Battling plump-making pounds has long been the work of diet and exercise, but Scottish nutrition guru Gillian McKeith says the way to a healthy weight and fit form goes beyond food.

“There’s a huge emotional component when it comes to food,” says McKeith, “When I first started out, I realized you can get good results with just the food, but you don’t get great results. You have to address these other issues, otherwise you will end up getting to a plateau and be stuck.”

McKeith is helping out-of-shape Canadians acknowledge the emotional path that lead them to unhealthy lifestyles on the new program Eat Yourself Sexy, which premieres Sept. 2 on W Network.

“You may not be able to change the past, but at least acknowledging it is very important to moving away, letting go and moving on,” she says. Baggage ranging from fractured relationships with a parent or partner, through stress at work, to the death of a pet are all factors McKeith says may contribute to developing an unhealthy body. When she sees clients, she gives them an onion to symbolize such setbacks in one’s life.

“That is to represent your original self — your core. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich, poor, old or young; Sometimes you will hold onto things that hold you back,” she says. “We want to peel back all the layers of all the holding.”

But McKeith’s focus exceeds the individual. On Eat Yourself Sexy, she places equal emphasis on partners of the profiled women, believing they’ll inevitably be left behind in the relationship if they don’t co-operate.

“I want the relationship to grow, not to go,” she says. “They have to really support in a way they haven’t done before so they can nourish and nurture that relationship.” In addition to insisting they make similar dietary changes, McKeith gives partners tasks like buying groceries, chopping vegetables or growing sprouted seeds.

And it’s not just relationships McKeith says will become healthier as a result of her regiment. She recalls a woman depicted on the program named Erica who had developed type 2 diabetes, as a result of unhealthy eating habits. “Her freezer was mooing,” she says, “It was like there’d been a slaughter at the zoo! There was every meat you could ever think of.”

Within two weeks of following McKeith’s plan, she says Erica’s blood sugar levels had come down, and reverted to normal within two months.

“You can really make a major dent in your health for the better by adopting the lifestyle I am talking about.”

• Eat Yourself Sexy premieres Sept. 2 on W Network

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