Can you imagine weighing 600 pounds!
The other day I got wrapped up into another TV marathon. Last week it was Wild Alaska (love how self-reliant those peeps are) but this week it was My 600 Pound Life.
If you haven’t seen the program it follows a person who weighs at least 600 pounds and is preparing for bariatric surgery. You meet the person in their present physical prison. Some are completely bed ridden as they are unable to lift their own body weight while others have extremely limited mobility. The hour show follows their progress over a year.
I felt guilty for even watching. Their struggles are deeply saddening. While it’s easy to sit back and say this is all self-inflicted, listening to their stories makes you realize the suffering they are in and how they are self-medicating with food.
It also taught me a BIG lesson that I want to share with you.
I watched 2 episodes back to back and was very intrigued by the markedly different outcomes.
The man in the first episode weighed nearly 700 pounds, has a wife and child and had become more like another child to care for to his wife than a participating husband.
The woman in the second episode weighed about 600 pounds, has a husband and child and is completely bedridden. She seemed convinced that she was just unable to do anything to help herself.
Both spouses of the morbidly obese person were also overweight but not dangerously so. The children were still at healthy weights as well.
However, the wife in the first episode was absolutely fed up with her husband’s inability to help with raising their child and with chores around the house. He couldn’t even pick up his cell phone if he dropped it.
The husband in the other episode on the other hand, saw his wife as a victim. She convinced herself that she knew all she needed to know about nutrition and how many calories she was taking in and even imagined that she was losing hundreds of pounds when in fact she had gained 5 pounds. Her husband backed her up saying that she had been “eating really well” and there must have been something wrong with the initial weigh in. He seemed to even enjoy taking care of her.
After their surgeries, the man fell back to his original eating habits even though snarfing fried chicken made him immediately regurgitate. Seriously, he barfed. Disgusting.
Similarly, the woman had her husband making her fried wontons declaring she wasn’t going to live without them. Her husband said he felt it was a better choice than “ordering out.” He said it as if those were the only 2 choices in the world!
After a few months the man’s wife left him because he wasn’t making progress and was unwilling to change.
The other couple however, argued with the doctor saying she was doing everything possible and everything he told her to do and it wasn’t working. This, of course, was completely untrue.
Once the man realized his wife meant business, he got his act together and lost 350 pounds. He continued to lose weight after that as well.
The woman gained 5 pounds. She quit talking with the doctor.
What is there to learn from this?
Before I answer that, I want to add that these people have severe eating disorders that don’t translate one-to-one to the everyday slightly overweight person or even the person who has 50 -75 pounds to lose.
There are some serious psychological problems going on that bring a person to surrender their life to food.
On the other hand, there is one huge lesson to take away from these 2 episodes.
You have to want to change for any intervention to work.
Are you in enough distress either physically or psychologically, and are you fed up enough with the way you feel or look to dedicate yourself to change?
Change is hard.
Staying the same is easy yet painful in a different way.
If you are overweight or ill, are you in enough pain to commit to changing your life to improve your health?
Tell me what you think it takes to make those big lifestyle changes in the comments below. Share what you know!