Gareth from the Office: Body image shouldn’t be entertainment

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AS I flick through the channels on TV I am hit by a startling realisation. We are obsessed with image.

Programmes like Celebrity Boot Camp, Celebrity Fit Club and now Biggest Loser are highlighting the weight loss of overweight people, but why? For entertainment?

In the UK around 43 per cent of men and 33 per cent of women are overweight, and a further 22 per cent of men and 23 per cent of women fall into the obese category

Being overweight can be simply a matter of pounds whereas being obese is detrimental to your health.

But when did watching someone attempting to lose weight become entertainment.

In the UK an estimated one in 11 deaths is attributed to excess weight.

Now, I’ll be honest, those statistics don’t make for entertaining reading, let alone prime time television.

But where does the obsession with looks and weight come from? Fashion magazines and perfect looking celebrities are not to blame. Well, not in my opinion anyway.

People can chose to make a difference to the way they look and the changes don’t have to be that drastic.

In August last year I changed my diet and the way I trained – and they weren’t major changes – and I lost 13 pounds and three per cent of my body fat.

I tell people all the time that it is perfectly easy to lose weight and change the way you look if you have the willpower.

Now I go to the gym three or four times a week to make myself look good, but that is my choice.

Everyone has a choice in life, it’s just whether or not they choose to make it, or even if they want to.

These people who are on television shows and in gyms are obviously not happy with the way they look so they should be helped, not made to perform on television.

I have to admit over the years I have struggled with the way I look and what people thought of me but as I have got older I have learnt to care less.

The only opinion that should matter to people is their own. I can say living that way has helped me so much.

Yes I like going to the gym a lot but that is a personal thing. I want to look as good as I can, and I don’t compare myself to anyone. No-one should.

More people need to become healthier and happier in the skin they’re in, or do something about it.

Changes can be fitted around your current life and a bit of forward planning can help you with diet and exercise. Trust me, if a drinking, partying, fast food junkie like me can do it then anyone can.

You are the only person who can make a difference, but only if you want to.