Food For Thought: New Food Reality Show Wants To Shame Americans

“American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest and British chef Jamie Oliver have announced they’re teaming up for a big challenge. In their upcoming reality show that’s expected to hit the airwaves next year, the dynamic duo plans to battle obesity in the U.S. Oliver is going to hit the “fattest cities” in an attempt to salvage their diets. Clearly, they’ve got a superhero complex, but aren’t they going to give the rest of us a real complex?

Chef Jamie is hopped up on the success he’s had in his homeland, where “Jamie’s School Lunches” got the government to add £500 million (that’s $758 million) in funding towards healthy school lunches. Jamie is hoping to do the same thing here, where he believes there’s a diet crisis, since 1/3 of the population is supposedly overweight. Isn’t that better than having 127 million Americans underweight?

I’m torn between my love of Oliver and standing by my people, the fat kids. Not that everyone in America has a perfectly balanced diet, but as a kid my mother always made sure I ate right and exercised. I wasn’t allowed cheesy snacks or sugary cereals, and I was enrolled in so many after-school exercise programs that I got a foot injury from working out so much. The clincher: Despite all that nutritious food and physical activity, I was fat, like my mother and her mother before her. That didn’t stop people from making me feel bad about the way I looked.

No matter how old I get, I still feel like that chubby child who got picked on for her weight. At least my humiliation was mostly from other children. It’s quite another thing when an adult expert singles you out as a “problem,” let alone a celeb like Seacrest. Aren’t you boys forgetting how important a healthy self-image is?

I’m not saying we shouldn’t pick our food well and be advised wisely, but perhaps the way to get people on track isn’t by shamming entire American cities on camera. Chew on that, Jamie Oliver and Ryan Seacrest. Maybe I’m fat, but I’m happy without you!