In an extraordinary TV health experiment, can Amanda Hamilton and her team transform the future for three families whose weight is ruining their lives?
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Three families are about to embark on the most important journey of their lives.
Bags packed, they're off to spend the next seven days
in a secret location,
but this will be no holiday.
These families are part of a growing crisis.
60% of adults and one in four of our children are overweight or obese.
Northern Ireland is now the sixth most obese country in the world.
Things are more critical than ever.
We need to make changes fast.
These three families have bravely stepped forward to do just that.
'All we're aiming to do is really set a road map'
not just for this week, but for the rest of your lives.
So this can be the moment in which you change your life.
They'll spend the next week on an exclusive island retreat
taking part in an intensive regime
designed and delivered by a team of world experts to tackle their nutrition...
-..fitness and well-being.
-And breath out.
It's a unique chance to turn things around.
It'll be tough...
I was expecting something more substantial than a bowl of leaves.
-That's what I want to see, looking good!
..and at times, extreme!
-Are you ready for me to insert?
Can they break the habits of a lifetime
and change their lives forever?
In the lake lands of County Fermanagh
lies the beautiful and tranquil island of Lusty Beg.
Where a transformation is about to be attempted.
Headed up by nutritionist Amanda Hamilton,
a team of super experts awaits.
A personal trainer,
two clinical psychologists
and Amanda herself are ready with a holistic body, mind and spirit approach to weight loss.
Making their way to the island are our three families.
There's nine-year-old Ellie,
and her new husband Johnny.
Joining them will be Nick, Isobel and daughter Rachael.
First to arrive are mother and daughter Rosie and Ellen.
Amanda is there to greet them.
Acknowledging a problem in the first place is often half the battle,
and although it's not easy,
single mum Rosie from Portrush is facing some difficult emotions.
'Do I blame myself for being this weight?
'Yes, I do. There's no-one else to blame.
'When I look in the mirror I do not like what I see.'
And I know all the right things to say to myself to make myself better,
but, at the end of the day,
the bottom line is, no, I am not happy with the way I look.
'There are some shops where things fit me perfectly,
'then that's the only ones I shop in.
'but it's hard when you're overweight.'
It's a bit...
It makes me feel a bit down.
Next onto the island are family of four, the Toners.
-How you doing, Cara?
-Nice to see you again.
Johnny has recently married Cara,
mum to Ryan, 12, and Ellie, nine.
'I've got so much weight to lose,
'it's like I don't know where to start.'
It's like climbing a mountain when you're at the bottom of it.
Like getting that start on it.
I just feel it's too far to climb.
'And, for the children, it's one thing me having weight issues,
'but I have suddenly realised that my children are that way as well,
'and that's really upsetting.'
So, I'm dreading the change, but it has to be done.
Last to arrive are Nick, Isobel and Rachael from Dundonald.
A family desperate to end their intense love affair with takeaways.
'Chippy, Chinese, Indian, pizzas, so much choice out there!
'A variety of carry outs you eat every day.'
We eat something different every day.
Far too easy.
I just remember Mum saying, "If you don't lose weight, girl,
"you're never going to be around whenever those kids grow up,"
and I suppose that's always been in the back of my head -
a wee warning bell.
And, ideally, we're at that stage now wee warning bells going off big time!
And its time to do something about it.
Heading deep into the woods,
our three families leave their home comforts and old lives
further and further behind.
Amanda and her team of experts are waiting.
There is a very distinct link between emotions and how much somebody eats.
Or why they eat.
'Stresses and strains in life
'can often lead to people stuffing down emotion with food.'
Often you're going way back, years and years and years
trying to find out why they've picked up that food habit.
Just want to take this opportunity to introduce the rest of the expert team
that will be working with you over the next seven days.
We can't read minds, at least if we could we're not going to tell you!
But we need you to be open with us.
The more you speak to us, let us know what's going on with you,
the more that we can help.
Now, at times you'll be out of your comfort zone,
it will be a bit challenging,
but what we're aiming to do is really set a road map.
Not just for today, not just for this week, but for the rest of your lives.
So, this can be the moment in which you change your life.
I'm John, I'm your trainer for the week.
I'm here HOPEFULLY to support you and help you get your goals and achieve it
and more importantly give you ideas you take away from this to help get your fitness on track.
So, I'm Rachel, I'm one of the psychologists here.
My main focus for the week is to help you think about your relationships.
Whether that's relationships with food and exercise
and importantly your relationships with each other.
I'm Raman Kapur, I'm going to be working with the adults,
and the main thing I want from the adults
is to be able to say what you think and feel - spontaneously.
My job is to work with that
and then in the individual sessions I'll follow that up.
And the other piece of good news we have got you all some gifts.
If you'd like to head over, there's some crates there
and that's full of some goodies for the week ahead and, er, welcome!
