Wednesday, May 19, 2021

"My 600-lb Life" family members responsible for weight gain but not weight loss

My Covid 19 recovery has given me lots of time to catch up on a reality TV show that has had a big impact on this weight loss blog. Part of how I lost 100 pounds was following TLC's "My 600-lb Life." Each episode features patients with morbid obesity, seeking gastric bypass. One of the issues addressed is responsibility for weight gain. Commonly, bariatric surgeon Dr. Nowzaradan will confront not only the patient but also family members whom he often calls "enablers." 

"My 600-lb Life" features extreme examples of morbid obesity, but sadly the reality TV show participants aren't that unusual. The World Health Organization finds that 70 percent of the world is obese. This isn't just the number that are overweight. This is a BMI of <30. So clearly the question of accountability is crucial. Whose fault is it when someone is hundreds of pounds overweight? Whose job is it to make someone lose weight? Gastric bypass surgeon Dr. Now would say the family, as well as the patient, if they are enabling overeating. But he says that weight loss is the patient's task. 

Why is that? Let's first explore a term bandied about by "My 600-lb Life" families: caregiver. I have a real problem with that term if obesity is the main health issue. Why do overweight people need "caregivers?" It seems to me that it's just a misnomer for "staff." If these folks want bariatric surgery, they need to practice self-care and stop expecting to be waited on, catered to and pampered. 

Take the episode about "I want medical transport" Joyce. Yes, I've been picking on poor Joyce a lot lately. We heard all about how hard Joyce was working to lose weight. But what we SAW was her family working hard pushing her around in her wheelchair, fetching, obeying and generally carrying the can. When asked why she gained 60 pounds on Dr. Now's bariatric surgery diet, you could see her sister I believe it was biting her tongue not to say "because she eats all the time and is lying about following the diet!!!" 

Dr. Now wisely lays morbid obesity squarely at the door of both the patient and the enablers. If someone is so overweight that they can't get around, then they aren't feeding themselves. Someone is providing the plus-size portions. (And where DO they get the money to feed these massive appetites? But I digress) However, the gastric bypass surgeon also wisely puts weight loss directly in the hands of the patient and them alone. They must stop laying there waiting to be fixed (Joyce). 

As I've learned along the "how I lost 100 pounds" road, ain't nobody can lose weight for you. You got to walk that lonesome valley by yo'self. You can do it. I did and if I can, anyone can. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive