What started as a jovial call to overweight residents to join him on a weight-loss and fitness journey has descended into a flood of negativity aimed directly at Dubbo Region mayor Ben Shields.
Cr Shields agreed to take part in a weight-loss company promotion for the next eight weeks and went on national breakfast television show Today to promote it.
During the live-cross he said "if Dubbo is known as a town of fatties let's change it", and residents have slammed those comments.
"The mayor's comments are an insult to those of us who are overweight but trying to lose weight. They make it sound like we are all lazy and doing nothing about trying to get healthy and lose weight," a resident who did not want to be named told the Daily Liberal.
Rebecca Davey commented on the Daily Liberal Facebook page: "An eight-week challenge is not going to change anything long term. Yes, you will get short term results, and at the end, you will treat yourself with the foods you have been cutting out and then craving. It's a vicious cycle.
Jess Smith said: "The mayor and promoters should be ashamed of themselves."
Dubbo fitness expert Peter Brown was disappointed with the mayor's comments because he says short term diets don't work.
"Short term challenges do more damage than good. Immunity levels drop, metabolisms crash and stress levels increase tenfold," he said. "This 'superfast8weekdietchallenge' won't be the spark people need to lose weight and make a life long change. Instead, it'll be a huge crutch for people en masse to say 'they tried and failed' again, Dubbo's population will be less productive, sick and frankly hungry for the duration."
The mayor politely declined to comment but did say on Facebook the eight-week challenge was "only the start of the journey."
"The plan is all about long term change," he said.
"Indeed this whole debate is beyond ridiculous, if you people don't like what I'm doing - don't take part. This is about promoting healthy well-being."
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