The boxes hold clues to what lies ahead.
Exercise is definitely on the agenda,
and Nick's already making jokes.
Imagine giving fat people a skipping rope?
Nick, Isobel and Rachael are just recently back from holiday,
and Isobel recalls an embarrassing moment.
Coming home from France and the girl at the boarding desk asked me,
"I need to ask you, are you pregnant?"
You know? And I thought, "That's it, I'm never eating again!"
Nick and Isobel have a real taste for takeaway.
It's become much more than an occasional treat,
and Nick's really worried about the future.
'Although she's only ten now, maybe in 20 years' time'
when she does decide to walk down the aisle,
I'd like to be the one to walk her down the aisle
and at the present rate of going
I'm not going to be around at that point.
Amanda has made a home visit to each of the families in the weeks leading to the retreat.
How long have you had a weight problem? How long would you say you've felt overweight?
I'm 43 this coming birthday, so, about 42 years.
I joined a gym and I went for a class.
It was a half-hour class, lasted 15 minutes
and felt, you know, I need to push myself here and I'm not
and feeling I can't do it.
It was easier just to quit, go and have a shower
and cry while I was in the shower.
Like many children, Rachael spends a lot of time in front of the TV,
often with a snack,
and when it does come to meal times it seems she's still hungry.
Rach, do you want some more? Seconds? Help yourself, do you want this?
'Possibly something to do with portion size is niggling away at me.
'Maybe we shouldn't be feeding her as big a portion as she gets.'
I'm going to stop you there cos see when you say the, "we"?
-You know, we have had that argument plenty of times,
but I've seen you dishing up food and I'm saying, "Don't just give her...",
if she's hungry, by all means and she's still got some room...
but she'll maybe have seconds
-and then she'll reach for the chocolate biscuit!
-That was my next statement,
was going to be that if you give her a smaller portion,
she eats it and asks for more.
'The only tops I like is baggy ones
'cos if they're really tight I don't really like them.'
I always feel that I am uncomfortable with...
My mum says I've got...puppy fat,
but sometimes I just don't believe her,
sometimes it's a just THING that I think is my fault for doing it.
I have a terrible image of...
the pointing and the laughing,
and there's a behind-the-back snickering,
"Look at the fat family".
And I hide behind bravado and bluff
and I try and...hide behind my personality...
Rather than to be seen to be...
As the, jolly fat bloke,
is the mask that I wear.
Behind the mask, I'm not really the jolly fat bloke at all.
I'm just the fat bloke.
There will be food on the menu this week,
but it's very different from what the families are used to.
You've got to taste everything and if you don't like it you don't need to eat it.
-BOTH: Er, no.
-No, we've got to shake on it. That's the deal.
-No, I'm no shaking on it.
-That's the deal, come on, get your hand out.
Oh, look, we just made our deal.
Here we go.
Chef Sue and her team are working closely with Amanda
to deliver tasty, nutritionally balanced meals,
including today's healthy barbecue.
It's Ryan, isn't it? You know what I am going to ask you to do?
Put some on your plate.
And I'm going to give you a TINY bit, just so it looks pretty.
-Little bit of tomato?
-There's a surprising amount of food on offer.
The high fat content of ready meals and takeaways
has been replaced with nutritious vegetables, lean meat and fish.
Designed to be filling and what the body needs.
But not everyone's enjoying it.
It was terrible, really,
but I'm sure, maybe tomorrow will be a better day. Hopefully.
With lunch over,
the families finally get to see where they're going to be living
for the next seven days.
Ellie, balcony, quickly!
Oh, it's beautiful.
-Very nice, very nice.
-I'm loving this!
I'm really loving this!
-Do you like it?
Isn't it amazing?
We'll be very comfortable here.
After the recent wedding, Johnny is keen to support Cara and the kids,
and realises he's going to play an important part
in their bid to lose weight.
'It's about the family and it's about trying to change our lives.'
I might say you're eating too much at home,
or you're eating too much of this thing,
then I'm accused of being the food police.
'I actually don't think about it. I try not too.
'I'm in total denial.
'Wouldn't watch anything on the TV to do with weight loss.'
If anybody mentions going for a walk to me in work
I just look the other way, or say I'm busy.
'I suppose Ellie always carried a wee bit of weight
'and that has increased,
'but Ryan never carried any and he's starting to.'
I've never ate a vegetable in a couple of years.
The closest vegetable he eats is beans.
'Ellie especially loves her sugar hit.
'She's like me, she loves a sugar hit'
and she'll be so grumpy when she doesn't get it
and I don't know how I'm going to handle that.
Cara will have her work cut out for her,
but Amanda is on her way to offer professional support.
Is it kind of anything sweet you go for?
Biscuits or buns,
at night we would love getting a cup of tea and wee biccy or a bun.
Cara talks there about going and getting buns, or whatever.
