Last night, the new show, “My 600 LB Life,” premiered on TLC. This documentary has four episodes about four people who transformed from over 600 pounds to their ideal weight by undergoing gastric bypass surgery. Melissa’s story was the first episode, and it was so touching to see her transformation. We got to see seven or so years of her life, starting out at 650 pounds and ending up around 200 pounds (I can’t remember the exact number.)
One thing that I know from experience and really saw in last night’s episode was how much of weight loss is mental.
Being morbidly obese is the result of a combination of factors:
- Use food to cope with everything. If the individual is happy, sad, mad, frustrated, upset, depressed, lonely, bored, plus any other feelings, they eat. (I know because my starting weight was 632 lbs.)
- There is an enabler in the house. To me, an enabler wants to make the enabled person happy by whatever desires the enabled has. No matter the consequences, such as weight gain, debt, loss of friends, lack of mobility, etc. For example, Melissa’s husband had the desire to take care of someone. It’s what he wanted. So, if Melissa wanted food, he gave it to her, not considering that the food was killing her.
- Make excuses and have faulty logic. To justify being morbidly obese, Melissa had this crazy notion that she would be overweight when she finally got to the point of not being able to walk. I can remember going to the doctor’s office a long time ago and making crazy excuses (the scale is broken) when the scale would show tremendous weight gain.
It was fascinating to see Melissa’s mental transition from 600+ lbs. to 200 lbs. She commented a few times about how she mentally still thought of herself being 600 lbs even though she weighed much less. I catch myself doing the same thing, sometimes.
I received the most joy from watching Melissa’s happiness about being mobile and free again. Free from being dependent on others for regular day to day tasks such as bathing and going to the bathroom. I loved the smile on her face as she ran up and down her front porch stairs. She had not been able to run stairs in a long time.
The most touching part of the show, to me, was when Melissa had her baby. Her husband and her struggled to get pregnant, including having one miscarriage, which understandably made Melissa extremely depressed. Finally near the end of the show, they had their beautiful girl.
I also loved seeing how Melissa’s weight loss affect her marriage. No one thinks of how the weight loss of a spouse will change things. — Melissa and her husband had some problems, but it appears that they worked them out with counseling.
My thoughts on gastric bypass surgery: First, if you haven’t followed my blog, my dad died from complications of gastric bypass surgery in the early 80′s when I was one. So, I never knew my father because of the surgery. It’s very sad, and a result of that event, I know that gastric bypass is not for me. However, I do not frown upon others who get the surgery. Just like food choices and religious beliefs, the choice to have gastric bypass surgery is a personal one. If you feel that the only way that you will lose the weight is gastric bypass surgery, please research it, speak with your doctor about it, and see if you are a good candidate for the surgery. The procedure has advanced in many ways since my dad had the surgery in the 80′s. It’s a personal decision. I have friends that have had the surgery and have been successful at losing weight, but I have also heard some horror stories. Please understand that no matter what method you choose to lose weight, you still have to learn good eating and exercise habits.
I look forward to next week’s episode.