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My 600-lb Life: Fact Orr Fiction? 🧐🤔



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This show played a part in my decision to have WLS. Seeing the struggles and the victories helped me to better understand my relationship with food. But now that I’ve had my VSG, I’m paying attention through a more watchful eye and I’m beginning to wonder how realistic some of these things are, specifically the weight loss goals that the patients are given.

On the most recent show, there was a lady who was 1 year out and the doctor told her she should still be losing 15 pounds a month but the more I read here and other places that seems like a tall order for someone who is even 4 months out. I was never given specific weight loss goals after surgery but I know every program is different. I was even surprised that I wasn’t given a goal before I even started the process like Dr. Now gives his patients.

What are your thoughts? Is “My 600-lb life fact or fiction? Were you given weight loss goals by your surgeon?

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Man, I used to be somewhat addicted to that show. Very sad, and should be an eye opener for all , struggling with WL or not! As for do I think it is real. Yes I do think that it is real. I almost scheduled my surgery with Dr. Now but decided against it, then did more research and 2 years later had the surgery done free of charge through my insurance near my own hometown thank God! He is a bit harsh and I hope that his harshness is only for tv purposes. I also wonder, does he not require each client to do nutrition classes or have a psych eval? I mean, I only hear him require this after he has been very harsh, has made accusations, and has turned someone away due to their 'dishonesty" and/or unready/unwillingness.

So the 15 pounds a month- that really depends on how much weight that a person still has left to loose for the height they are, age, etc. It also depends on which surgery they got. So a person might be 4 months away from the date of their surgery but if they are still more than 100 pounds overweight, depending on their height 5, 10, or even 15 lbs per month (again depends on the WLS that they chose), is probably not too much to ask. I will say that this was something that bothered me about Dr. Now, I feel like he had the same expectations for which client which is garbage.

Some Dr.'s give goals before they will perform the WLS on anyone, others don't. I was very hesitant because of this and I don't think I would have been able to get the surgery so quickly if there was a special WL goal beforehand. I did inquire about this and the way my Dr.'s looked at it was they could give a goal but many people have a food issue and having to meet some goal is only prolonging a persons journey to health.

So, yeah, "My 600-lb life" is probably fact and no I did not have a WL goal before surgery, although I had one after surgery (I was told that I was loosing too fast, in my research I am loosing at a normal rate for the WL, duodenal switch loop, that I had and I personally think as long as I am healthy and losing weight (not under or over), it is all good.

Side note- I can't stand to watch that show anymore. It seems different than when it first started and I don't like that the journey isn't fully followed or explored the way that it seemed like it was back in the day. I think that there are also different versions with different names as well, which can be why it seems so different. I have always had many motivations for WL, and that show was a big part of it!

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@TisTrue thanks for the feedback. I agree that he can be harsh and it sounds like his focus is strictly on free will vs. looking at obesity as a disease.

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I have all but stopped watching this show. I used to watch it to sort of inspire me and keep me on track, but I realized that I just could not watch these people doing some of the things they did. I'm sure that the show edited for drama, but I just couldn't keep watching them shove their faces full of food.

I also had questions about Dr. Now's approach. Why would he wait until AFTER the procedure to get his patients into psychological counseling? It made no sense to me. I also thought he was rather judgemental and harsh, but at the same time, I think if he'd gotten them started in psychological counseling he could have avoided some of these mind games they play with each other.

Rather than all these weight loss journey episodes, maybe he should blend in some "where are they now" episodes. I'd really like to know how successful his patients are in the long-term.

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@S@ssen@ch the shows that are coming on right now are following people at 1-year post op and some are still struggling and going to counseling....which validates your point.

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I have not watched the show. I just had my 2 month follow up with my surgeon. I have list 25lbs. And I asked him. Shouldn't it be more? He told me that based on my age and how much weight/height that I was right on course. He said the he would expect about 55 lbs by 6 months. So that made me feel better. This is how my journey will be. I had the sleeve March 3 2020. Sw 250 ( Gained 20 lbs from quitting smoking) That sucked but still no smokes. CW 225

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Posted (edited)

I think it's probably real, but I think it gives a lot of people - including WLS patients - the wrong impression about WLS. First of all, those people weigh over 600 lbs. I've been working with pre-op groups for the last three years - at least one a month. I have NEVER seen anyone nearly that big in any of the groups. Never. I would say most people in those groups are around 250-ish lbs - and there are always a handful that are probably 300-400 or maybe 450 lbs tops. Most surgeons refuse to operate on patients bigger than that, so they go to high-risk specialists like Dr. Now. But people think most bariatric patients start out at that size, because that's all they've seen on TV. I think the show also features people with a lot of weird issues (as opposed to basically normal people who happen to be morbidly obese, like most WLS patients) because it juices the ratings up.

