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Miriam Margolyes claimed overweight Brits are a minority group but said they do not have the same public platform because they are ‘ashamed’ of the way they look.
The actress, 78, from Oxford, opened up about her own lifelong struggle with weight as she explored obesity and its surrounding issues in the first part of her BBC2 documentary, Miriam’s Big Fat Adventure.
‘I do notice fat people, every other group blacks and gays and trans they’re quite vocal,’ the actress said during one discussion. ‘But fat people are a silent majority we don’t have a voice because we’re ashamed.’
Margolyes, who checked into a bootcamp where she met other people with weight issues, admitted she has always felt ‘rejected’ and ‘unwanted’ because of the way she looks.
Viewers praised her candid approach to obesity and thanked the actress for giving a voice to overweight people. One tweeted: ‘It is a subject matter that really needs more vocalisation!’
Miriam Margolyes admitted that she’s always struggled with ‘pain’ of being overweight, because she feels as though as her ‘body isn’t wanted’ in her new BBC2 documentary
The documentary saw Miriam check in to a bootcamp, which is run along military lines with a calorie-restricted diet and five hours of enforced exercise per day
There she met 30-year-old Georgia (pictured left), who’s been struggling with serious binge eating since her first year university admitting to eating as much as eight fast food burgers in one night
Another added: ‘Good to hear the#mentalhealthnarrative being discussed in Miriam’s Big Fat Adventure. Emotions and eating are often linked, we are all on a continuum, one end is anorexia, the other is obesity. Change is not easy, but with the correct support it IS possible.’
A third simply said: ‘Powerful stuff.’
The documentary saw Margolyes check into a bootcamp that is run along military lines with a calorie-restricted diet and five hours of enforced exercise per day.
Opening up about her weight, she said: ‘I was never sporty as a kid. I was always the very last person to be chosen in a team and that is quite humiliating, to be the very last person.
‘Just as I was the very last person at the school dance and I was always the wall flower that was stuck longest to the side of the wall. It’s a humiliation you don’t forget.
‘It means really early on in life you realise the pain of rejection, because your body isn’t wanted.’
Viewers praised her candid approach to obesity, saying it was ‘good to hear’ that ’emotions and eating are often linked’ and insisting it’s a topic that needs ‘more vocalisation’
At the camp she met 30-year-old Georgia, who’s been struggling with serious binge eating since her first year university admitting to eating as much as eight fast food burgers in one night.
‘I came to camp at about 21 stone, said Georgia, ‘I got told that I looked like a thumb.’
Miriam instantly interjected: ‘I hope you got hold of his testicles and squeezed them until his eyes watered.’
Georgia continued: ‘I have struggled with my weight my entire life and when I went to university I put on about ten stone.
The actress admitted that her view on overweight people had changed over the course of the film, and she now realizes that there are ‘a lot of factors’ that can contribute to someone’s weight. She is pictured at the weight loss camp
The actress met plus-sized fashion blogger Bethany, who tried to convince the actress she was capable of being both fat and happy
‘I ate a lot of pizza and takeaway and did a lot of bingeing and didn’t move at all. I became a bit of a recluse. I do suffer with depression and anxiety, but the bigger I got the more I didn’t want to go out.
‘It would be a 2am drive to McDonald and I would order whatever special burger they had with the fries and chocolate milkshake, then I would order a big mac and three double cheese burgers and three chicken burgers and i’d sit in my car and I would eat all of that.
‘For me personally it’s the first bite, that’s where the happiness comes from. Because when you’re eating, your’re not focused on what’s upset you.
The Harry Potter actress also met plus-sized model and activist Trina,who runs workshops in schools to encourage children not to adhere to beauty standards
She later took her to a plus-sized dance class, which the actress said helped her to see that plus sized people can be ‘sexy’
‘You’re focused on the food, not what happens afterwards. Because afterwards you never feel great, it’s still there.’
Later, Miriam asked Georgia: ‘Why do you binge?’, almost instantly, she replied: ‘Self harm.’
Georgia’s mother went on to share that her daughters binge eating was equivalent to her taking a ‘suicide tablet’ and admitted she didn’t think her daughter would live to see her 30th birthday.
She said: ‘Every time she put something in her mouth that was extra to what she was eating, she was abusing her body.
‘Every can of coke, every chocolate bar, every burger, was a suicide tablet. That was what she was putting in her mouth and you are powerless, you are helpless. She was so obese, so ill with depression, I did not think she would live to see her 30th birthday.’
Later, Miriam met 20-year-old Will, who already weighs 28 stone but was determined to change his approach to food.
Viewers were left in hysterics when in her classic blunt manner she insisted that it was great Will was doing something about his weight at such a young age, whereas she was ’78 and f***’.
Viewers were left in hysterics when in her classic blunt manner she insisted she was ’78 and f***’
Elsewhere in the show she also met behavioural psychologist Dr Eric Robinson who tests the psychological effects of being obese, as well as plus-sized fashion blogger Bethany and plus-sized model and activist Trina, who took her to a plus-sized dance class.
She later admitted that her view on overweight people had changed over the course of the film, and she now realizes that there are ‘a lot of factors’ that can contribute to someone’s weight, and that she ‘hates’ those who are ‘cruel to fat people’.
She said: ‘I really came into this thinking I would find the answer to obesity, and that it would work for everybody.
‘But there isn’t one answer for every one one size doesn’t fit all. This is the first time I’m realising there are a lot of factors and it’s made me more sympathetic to people who are fat.
‘And angrier to those who are mean about those who are fat. If you are cruel to fat people I hate you, I hope you wither on the vine.’