E! Entertainment Television brings viewers into the often misunderstood and frightening world of eating disorders with the premiere of “What’s Eating You,” a six-episode television event.
Produced by 3 Ball Productions, the show chronicles the extreme challenges of women and men whose lives are at risk as they battle not only their distorted body images, but also self-created, life-threatening food rituals and compulsions. As participants share their true stories of food, fear and obsession, “What’s Eating You” reveals the severity of eating compulsions on levels never before seen on television. “What’s Eating You” premieres October 13 at 10:00 PM, ET/PT only on E!.
From bizarre rituals to extreme habits, the worlds of the twelve brave participants will be an open book. From a woman who must put countless packets of artificial sweetener on anything she eats ““ including burgers and salads ““ to another who spends hours each day at different fast food restaurants, just to purge privately in a bevy of single-person bathrooms around town, audiences will follow the lives of people whose food behaviors are consuming and threatening their lives. Other stories include: a young man who will chew and swallow an entire pack of gum instead of eating food to feel satiated; a young woman who will eat ant-covered food out of a trash can, only to then purge in whatever she can find ““ her boots or even her purse; a young man for whom food is “dirty” and who, as a result, has a compulsion to wear rubber gloves before touching anything related to eating; a woman who drowns all of her food in gravy and has found other creative ways to eat around her gastric band and a young mother who wears layers and layers of clothes in the scorching Phoenix sun just to hide a body she feels is “sickly deformed” as a result of her pregnancies. In a particularly heartbreaking case, viewers also are introduced to a woman who was recently homeless and will drive 2 ½ hours to purchase her comfort food: white chalkboard chalk.
With the help of trained medical professionals, highly experienced therapists and nutrition specialists, these patients will attempt to begin the long, painful and often shocking journey to recovery. JD Roth, Executive Producer and CEO of 3 Ball Productions, said, “One might assume that a show about severe eating disorders would focus solely on participants’ bizarre behavior around food; but this show really is about the incredible fortitude and strength of people with intense obstacles to overcome, and how they strive to get their lives back on track. We’re very proud to be working with E!, not only in shedding light on a dangerous issue, but also in offering hope and a path to recovery.”
Each one-hour episode of “What’s Eating You” introduces viewers to two new patients. Each must go through an eye opening medical evaluation to ascertain exactly what type of damage the disorder has done to his or her body. Frightening findings can include severe bone loss, electrolyte abnormalities and an increased risk of cardiac arrest. Cameras chronicle patients in their home lives as they begin to work on the recovery plan created for them by their doctors. Viewers will also meet family and friends ““ many of whom had no idea that their loved ones were suffering in secret ““ and witness how simple acts that seem so common and ordinary to the average American are watershed moments for them. Recovery is by no means easy; patients will encounter many roadblocks along the way and not everyone will be successful. However, despite all the secrets and the shame, there is a resounding message: hope.
As more young women and men are compelled to achieve perfection, “What’s Eating You” asks some tough questions: How can people’s perceptions get so off track? How can they lose their basic understand ing of reality? How much is society at fault and , most importantly, what can be done?