'Mealtime magpie' in a flap over flab
Secret Eaters C4
"FOUR out of five of us," says Anna Richardson, "eat food without even realising."
Quite how that happens I'm unsure. I've heard of sleepwalking. But sleep-three-course-mealing-with-cheeseboard-and-dessert?
Secret Eaters uses private investigators to track those seeking to lose weight to find out what they really consume. Hanging around outside chip-shops is the only work they can get following the Leveson Inquiry.
Brother and sister Stuart and Jill were frustrated at their inability to lose weight. Indeed, Stuart felt, if anything, he didn't eat enough. Although since he was later filmed scoffing a triple cheeseburger and chips with masses of mayo it was surprising he should confuse himself for Kate Moss.
Stuart had sought help, conscious of how he looked on stage at an am-dram club. (Neither member of the audience actually noticed.)
Jill, meanwhile, was bemused. "I just need to know what I'm doing wrong," she said as footage revealed her wolfing down two fry-ups, a pub lunch, 10 amarettos, two sambucas, a bag of peanuts, and a barbecue dinner over the course of two days.
Not to mention 10 bags of crisps a week, several chocolate bars, slices of processed cheese, and umpteen fizzy drinks. Richardson was quite gentle with her. If it had been me, I'd have come out straight and told her sausage isn't salad.
Jill was identified as a 'mealtime magpie' – someone who has leftovers from other people's plates.
"Their mantra," said Richardson, "is waste not, want not – rather than seeing food go in the bin, they'd rather eat it up."
That's not a magpie, it's called a gannet. And it was a shock to Jill that she'd eaten such a lot. It was like it had happened to someone else.
"I suppose I didn't think I'd consumed quite so much," she said, "and obviously I did." Where she thought she was when she was chomping her way through this lot was hard to ascertain. I can only think in her mind she was running up Kilimanjaro.
Quite why you'd want to go on a programme claiming you're some kind of weight gain freak when you are in fact a fully paid-up member of the gluttons' club, I'm unsure.
But to stop others falling into the trap, Richardson met an expert who had an idea on how to cut down consumption while in snacking situations.
"I find it very difficult if I come to the cinema not to eat something," admitted Richardson. If there's some stuffing missing out the seat it was probably her.
Cinema goers were made to wear an oven glove to stop them ploughing through their popcorn. It wouldn't work for everyone – Jill needs a strait jacket.