MTV’s True Life: I’m on a Diet

It should be called True Life: I have a serious, life-threatening eating disorders and I’m not going to do anything about it!

According to MTV, “On this episode of True Life we follow Amber, Cory and Kelly as they try to lose weight by any means necessary.”

The show features, Amber, an average-sized, near  pagent queen who always comes in second place. She starves herself leading up to each pageant, and binge eats afterward. Her mother shames and berates her body, despite the fact she herself is overweight, as a way of motivating Amber to reach her goals. Both Amber’s dietician and pageant consultant discourage her from the dangerous diet, but it seems their concern isn’t for health. The consultant, at least, insists that Amber could have lost even more weight if she’d dieted healthfully. “Nobody wins the swimsuit competition crash dieting.”

Despite their advice, at the end of the show Amber eats a gigantic burger. The afterword states she will resume the crash diet for her the next competition.

Corey, a college wrestler, almost lost his life to bulimia. Now, he barely eats anything, and lives in a complete state of denial. He constantly states that he now “cuts weight the healthy way”. It’s as if he’s saying it in an attempt to reassure himself. His mother, and one expert, briefly express concern. But nothing is done to deter him. Corey places first in his state, and states that the pain he experiences is worth it in the end.

Kelly is a plus-sized girls who may or may not battle binge eating disorder. It’s possible she just has trouble making the best choices. Maybe ten or fifteen minutes of the hour-long program (I didn’t keep track) follow her gradual weight loss. She receives the least screen time.

The closest things we get to an “Aesop” are:

Kelly: Stick to your diet and everything will go as planned.

Corey: If you’re bulimic, Anorexia is a safer alternative.

Amber: Crash dieting followed by binge cycles followed by more crash dieting are a means to an end. Consider a more sensible diet, but not for your health. It’s possible you will lose more weight.

They could have at the very least, given an eating disorder hotline number or the NEDA website at the end…

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