The episode I watched followed this formula and showed the featured couple that they were eating about two or three times what they themselves had reported that they ate in their food diaries. As I watched it, I recognised a lot of what was shown and could draw parallels with my own experience.
I've learnt a lot about food in the last couple of years and particularly about portion sizes. I remember feeling similarly confused as to why I was overweight when I considered what I ate. It was only when I started reviewing my food intake when I started Weightwatchers that I realised how many extra calories I was consuming without realising.
So where am I going with this? Well, after revealing all to the participants in the show, Secret Eaters then went on to give them diet plans to follow. This is obviously a good thing, and had a great effect too, with the couple losing nearly 2 stone between them in about 4 weeks. In my eyes however, there was one really glaring omission...exercise.
My own experience is that healthy eating and exercise really do go hand in hand. Not just because the combination will help you to lose weight, but also because being active is just as important as being of a healthy weight. There are now plenty of studies to show that even if your weight is in the healthy range, if you aren't active you are increasing your risk of various diseases - this report in the Lancet last year is just one example.
It's not just the health benefits though. I think that doing exercise actually encourages you to eat more healthily. If you've just done exercise you tend to feel pretty positive about yourself, like you've done something good for your body, and you're less likely to want to eat fatty, sugary foods and undo all your hard work. That's certainly my experience in any case.
Secret Eaters exposes what I think is a real problem in our society at the moment. Diets and diet products are advertised to people who are overweight and unhealthy, but exercise is not. Exercise products are aimed at people who already exercise, as is encouragement to do more exercise. Even in women's magazines, which are always talking about weight loss, diet and exercise are often treated quite separately and you'll rarely see exercise plans suggested for someone who is new to exercise and needs help to gain some confidence and get started.
This is where I think walking really is the solution. When you're overweight and you've not done much exercise for a long time the idea of running, going the gym or doing classes can feel like a hurdle far too high to jump. I know this for a fact, as I've definitely been there. Walking, on the other hand, doesn't seem so difficult. A walk to the shops, a walk round the park, a walk to work, a walk to the end of the street and back. It's free, it's easy, it's something that almost everyone can do.
That's how my life changed - making the decision to walk to work and back. It sounds quite easy on the face of it, and actually I think that's part of the problem. Walking often isn't considered exercise and I don't think it occurs to people that by walking more they could be adding exercise to their routine in a simple, unintimidating way.
Programmes like Secret Eaters shouldn't just be telling people to eat more healthily, they should be helping people to discover a healthier lifestyle and setting an example for people in this country. Around two thirds of adults in the UK aren't doing enough exercise, but walking could offer the solution. Let's make exercise for everyone and take the dread out of the word by really shouting about the benefits of walking. If enough of us do it then maybe, just maybe, we can persuade programme makers, magazines and other influencers in today's society to do the same!