Scales obesity

Weight loss just got brutal. As if existing solely on cabbage soup, grapefruit or green juice weren’t cruel enough, now experts are actually breaking up relationships to help people shed fat on Lose Weight for Love (BBC1, 18 May, 8pm).

Contented couples cuddling up with a Chinese on a Friday night find it far more difficult to shift the flab than singletons. At least that’s the theory. Enter hapless guinea pigs Becky and Phil to test it out.

You’ve “bypassed a bypass”, appalled personal trainer Rick told a weeping 24-stone Phil who hardly had the chance to wipe away his tears before partner Becky (17 stone) was marched away for 10 weeks.

Stuck on a strict diet and told to run a half marathon in five weeks Becky (unsurprisingly) struggled, battling self-esteem issues with psychologist Tanya Byron.

Several miles away Phil fared better. Weaning himself off his “crack cocaine” of fizzy pop and following a rigid ‘food bible’, he quickly shed two stone. Drill sergeant Rick didn’t help though, dragging a furious Phil away from a friendly footie match muttering about heart attacks. Days later, Dr Byron staged an intervention with family and friends, forcing the poor bloke to cry once again.

Weigh-ins at the couple’s emotional reunion 10 weeks later seemed to prove the experts right. Losing five stone between them, they looked delighted. But I’m not convinced a regime of 70 miserable days spent alone cooking from an Excel spreadsheet and weeping into your stuffed peppers will catch on anytime soon.