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Weekend Watching: Super-Skinny Me, the Race to Size Zero

These days, so many activities are described as extreme, and unfortunately dieting is not exempt from this categorization. Two British journalists decided to explore the realities of extreme dieting by subjecting themselves to the techniques used by celebs, and they captured the highlights of their journey (or demise) on film for the BBC documentary Super-Skinny Me: The Race to Size Zero.

To read what this fascinating documentary is all about, just

The hour long program is the conceptual inverse of Super Size Me, instead of eating and eating these women diet, fast, and exercise, exercise, exercise. These women work so very hard to drop enough weight to fit into UK size zero, the equivalent of a US size four, and they have six weeks to reach their super-skinny goal. They try the Master Cleanse (aka lemonade diet), protein shakes, watercress soup with nothing else, and colonics (the scene is actually quite graphic and very unglamorous). This extreme relationship to food truly disrupts their lives and relationships, and one becomes borderline bulimic; although, I do believe the supervising physician does a good job of intervening.

Even more interesting than the actual dieting is the epilogue of the show when we catch up with the journalists two weeks and five weeks after their experiment is over. The pounds return quickly for one woman, perfectly illustrating the dangers of yo-yo dieting and the other journalist is still wrestling with her food issues. It is so sad to see.

This hour-long program really hammers home how unhealthy, both mentally and physically, extreme dieting truly is. I do fear some women will still find the final super-skinny results appealing and block out the dangers of this type of dieting.

This program is fascinating and totally worth an hour of your time. It airs tonight, Dec. 2, on BBC America at 10:00 p.m. EST/PST. Watch it and let me know what you think.