We would get a cake, it wouldn't be a bun, there's no point in saying that.
See, this is why I need him here, Cara.
It's a cake its not a bun, you know.
There's a great ice cream shop in Armagh,
we would go to it at least once a week.
-At least three times.
-Och, not three times! Depends on how busy we are,
but we love just sitting eating a wee tub of ice cream.
You mentioned lack of exercise as well.
Are you basically, driving to work, sedentary at work and driving home?
I think it was when I got the car, that was the end of the walking.
You had to walk to get to places before that,
but then when I got me own car it was the end of it.
I would drive INTO the shop
if I could get the car in through the door!
'I might seem outgoing and bubbly,
'but I'd say I probably lack a lot of self-confidence.'
People can be very nasty or hurtful, I mean strangers.
I suppose I live in a cocoon.
I'm surrounded by people that I know and love
and they would never be nasty or mean to me,
but when you go outside of that and people kind of look at you,
it's very hurtful and it makes you want to do something about it.
I don't like myself.
There's nothing I would call good about myself or my body.
And I just want to change.
They're not the only ones ready for change.
All three families have made a serious commitment
to improving their lifestyles.
In preparation for this week
the adults have been monitored 24 hours a day.
Eating habits, sleeping patterns and physical activity
have all been recorded on computerized arm bands
and Amanda has kept a close eye on them.
And now the time has come for the inevitable and dreaded weigh in.
Knowledge is power. We've got to know where we are.
And remember it's onwards and upwards from here.
As a base line for the week
every one needs to know exactly what their starting point is.
Have you heard the expression pinch an inch?
Pinch more than an inch!
Exactly what we're going to do today.
Using special callipers,
John can work out each adult's percentage of body fat.
He's using a different method for the children.
He's passing a current through electrodes on the hands and feet.
And they don't feel a thing.
Ready to go?
Before you fall asleep I'll let you put your shoes and socks back on.
While they wait for the results,
Rosie and Ellen enjoy a moment of quiet contemplation.
Spurred on by simply signing up for the show,
Rosie has already managed to make some changes and has shed 10lbs
before even arriving on the island.
Because we live in a seaside resort
during the summer I work very long hours.
My day is 9:30 to maybe 8:30 or nine in the evening
and when I come home in the evening,
cooking is not always what I want to do, to be perfectly honest.
And we love our Chinese's.
And we would make use of those more often than we should.
Really our opportunities for hard physical exercise are not there,
so we're not a very active pair.
Ellen and her friends are typical teenagers.
Body image is a common topic of conversation
and Ellen is clear that she'd like to change.
Id prefer to be more active
and be able to do more things that other people can do and I cant.
I'm not physically capable of.
We do talk about it a lot, don't we?
Yeah, I think, when we're having a little coffee after school
it always comes up in conversation.
Our body weight, what we look like.
It's just another part of being a girl, I suppose.
So what do you think is motivating you then?
I've always wanted, ever since the past few years,
I've always wanted to try and lose weight.
But it's motivation that stops me.
I suppose I am interested to see
where my association with food comes from.
Why I use it the way I do.
There's a wee bit of fear around that as well, I guess, but...
It's uncovering the layers.
We've got to do. There's food,
and nutrition but it's what drives people to eat certain ways.
Can you remember the last time you felt really good about you body.
What were you doing? How old were you? Can you recall?
Was there a time, a moment frozen in time,
where you think, "I felt great that day"?
Or in that dress or at that...
No, not right now.
-Nothing comes to mind?
-So it been a long, long time then?
-Yeah, it has.
The results are in and the families gather to hear the news.
Thank you for your patience and thank you for all being willing
to get measured and weighed and prodded and what ever else,
but now we know where we are.
Got professor Varman who's a cardiologist.
He looks after your heart and very important parts of your body.
Cara, Ellie, come and stand beside your mum.
Cara has weighed in at 20st 10lbs,
to reach her ideal weight she would need to loose 11 stone.
That's not far off the weight of her daughter, Ellie.
At 10½ stone, nine-year-old Ellie's health and well being
are seriously compromised.
So you've got 11st to lose,
in other words you've got more than your daughter to loose.
Ryan, at 9st 8lbs,
is also well above the healthy weight range for his height and age.
35-year-old Jonny has weighed in at exactly 15 stone.
You're in the lucky position that you're really here as a supporter for your family.
You've got the least to lose,
just two ½ stone. So, a very manageable amount.
Hold this. That's 5lbs of fat.
So you've still got to lose at least five of them.
You hold on to that for a little while.
OK, thank you.
-Nick, any idea what your target weight should be?
At 19 stone five, Nick is clinically obese and about five stone over his ideal weight.
But it's his poor diet that concerns Amanda.
-I read your food diaries, and see the red apples there?
