV show before but it is a classic shocking TLC TV show.
Freaky Eaters TV Show Setup
Freaky Eaters is a 30 minute show that starts with a strange eating problem. The idea is that a freaky eater is someone that eats only one food almost exclusively and do not eat anything else. Some of the episodes we have seen include people that only eat French Fries, Coca Cola, pizza, cheeseburgers (and hid it from his wife), and even not eating any solid food.
The show has two hosts, a psychologist, and a dietician. Dr Mike Dow works on the inner problems that the person deals with and JJ Virgin counsels on what nutrition the person needs to eat to be healthy. They are a great team and have their own people skills that compliment each other so that each can have a great influence on who they are working with.
How an Episode of Freaky Eaters Works
The show starts with a family member describing the persons problem. In the case of the person addicted to eating french fries (I just watched it so it is fresh in my mind), the guy eats nothing but french fries and his wife is nervous about it, kids think that he is allergic to all other foods so it does not seem strange to them.
Next Dr Dow and JJ Virgin use “shock therapy” by showing in a warehouse just how much fries and how much fat and oil he was eating in a month or a year. Although the guy was shocked and grossed out about the grease and oil but seeing bags of frozen french fries just made him hungry and thinking about lunch.
The french fry guy has a blog about french fries and wasn’t over and skateboarded a lot so when they did some medical tests he was shocked to find out that he had mild heart disease and was more than willing to give up his french fries if that would help.
The team of two goes into action, why don’t you eat other foods? What would you like to eat? Why do you eat this way? In the end they were able to find that he was oversensitive to food tastes and because of this he had a lot of trouble with various foods. By trying little bits of different foods and by experimenting every day the french fry guy was able to kick his single food habit.
A lot to cover in a 30 minute show, isn’t it?
What we get to learn from Freaky Eaters
Although the plot of the show is the same every time, problem, shock therapy, confrontation, experimentation, fix! It does not ever go the same way. In the first place almost all the people that have a problem are able to explain it away or do not want to change as they see no problem, by the time they see what they have put in their body they are usually less resistant to change but not always, and usually the medical tests are enough to push people over the edge. In only one case did we see someone not want to change. The thing is though that there is always an underlying issue causing the freaky eating.
One of the things that I have really been able to take away from this show is the idea that people do not want to change but once they have a very good reason they are willing to push through. Support is critical, most of the people have a husband or wife, kids, or other family member that is really hopeful and supportive. Support is so critical and is so often missed by all of us.
Also I like the shock therapy. I have mentioned before that for years I drank a coke and just quit one day when I realized it was bad, this is not normal though, I still eat a chocolate bar every day and if I saw a real visual image of how much crap I put into my body in a year I could quit pretty easily, but now, day to day, I don’t see any good reason to quit chocolate.
Finally is self identity. Most of the people with a problem with a food just look at themselves as a person that is tightly defined by that food. You have probably seen this all over around you, the coffee guy always drinking coffee, the donut eater, the pizza guy, even the water people (not bad but the ones drinking lots and lots of water every day). People need to define themselves so that they know where they stand in the world and to show their individuality, the foods that we eat can easily define us.
I am not sure how I feel about Freaky Eaters. The show itself is interesting and shocking and fun to watch but in the end after a few episodes I think I have seen enough. I am so glad to see that their are people like JJ Virgin and Dr Mike Dow around to help people change their lives for the better.