Yes, the rumours you've heard are correct. The one and only Ms Hopkins is putting her body through its paces as she consumes over 6000 calories a day in a bid to put on 3 ½ stone for a new TV documentary. Ballooning from her previous 8 stone 8 frame, to a larger size 16, (she once said that every woman should aim to be a Karen Millen size 10) Katie will then attempt to regain her previous body, showing us loosing weight ain't so hard. We can follow her weight-gain-and-loss pilgrimage on Katie Hopkins: Journey to Fat and Back airing on TLC early 2015.
Whilst everyone seems to have jumped on the "she's an awful human being, stop her now" bandwagon, I've got to say I'm undecided. Could this venture be one to help society rather than gloat at its failings? Although the Apprentice star's track record might pre-empt an assumption of the latter, I've got a glimmer of hope that she may in fact do some good. (Mumsnet, don't shoot me.)
Katie's premise is this: all the excuses we throw at being fat are rubbish. "Spoon-feeding a nation excuses when we are so disastrously overweight is not what we need." So she's putting her own waistline on the line to reveal just how easy it is (she hopes) to shed those unwanted pounds.
"I hate fat people for making me do this", now these are the kind of juicy, outrageous statements we've grown to expect from Katie. But to my eyes, she revealed a previously unseen side by telling Holly and Phillip on the This Morning sofa the experience had been emotionally draining. Ah ha! This is where she's hit upon gold and the crux of the issue: An individual's relationship with food is far more than a physical appetite, it's one massively linked to our emotions. For most people, thoughts related to eating and exercise happen in our mammalian brain (the part that controls emotion) rather than our reptilian brain (the part controlling instinct.) And so her empathy towards size-10-plus ladies is forming: "I understand feeling self-conscious about how you look. I can empathise with being fat because I am fat. And it is hard."
I have a sneaky suspicion that by putting herself in someone else's shoes so blatantly we'll see a softer, more human Katie emerge. A joyous truce could well occur by the end of the project, with Katie getting to grips with the difficulties many face in slimming down, and viewers reluctantly/willingly adopting her gung-ho approach to work wonders in their own lives.
Looking considerably and purposefully chubbier, Katie is clearly not enjoying life in her new body: "Carrying this around is exhausting. Feeling my stomach sitting on top of my legs is exhausting". She's on one helluva mission. Going up four dress sizes is a considerable commitment to the cause. Part of me takes my hat off to her, the ever-increasing size of our nation is a problem that should be addressed but it seems we all find it too awkward to broach. Understandably! In a way, it takes someone with the steel of Katie to talk about this tricky topic. No one else is up for the challenge. She's talking about the elephant in the room all right, and I'm someone who normally admires those strong enough to do that. Fair enough, she may not be the ideal candidate to be entrusted with this potentially explosive task, but I think she deserves some kudos for having the balls to give it a go.
The two part series following Katie's adventure airs on TLC, the channel said in a statement: "This documentary will confront her attitudes and put her beliefs to the test, by following her own physical and emotional journey as she gains and loses weight, whilst exploring the broader issues of body image in our society."
Good luck with the mammoth challenge, Katie. And enjoy those doughnuts while they last!