The week of your typical family diet, your intake
-of fresh fruit and vegetables, have you heard of five a day?
-You were having three servings a week.
What you needed to have a week was represented by the green apples.
Nicks partner Isobel is 15 stone ten.
She is carrying a lot more weight than she is comfortable with
and a whopping six stone more than is healthy.
-You like ice cream, don't you?
OK, this little test tube here represents seven grams of saturated fat, half a cup of ice cream.
It's got that much fat in it.
With Rachel at seven stone two,
and Ellen just over 13 stone, they are both in a high risk category
for carrying their weight problems with them into adult hood.
Having lost ten pounds in the previous weeks when she was wearing
her monitor at home, Rosie tips the scales at 15 stone 9lbs.
Amanda is curious to know what she'd been up too.
What were you doing in the mornings?
-I started to walk. Once I had the monitor on I started to walk in the mornings.
-It really worked?
That daily exercise really worked?
That's what helped you burn that fat so quickly.
You might be wondering what the potatoes are all about?
That represents the total weight of what the five adults,
not the children, have got to lose to get to their target weights.
You've got to lose 192 kilos.
All the adults, except you, Jonny,
have over 50% of their body as body fat.
Over 50% of you body is currently made up of that.
You are carrying what I would call blubber in your hand.
Now, if I could just ask you to look at this model here for a moment.
The outside of this model, this tube represents a blood vessel,
a blood vessel that has become furred up.
And immediately those blood vessels get blocked, you end up with a stroke.
I think all of you know what a stroke is.
Heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stokes
are all on the increase in our society.
Professor Varman has been straight talking and its been hard to listen to.
Amanda is quick to turn the negatives into a positive.
The most important thing is that we have you here as your family groups.
Research show that if families work together to lose weight
they get the results in the longer term more than if you're individuals.
I know it can be difficult to swallow some of that information
and remember that every single thing that you put into your mouth
will translate into what happens in your body.
Deep breath, everyone.
Why don't you give each other a hug as your family groups.
Och, it's not pleasant,
it's the reality of the situation, its easier to not know it
but, at the end of the day, we're here to do something about it.
My dad was 64 or 65 when he died of a stroke and I thought, "that's all?"
You know, everyone's in the same boat.
So there's lots of similar thoughts and feelings and comments
and what we're hoping to get out of it all.
So if I had this...
It would take about two weeks, just two weeks of healthy eating
and a bit of exercise, and that would be gone.
That's the power you have. That's why your body's amazing
because you can change it. Just like that.
As the first day draws to a close,
appetites are satisfied with another simple healthy meal.
And while the families tuck in the experts have gathered.
So lets talk about each family,
now that we are almost at the end of the first day.
Shall we go through Nick, Isobel and Rachel first?
I find them, as a family, really articulate, really in touch
and I think we've all got to tap into that somehow because they get it.
It's just the doing, I think. What do you guys think?
Defiantly be interested, particularly with Nick
and his description of himself as the jolly fat bloke.
-There's a sad side behind the joke fat bloke.
I think what Isobel says is very important.
She, when she went back to the gym, took too much on.
I think the main thing is it to try and get it into her lifestyle and what's achievable now.
-What stood out for me was some of the issues potentially around Rachel.
The way they set limits around what she eats, or perhaps shy away from doing that.
I guess the question would be how would that might make them feel
if they weren't able to give Rachel what she was asking for.
So Rosie and Ellen, I really find them close,
they're intertwined, their lives are intertwined.
At times they seem more like sisters than mother and daughter
and within a relationship like that then if one party were to change
or start to change, it would be important that the other does as well.
Otherwise there might be a risk then that that change
might be too much for the other person.
When she stepped off the boat
I felt she was carrying herself differently.
I mean she seemed proud of the fact that she has lost weight.
I saw a spark of, "I'm feeling quite good."
No I think there's a window with Rosie.
I think it's just strengthening that improvement
in how she relates to herself.
Cara and Jonny and the kids.
Cara's obviously got the most weight to lose out of everyone
and she said that it's so much weight to loose
it's going to take a long time that it's almost "why bother starting"?
She wanted fast results, that was a big concern for me.
I think maybe it's just educate to how small losses will help.
If they have a pretty awful relationship with themselves,
really all the medical facts in the world wont make a difference,
cos she's not going to use the medical facts to turn things around.
Because she doesn't actually feel good enough about herself
or that she's worth it.
We have to transition out of this week, giving them the tools
for the long term because they have a long road ahead. But...
Hopefully, this week.
It's got to come from every single angle, hasn't it? In order to work.
Next time, the group get started
on making changes for a happier, healthier future.
A lot of years wasted that could have been so much fuller.
You don't even let me finish or say why, whatever,
you just say no.
Why you not taking your gym kit with you?
Why you not going to the gym before work? Why not after work?
And always having an excuse.
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