The Hairy Dieters: How to Love Food and Lose Weight Review


Mums’ favourites the Hairy Bikers are back, though it seems barely five minutes since they were last on. Still, the franchise appears to be doing well for the lads, if the glimpse we get of their plush houses in this first episode is anything to go by. This time around, they’re ditching the pies and meringues and pasta in favour of healthier alternatives. Because, in case you hadn’t noticed, they’re big lads.

It’s far from an original format, but it has a clear goal (they want to lose weight), the audience can relate (we want to lose weight) and there are plenty of stops along the way (this is how you lose weight. Fatty). The Hairy Dieters takes a welcomingly pragmatic approach to the whole process. There are no faddy diets here, because the moment you come off one you’ll pile the pounds back on again. It’s about eating a balanced diet across months and years.

Thing don’t start off well, though. The rose-tinted view we’re given of the men’s impoverished Northern upbringings is pretty annoying. I’ve no doubt Dave and Si’s childhoods were tough, but that cosy view of being poor lets everybody off the hook. Nobody else has to worry two jots about the inequalities of society because, ee bah gwm, the poor do love it really.

Still, things take a proper hold when the pair are forced to confront the reality of their own condition. We’re all aware how unrealistic media body images are. Most normal people aren’t cast members of 90210 (and by normal people I mean you, the OnTheBox-reading public. I am, of course, ripped like Taylor Lautner’s personal trainer). But the flip side of that is we
can grow too comfortable with the idea of being too out of shape. The jolly fat man is a likeable stereotype, but as Si puts it, they’re really just “encased in fatâ€?.

The Hair Dieters may be unfittingly lightweight, but it’s a bit mean to dismiss a programme with such warmth at its heart. Some of it’s a big stagey, but that’s part of the appeal. It’s great to see a couple of blokes on TV who aren’t too polished, but do care about their subject. Of course, it’s quite possible that jolly fat man stereotype is behind the entire success of The Hairy Dieters franchise – so good luck with pulling the pin on that one, guys.

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