Join The Conversation
Jamie-L Jamie-L 8 years
There is really no reason for a woman to weight more than 99 pounds (7 stone 1 or 45 kilograms) was an American well-known saying about 100 years ago. The average height of a woman has increased by about 6 inches or 15 centimeters (cm) since that time but the goal concerning the weight still seems to be in effect. It is often driven by wrong inspiring examples given by models like Twiggy or Kate Moss and celebrities like Victoria Beckham. Furthermore the apparel industry is promoting that issue by developing smaller clothing sizes. What's a US-size zero today used to be a size four 50 years ago. On the other side they follow the trend of girls and young woman to become smaller. Levis Germany is offering a "Super-Skinny Highwaist Jeans 673" which requires a waistline between 21 and 22 inches (53 and 56 cm) according to their fitting guide. No miracle that girls do starving diets since they want to fit in the smallest size regardless of the healthiness of such diets.
Prada3721 Prada3721 9 years
This just came on again last night and it was so amazingly shocking and sad to see the decline that happened to the second journalist. The one pictured above. She became bulimic and I know will struggle with food issues. I'm also sure that there will be girls watching the program taking notes and I'm not sure which one is worse. I'm all for being fit but at some point we have to be healthy. What happened to the perception of "normal" where did things go so horribly wrong. She looks like a boy in the second picture. Her womanly curves are just GONE!
mtx mtx 9 years
i think she looks better on the left.
HoneyLuv89 HoneyLuv89 9 years
i really find the article a bit ridiculous to be honest. is it any news to anyone here that losing weight really quickly by unhealthy means is just...UNHEALTHY? i mean...been there done that, i think. also the master cleanse is NOT meant as a diet to lose weight, it is a CLEANSE meant to cleanse your body of toxins and should be followed very strictly and does NOT include eating ANYTHING like nuts, etc.... i just think she should have mentioned that she was obviously not following the proper rules for the cleanse and had made it into her own skewed, unhealthy diet-type thing.
jade408 jade408 9 years
I really hate to see people get too skinny for their frame. I have a friend (US 2 or so) who wants to "lose her saddlebags." She is small, but pear shaped. On one hand I don't think that she needs to lose any weight..just work with her hips. But on the same token she isn't too skinny, and has healthy eating habits on the whole. [my definition of way too skinny...are people with visible ribcages] So this is Ok. but then of course there are the skeleton people, with discernible ribcages. These people need to gain weight. Unfortunately perfectly healthy women get caught up on the number on the scale or the number on the tag instead of standard "how doe I feel and what healthy habits do I have" logic. It is pretty unfortunate. Women, on the whole, really just need an extra dose of self esteem. ... And the media needs to promote healthy habits ...not small sizes.
veronicaraye veronicaraye 9 years
so true. I hate the yo-yo effect!
bibelot bibelot 9 years
Sarlafrock, check BBC America's website for their schedule - they might be replaying it.
sarlafrock sarlafrock 9 years
I'd luuurve to see it.
sarlafrock sarlafrock 9 years
Does anyone know if this is airing again anytime soon?
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
Having struggled with an purging disorder for 13 years, i look at celebrities who rush to lose baby fat and diet till they lose thier youth and beauty and just cringe. I never looked at them and said "i want to be like them" but i did look at them and say "wow they have alot of control" and wanted that too.
kellyanne kellyanne 9 years
Ugh, it's such a sad sickness. I watched it half with disgust and half with morbid fascination. I have to also admit that I was admiring their after photos as well, it's so sad. *sigh* It's such a waste of worrying, weight issues.
brown_eyed_grrl brown_eyed_grrl 9 years
@EcannDallas The scary thing is that I've seen documentaries similar to this (the one I referenced in my other comment) and some of the things she says and thinks sound way to familiar. I am far from anorexic at 5'1" and 128lbs, and to me, muscle is more important than being stick thin, but I get that feeling of superiority sometimes when everyone is eating doughnuts and I stick to my oatmeal. I would never, ever let on that I feel that way because it's none of my business, but if I'm being honest, it is something I think about. It's kind of scary to see those things in's a good reality check for me when I'm being too much of an obsessive health nut.
brown_eyed_grrl brown_eyed_grrl 9 years
"I just checked the documentary again and they say UK size zero (0) is the equivalent of a US size 4, and UK double zero (00) is the equivalent of a US size 2." I'd check other sources besides the documentary, then, because everyone here is right. UK size 4 equals US size 0. Besides watching another documentary similar to this (Louise Redknapp In The Truth About Size Zero), where the woman goes from a UK-8 (US-4) to a UK-4 (US-0) and all of the size charts you can check on the web, it also makes sense. No one is going crazy over size 4 women...size 4 isn't THAT skinny, if you're the right build/body type. And, here are more articles about size zero that mention the UK equivalent: "The recent "size zero" phenomenon (an American creation which actually translates as a UK size four), gleefully promoted..." "The sexy star, 32, dropped two dress sizes to US size zero (UK size 4) by fasting and enrolling..." "Beth Ditto has launched a campaign to prevent clothes from being labelled size zero. The curvaceous rocker insisted that the US clothing size - the equivalent of a UK size four - encourages women to aspire to be 'nothing.'"
EcannDallas EcannDallas 9 years
I think that 'regular' people who are looking to lose weight may look at super skinny people and be envious of their self control and will power more than their bones. To be brutually honest and put myself out there a little bit, when I had weight issues, I felt superior to other women because I felt I had more will power and self control. It really had NOTHING to do with weight. Now, after dealing with this I feel guilty for feeling that way, and realize that I was the one with problems, not everyone else.
GreenSkittlesGal GreenSkittlesGal 9 years
Ella, I think you are right! I am a US size 0 or 2 and in the UK (or even UK brands like H&M) I have to go up sizes. I used to always forget that and get very frustrated in the fitting room. I made it a point to remember now. Moreover, the ladies I saw in the UK were thinner than US women in general. If a size 0 there is a size 4, what are women who are size US 0 supposed to wear there?? Wouldn't seem to make sense.
mtiger mtiger 9 years
I could never ever be a size 0. I'm a 12 right now and dieting...I just hope to be a 6 at my goal weight!
EllaBella EllaBella 9 years
Fit you wrote "I just checked the documentary again and they say UK size zero (0) is the equivalent of a US size 4, and UK double zero (00) is the equivalent of a US size 2." But the truth is UK size 4 = US size 0 and UK size 2 = US size 00 A UK size 0 is just downright impossible, it would be a US size 000!! If what you wrote is what they said in the documentary then they got mixed up in the sizing conversion... Check size conversions charts at for example I think the reason why they call it "the race to size zero" (even if in the UK sizing is different and size 0 doesn't exist)is that everybody now refers to the "size 0 trend" when talking about super skinny celebs... So size 0 is kind of synonym with super skinny...
BoomBoom22 BoomBoom22 9 years
I read a little of her experience online. Didn't she do most or some of it with the Master Cleanse diet? I've heard about an even amount of good and bad things about that. In all honesty though, I'd like to try that MC diet.
ley ley 9 years
Its crazy. I mean models still get insecure about they're bodies, when these people reach they're goal - then what? Does that really equate to they're happiness? Seriously doubt it. I think we our own biggest critics.
EllaBella EllaBella 9 years
Maybe all clothes should come in vanity sizing then women would be happy dropping several sizes without doing anything! Really I can't understand this obsession about sizes, I often see women in far too tight clothes I guess just because they canæt accept what their real size, that's sad a number can be so important...
TFS TFS 9 years
wow did this onyl jsut come out in america? it was on in the UK a year your behinddddddddddddddddd :]
ThePerfectScore ThePerfectScore 9 years
So my friend and I watched it... and my friend actually thought they looked better at the end when they could fit in size 00..... me on the other had did not find that sexy... My friend is like OMG maybe I can lose 14 lbs....I need to work on my friend she has gone crazy
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
I'm so ashamed, but I think on the pictures here, I think the skinnier picture looks better. This is AFTER I read the linked article about what she went through. I think she looks great in both tho. Maybe this is what is meant by triggering? I'm not anorexic but I could stand to lose 15-20 lbs, and I wonder if this won't cause many other people to feel the same way. Luckily for me, losing 20 lbs would make me a US 4 which is definitely healthy, but it still makes me sad that I look at her super skinny pictures and secretly wish I were a 0 also. Not that there is anything wrong with very small people who are naturally 0's! I hate it when people say "real women have curves," because I'm sure that makes them feel like crap too!
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 9 years
So sad that this is what women and men have been subjected to; weight is such a universial issue. I'm all for being healthy which sometimes means being lean or healthy thin however not stick skinny; and I'm all for healthy men and women that have muscle and hips to them. My motto is "To be the person you want to be is to waste the person you are." It keeps me strong when I don't have confidence in who I am; that motto reminds me that I have to be me, not someone else or a size 0. I don't judge skinny people by assuming they have a problem because many don't; people used to think that about me and it's tough because you feel like all people are thinking is that you are unhealthy when I'm very healthy. I think weight and the idea of perfection is a problem that will always be around yet you can't give in to it; otherwise you will ruin yourself.
bibelot bibelot 9 years
I watched the program and was fascinated...I saw a little bit of myself in Kate, the woman who gets a wee bit too "into" the weight-loss regimen...about 3/4 of the way through the show, Kate goes to visit her doctor and admits that she was overweight as a teenager, and has always felt tremendous pressure to be thin. Going on such a drastic weight-loss regimen was part wish fulfillment for Kate - she didn't want to admit how badly she wanted to lose the weight. Louise, the other journalist, had a much better attitude about her body -- she seemed very happy being a size 12, and was quite upset by the way her body lost its "womanly curves." And at the end, she seemed quite happy to be off the diet!
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