The final week of ‘Village on a Diet’ has come to an end and many residents of Taylor gathered Monday night to watch their final results from the 10-week challenge broadcast across the country.
One of the ‘villagers’ was Melissa Crantz, called the District’s ‘dealer’ on the show referencing how her pizza restaurant was dealing out unhealthy food to the residents and thus contributing to the area’s weight problems. Crantz says it took her several weeks to really commit to the show and make true lifestyle changes.
Her pizza restaurant was featured several times in the show and although she says has changed her menu slightly to incorporate some healthier choices, she also says that Chef Jonathan Chovancek’s critical review of her meat, meat and more meat pizza actually had an opposite effect, making it her most famous pizza.
Half-way through the show Crantz had a very publicly broadcast breakdown, leaving Taylor. Crantz says the breakdown was real, but it all really came down to editing. She says what the show did not air about the day she left was how Dr. Ali Zentner had shown her an age enhancement of her daughters, which was devastating to hear.
One pair on the show was father and son Steve and Jonathan Arsenault. Both have seemingly been able to keep off the weight they lost during the show and Steve attributes it to watching what they eat.
Steve says one of the biggest challenges fame has brought him since the show has aired is that other customers at the grocery store often watch what he puts in his cart.
For Jonathan, before the show aired he had to be homeschooled because of bullying due to his weight. During the show, one of his biggest goals was to be able to return to school. However, he says everyone will have to wait until the special “follow-up” episode to find out whether or not he returned.
Despite how either might have been portrayed during the show, they both agree the show has changed them. Jonathan says he’s been able to spend more time with his father than before participating in various activities.
So, how did the Taylor challenge and show get started? The challenge originally began after the Community Services department in Taylor applied for a health and wellness grant through the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, says Bryant Bird, the District’s director of community services. Then, Bird says, they found out a TV crew was hoping to get involved.
He says the challenge has had a number of positive impacts on the community, including healthier eating habits and a push for a full-fledged gym facility to be built in the community. The facility is currently being constructed.
The District is also coming out with a new ‘passport’ initiative in partnership with Tourism B.C. that has a list of several low-cost activities residents can do throughout the summer and winter seasons. As an incentive, he says once residents complete many of the activities they can be entered in a draw for various prizes.
A final follow-up episode looking at the ‘villagers’ late last year, months after the show stopped filming, will air on Monday on CBC.