So long OT – it just transformed into something we didn’t need

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

So Operation Transformation is gone – and not a minute before its time. This public humiliation of people carrying a few pounds for the delectation of people sitting on their couches eating crisps was one of the most divisive, hurtful and humiliating experiments to ever make it onto the goggle box.

Who thought it would be a good idea to get overweight people stripped down to their underwear and paraded onto weighing scales for a public dressing down delivered by people who couldn’t have sounded more superior if they had a degree in it?

There might – just might – have been merit in the original idea of inspiring the couch potatoes among us to get up and waking, if not running, because of peer example.

Sort of ‘if they can do it, maybe I’ve a chance after all’.

And the group walks or runs were a good idea, because they just got people out and moving as a collective.

But then dragging the team leaders in to patronise or pillory them because they did or didn’t achieve that week’s targeted weight loss just morphed into a platform for most of the judges to show off.

Maybe the humiliation wasn’t quite so bad when the late, great Gerry Ryan presented it, because in fairness to Gerry, whatever excess poundage you were carrying he’d be well able to empathise with you.

But the original concept had long since lost its way – and that was perfectly reflected in an open letter written by caring, responsible health professionals to RTÉ Director General Kevin Bakhurst last week.

The letter signed by consultant doctors, registered dietitians, clinical psychologists and mental health nurses, among others, said that the show had dehumanised people and is contributing to stigma towards those living with overweight and obesity.


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