Emotional viewers praised a group of plus-sized British tourists who stripped off on a beach after spending a week at a resort designed specially for overweight holidaymakers.
ITV’s The 18-30 Stone Holiday saw a group of eight Brits – who all weigh more than 20 stone – visit The Resort on the paradise island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas, which is aimed at those who find conventional resorts ‘too traumatic to visit’.
During their time at the hotel, the group underwent a programme in a bid to help increase their body confidence – and by the end of the show the whole group was able to strip down into their swimwear to frolic in the sea.
Dozens of viewers took to Twitter to celebrate the group, with one tearful tweeter posting: ‘Fabulous group of people brave, honest, inspiring. Made me laugh and cry.’
Finding confidence: ITV’s The 18-30 Stone Holiday saw a group of eight Brits – who all weigh more than 20 stone – visit The Resort on the paradise island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas
Comraderie: The group celebrated the end of their week by hitting the beach together
Personal journey: At the end of the programme, the holidaymakers finally had the courage to strip off in public in front of other tourists
Support: Dozens of viewers were left overwhelmed when the group stripped off at the beach
One wrote ‘Absolutely bawling my eyes out at 18-30 Stone Holiday, while another added: ‘Idk [I don’t know why] but I’m getting emotional watching’.
Viewers became particularly overwhelmed after one holidaymaker, Steven, spoke candidly about ‘hating everything about himself’ in one heart-wrenching scene.
‘What a lovely young man Steven is, my heart is breaking for him,’ one tweeted.
Another posted: ‘These beautiful people have done so well to overcome their insecurities!! So pleased for them all. Beautiful human beings!!’
Hitting the beach: The group stripped off in front of other holidaymakers at the end of the show
Group activities: Some of the holidaymaker spend time relaxing in the pool at the resort
‘You should be proud of yourselves’: There was an outpouring of support for the participants
A third emotional viewer agreed: ‘In my eyes they are beautiful, because everybody is.’
However other viewers took to Twitter to blast the show for ‘promoting obesity’ with one claiming the show was ‘disgusting’.
One Twitter user wrote: ‘Just turned my TV on to a programme called “18-30 stone holiday”, the worlds gone mad.’
Another commented ‘[S]top excess eating & drinking & get some exercise.. and you won’t b 30 ++ stone!!’.
The resort in the Bahamas is specifically designed to cater for plus-size holidaymakers. The resort features sun loungers around a pool – all of which can take up to 40 stone in weight
Luxury: Steven was seen testing out one of the beds at the hotel, which has been specially reinforced to support the weight of the plus-sized visitors
New experiences: On the show the holidaymakers tried out a number of activities. Alice (pictured) struggled as she tried out paddle boarding during the holiday
Alice was seen getting emotional during one of the outings, after she fell off a paddleboard
Critics: Some viewers accused the show of ‘celebrating’ and ‘promoting’ obesity
The ITV show followed the group as they spent a week enjoying the company of fellow plus-sized tourists from across the UK and tried out new activities – including stripping off in the pool.
To make the guests feel super comfortable, American owner James King has ensured the resort is big on space – and he’s hoping to capitalise on the global obesity crisis.
The custom-built resort features colourful sun loungers around an azure-blue pool – all of which can take up to 40 stone in weight.
While the king-sized beds have been reinforced with steel bars to ensure those who sleep – or get frisky – on them won’t worry about the bed collapsing in the night.
Selfies and self-esteem: Couple Ami and Adam, both in their twenties and obese, say their own honeymoon was a disaster because Ami hated the way she looked in the photos so much she deleted many of the images
Confidence: Steven, from Scotland, admits he hates ‘his top half’ but by the middle of his holiday, he decides to take the plunge and jump in the pool
There’s freedom to lounge at the pool without fear of judgement, says owner James King, who is hoping to cash in on the ever-increasing problem of obesity. An in-resort body confidence coach encourages guests to feel happy enough to wear just their swimwear
There’s a ‘freedom from judgement’ policy that means those who want to strip off will never feel like they’re being fat-shamed, something that all of the guests say has happened to them before in more conventional resorts.
The show saw the group undertake a body confidence therapy session with one of the resorts’ ‘coaches’.
The session quickly became emotional as the UK group shared their stories.
Mother-of-two Alice, from Nottingham, is just 31 but admitted that she’s already planned her own funeral, fearing that she won’t see her two young children grow up.
The show followed a group of overweight British tourists as they visited the resort on the paradise island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas
Our place in the sun: Larger guests need not fear collapsing sun loungers, the Resort’s pool-side chairs can take 40 stone in weight
Reassurance: Everything at the Bahamian idyll has been looked at through an obese person’s eyes including toilets and beds that are reinforced to take a heavier frame
The doorways have also been widened to provide easy access for overweight tourists
And Dane, from Sheffield, couldn’t contain his emotion as he revealed that he scuppered wedding plans with Helen, ‘the love of his life’, twice because his weight has left him with crippling anxiety.
Holidaymakers at the resort aren’t encouraged to worry about what they eat – there’s a bottomless buffet three times a day – but there is focus on persuading them to feel comfortable enough to parade around in swimwear and get involved in daring sports they might not try elsewhere.
They group were told by the duo of body coaches: ‘When you look in that mirror, you can’t see failure.’
‘If she’s unhappy, I’m unhappy’: Adam, who weighs in at 22 and a half stone, says that he hates the fact his wife Ami doesn’t feel confident on holiday
‘Vibrant’ Scotsman Steven says just getting on a plane can be traumatic with airline regulations forcing those who can’t fit between the arm rests of one seat to buy an additional seat
A therapy session sees Dane, from Sheffield, open up about how ‘crippling anxiety’ has seen him call off his wedding to ‘the love of his life’ Helen twice already
David tells the group that as an 18-stone gay man, he doesn’t always fit in with the body beautiful image often found in gay clubs
The resort is big on space with extra wide doors and roomy accommodation the order of the day
A piece of paradise: Owner Jamie King is hoping to cash in on the world’s global obesity crisis…by making a more comfortable environment for larger people to holiday in
‘I’ve even planned my own funeral’: Mum-of-two Alice reveals how her 36-stone frame inhibits her life
Alice Young, 32, said that a stay at the Resort left her finally accepting her size and feeling more confident about her 36-stone frame.
‘Severely obese’ for much of her life, Alice tells the group that she fears she won’t see her two young children grow up if her weight continues to ‘grow with her’.
Mother-of-twins Alice Young said appearing on the ITV show had helped her self-esteem; the 36-stone mum had previously said she found going to the shops hard
Alice,(second from left )from Newark, Notts, joined the group for filming in April and said she’d jump at the chance to go back
During an emotional session on the first day of her holiday she told the rest of her group, being filmed for new ITV show My 18-30 Stone Holiday, that she’d planned ahead for her young family in case she doesn’t reach 40.
Alice, from Newark, Nottingham, told the The Nottingham Post she loved every minute of the experience, saying: ‘It was amazing for people that have got similar problems to sort of realise that people have different issues but we’re all going along the same journey.
‘It’s not size that matters, it’s what going on inside your head.’
The mother-of-twins said she’d love to return to the island for a second break, gushing: ‘I would love to go back, I think it’s the perfect place to go if you have got body issues or self-esteem issues. You are accepted there.’