How can such a tiny, decrepit, bag of bones be so humongously scary?
Ok I’m being unfair here; I know that health food dictator, Gillian McKeith, has bounced back to health from a very serious illness to embrace the nuts-and vitamins perfect-poo lifestyle that she so brutally advocates on her TV programme, You Are What You Eat, but for all that she bullies her fat clients with demonic Caledonian energy I can’t help thinking that there is something extremely unhealthy about Gillian’s general pallor and demeanour. Is she really any healthier than the morbidly obese size-0-wannabes that she regularly tortures with her celery and spinach smoothies? She certainly doesn’t look it.
But what really disturbs me about The McKeith is the contemptuous, harsh attitude with which she treats all her "patients". She’s a bully. She’s absolutely vile to people whose self-respect and self-image is already at an all time low. Her dietary techniques seem to centre around unpalatable food combos, daily poo inspections and ritual public humiliation. I am not exaggerating.
Gillian never seems to be satisfied unless each week she has made her clients, both male and female, cry with guilt, heave with disgust at their own bodily produce and gag with horror at their regular weekly food intake.
I realize that this is the traditional shock tactic approach. Gillian is basing her whole modus operandi on old school army training techniques: totally demolish the soldier’s current belief system and then rebuild him/her anew with a whole brand new ethos. And certainly it seems to work.
But does the end ever justify the means?
She made one poor woman climb into a bath of cold processed food sludge in order to illustrate the kind of crap she was subjecting the inside of her body to. Dubious in itself but Gillian made the sobbing woman do it in the front garden of her London home – with curious passersby peering over the wrought iron fence – thus publicising the poor woman’s distress. That is just not on. For all Gillian is undoubtedly motivated by worthy ambitions – a real fire to save people from themselves – she nevertheless doesn’t give a fig (syrup of) for their emotional well-being or their feelings. Gillian seems to have a very machine-like approach to people. I’d go as far to say she’s a nutritional mechanic rather than a healthy lifestyle guru. As long as people are physically fixed what does it matter if Gillian has messed their minds up in the process?
Of course, these people subject themselves to Gillian’s regime willingly so maybe that’s all the justification that Gillian needs? These people are in extremis and I’m sure in some cases it literally is do or die. Such endeavours always make compelling but uncomfortable viewing.
As I watched last night’s show though it struck me that Gillian is much like a high class dominatrix. An endless stream of clients readily shuffle into her home each week to submit themselves to her elegant E. Coli cruelty and her clipped colonic punishments – every one of them doe-eyed and desperate for one word of praise from Gillian’s perennially curled lips as she forces them to produce "the perfect poo" and imbibe tofu and nettle-root miso soup in quantities that wouldn’t fill a gnat’s belly.
Oh Gillian, I’ve been a naughty boy – punish me with the stotty cake iron maiden face mask again!
You are what you eat? Eat the underside of my boots, worm!