So, I have gotten into watching “my 600 lb life”. I got into binging on it this weekend, because of a clip I saw on facebook. It was the episode with Steven Assanti, who’s last name is pretty much fitting of the type of person he is, where he fell off from the back of a golf cart and over exaggerated his pain. Apparently he is the most known and most hated “My 600lb Life”, person. He’s highly obnoxious, abusive, and flamboyantly annoying. He’s not only the most hated, but from my binge so far, the most difficult of the people Dr. Now has had to deal with. Dr. Now comes across as very patient and obviously highly knowledgeable general surgeon, but even he couldn’t handle this guy and had to use some expert level communication skills, to deal with Steven.
From my binging of this show, I have come to realize there are a couple of common denominators for the individuals who’ve allowed themselves to weigh over 600 lbs and become, sometimes, totally bedridden. Not only that but it has become a very good tool, to help me focus on my dieting. Seeing these individuals who are morbidly obese, with lymphedema that is so deforming (Steven has one of the worst case of lymphedema, on the show), on their lower extremities or abdominal region, it is a huge deterrent for eating food that isn’t good for you – or at least in the extreme that would allow you to become over weight.
A lot of these individuals have had some very “traumatic” experiences in their life. Something that has made food a perfect form of coping mechanism. Such a perfect storm, that it has literally become difficult for them to re-learn their behavior and utilize something less destructive, to cope with their situations. It is as if they are in a vicious cycle that begins with craving the food because it is obviously a necessity to life, having a feeling of reduced self-worth because of their size, consuming said food in abundance that it is absolutely ridiculous that a human body can actually hold so much food in one sitting and then feeling bad for the whole situation which is contributing to more weight gain, that they go right back to food to help them feel better for the bad choices they are making. You hear it constantly throughout the series, of people talking about food being a comforting blanket. So that kind of equates their addiction to food, to a heroine addict needing the fix and having that moment of not having to think about their problems, until that fix wears off and they are awaiting the next one. So in a way, and is it described as that throughout the series; food has become an addiction for these people.
Another thing I have noticed, is majority of these people have been morbidly obese since they were children. Some of them even as young as 6 years of age. So it is something that has been happening for years, and it’s only in their early 20s, 30s or where ever, that they realize that this actually is a problem. It kind of baffles me that it takes not being able to wipe your own ass and being completely bedridden, for someone to realize they have a problem, but here we have it – my 600 lb life, has a lot of these individuals.
These people have a lot of enablers around them. They have people who can literally save their life, by just not bringing the food to them. Especially for those who are bedridden, because they cannot get to the food themselves so clearly, the continuation of food addiction is being perpetuated by those around them. Not only can’t they prepare their own food but they cannot go food shopping either. So there’s so many areas of their life, that their loved ones can actually make changes and force it upon them because when they meet Dr. Now, he does just that. He stops them from eating the wrong foods, reduces their calories significantly and guess what, they lose weight. I mean imagine that! So some of these family members are actually performing some form of neglect and have been doing it for a very long time.
Majority of the individuals on this show, tend to be angry all the time and very mean towards their caregivers. Whether it be a friend, lover, family member, or whoever, they always are somewhat verbally abusive in some way that I am surprised these people have stuck around. It is like these morbidly obese people, at certain difficult moments in their life; which majority of the time is when they have to become mobile, forget that they are having these huge obstacles with every day life because of their own doing and not anyone else. I know I previously mentioned family members and loved ones being enablers, but there are points in these people’s lives that they are mobile and are able to get their own food. So, there was a period and it’s about around the 600 lb mark, they are contributing to their own demise. You would think a little humility every now and then, and reflection, would be something they would try to practice, to at least guarantee that the love ones who are tolerating them enough to help them with every single task of daily living, would stay around and continue to do just that because a lot of them would not be able to survive, without a caregiver.
Every single time I see these individuals eat greasy food, I am even more empowered with my own diet and weight loss routine. The excuses that you hear coming out of their mouth, you really come to appreciate that program that Dr. Now has assembled. It isn’t just all about reducing their calories to 1000-1200 but also to help them with some form of psychotherapy, to help them change their relationship and their interaction with food. A constant theme about this show is that food is a necessity. It is something we need to live, unlike alcohol, smoking or drugs, which can easily be stopped completely if it is an addictive we’re looking to kick. Food addiction? Not something we can stop completely, without killing the person. So, eating is a must, but eating the right foods and the right amount, is the key part.
But we all can say greasy, bad food is delicious. I love Five Guys burger, enough so that I will make it a cheat meal for myself sometime next week, but fitting it into my 1600 caloric intake. So, I can understand to a certain point with these people, but I cannot empathize with them. I can understand why they continue to go after those foods as it just releases a flow of dopamine into their brain and make them feel really good, but I cannot empathize on the continue use of it when it is literally destroying their lives. But I guess that’s just the definition of an addiction, right? The act of doing something or taking something that can be harmful to you.
Pain, seems to be another common denominator with these food addicts. They all complain about pain throughout their body, as soon as they wake up. Pain so much that they tend to be on a lot of pain medications and happen to have a drug addiction along with their food addiction. I, personally, can say that too much weight can actually be painful. I am 5’4″ and 180 lbs, and without activity and adequate muscle support, my knees started hurting me. It is one of the reasons I have started working out and dieting. But these people also have pain because of their commodities associated with obesity; sores, lymphedema, etc.
Finally, a lot of these morbidly obese people, are in constant denial. Throughout the show, it was always the sentiment that someone else was worst off than they were. That they as an individual did not need as much help as the other person (sometimes it was a couple, siblings or friends who were both reaching out to Dr. Now for help, and not just one individual). Also in denial of how much they actually do eat. They will admit they eat a lot because no one gets to over 600 lbs or even less than that, without overeating. But, I guess most people who are addicted to something, will have denial as part of the whole issue.
My 600lb life, is a must watch show. If it isn’t just to catch a glimpse into the morbidly obese pandemic we currently have, but a perfect deterrent to keep on running, keep on biking, and keep on eating properly.
Need inspiration? Watch “My 600lb life” on TLC, every Wednesday!