anyway, among the wrong impressions it gives people about bariatric patients: that we all stuff our faces with pizzas all day long, that we all have bizarre mental "issues", that we drop massive amounts of weight every month (I can't even tell you how many new post-ops here on BP and other forums worry themselves sick because they didn't drop 40 lbs the first month. Good Lord. It's because it's very unusual for someone who starts out at 250 or whatever pounds to drop that much weight. I'm pretty sure they have this expectation because they watch "My 600 lb Life").

I also HATE the fact that they show these people in the shower - or sitting on the toilet. What is the point of humiliating these people?

anyway, not a fan. At all. I guess a "pro" is that it's exposed a lot more people to what WLS is all about, but I think it gives them very inaccurate impressions of it, too.

Edited by catwoman7

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@catwoman7 I don't think that it necessarily gives the wrong impression. If someone is not willing to do the research and figure out options that is bad on them. I'll admit, I did a lot of research before getting WLS and even after having it done, until I joined this WL site, getting more insight from those that have been through it thereby being able to do more research on what people have said, I realized that there is just so much that we don't know. I mean, even the Dr.'s that perform these surgeries really don't know all that they probably should. As for people that are above 300 lbs, when I went to meetings before I had the surgery there were a ton of people in my community that were over 300lbs. Honestly the first orientation that I went to had people that were so morbidly obese that I really thought to myself and was very afraid that I would not be approved for the WLS. At the time I was definitely morbidly obese, but was "small" compared to many of the other people that were at that first meeting. Reading a variety of discussions on this site has had me come to the conclusion that no one at all has all of the answers when it comes to these types of surgeries. As far as "weird issues" goes and facing mental health issues, if it has not already happened it is being taken into serious consideration to classify being obese as a mental illness. What is normal anyways? Hhmmm wrong impressions? Most of us are or were overweight because of our horrible eating habits and I would even argue that if we had a camera following us around all day for days on end along with editing the video to put all of our eating together to possibly make it have that "wow/whoa" factor for ratings, we probably would not be too far off on how those on the show look. Just sayin. Editing is amazing and ridiculous all at the same time! Yes, I agree that showing people half dressed, on the toilet, in the shower is a bit much, but that is what they signed up for. Side note- this is also what I absolutely hated about the show "the Biggest Looser". That is a whole other story (smh). We have to research more and realize TV needs ratings. There might be truth, but also a lot of bull crap along with it and we are all individuals with different experiences including the Dr.'s and nurses that treat us. They too have different outlooks on the do's and the don'ts and their own personal agendas at times. I am grateful for the surgery and for this site that has connected me with so many different people with a vast amount of re-searchable information!

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Fat Doctor from the UK is so much better....I like 600 lb Life but am overall a bigger fan of many UK shows and their version, albeit only 5 seasons is way better and can be found on YouTube.

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7 minutes ago, mi75 said:

Fat Doctor from the UK is so much better....I like 600 lb Life but am overall a bigger fan of many UK shows and their version, albeit only 5 seasons is way better and can be found on YouTube.

yea I've heard that one is better - more realistic.

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Most of those people are like 400lbs over weight if not more

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I hate the shower scenes, there is no good reason other than drama to show those poor people in that compromising position. Even when I watch it I always fast forward through the nakedness.

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I started watching the show after my surgery. If I saw it before I probably wouldn't have gone through with it. The surgery scenes are very graphic. Especially the "pulling out the stomach" parts of the Sleeve.

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Posted (edited)

If you haven’t seen the New York Times article detailing the long term outcomes of former contestants on reality shows such as The Biggest Loser and My 600lb Life, I strongly recommend reading it here.

Also worth reading: obesity specialist Dr. Arya Sharma's thoughts on The Pedagogy of Obesity Reality Shows. (The paper by Emma Rich (referred to in Dr. Sharma's article) is attached, for those who don't have access to Pubmed.)

I haven't watched these, or any other "reality" tv show. In my view, this type of programming is voyeuristic, transgressive, and entirely exploitative of individuals who are, at best, deeply troubled and extremely vulnerable: the modern day equivalent of the Victorian freak show.

Rich2011Health.pdf

Edited by PollyEster

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