Tuesday, May 18, 2021

"My 600-lb Life" patients mistake obesity pain for mystery ailments

Part of how I lost 100 pounds was to learn from the success and failure of others. I have learned a lot about weight loss from watching TLC's gastric bypass reality TV show "My 600-lb Life." The most important lessons are how delusion and denial lead to obesity. Every episode features patients deceiving themselves and trying to lie to gastric bypass surgeon Dr. Nowzaradan. One of the most common deceptions is the notion of pain and where it originates. 

A good example is the "My 600-lb Life" episode featuring "I want medical transport" Joyce. This overweight 44-year-old woman is struggling with morbid obesity. She was supposed to lose weight for gastric bypass surgery and instead gained 60 pounds in two months. She can't imagine how she didn't lose weight when she supposedly followed Dr. Now's 1,200 calorie a day weight loss diet. Joyce tries to convince the "My 600-lb Life" surgeon that she put on 60 pounds of water weight gain on the ride across town (!)

So that's a pretty big delusion (which many viewers have wisely called out as a lie). With that kind of self-deception, it's not hard to imagine how Joyce gained weight despite "doing everything right." Weight gain like that equals more like 12,000 that 1,200 calories a day. Also, Joyce is obsessed with getting medical transport everywhere she goes. She believes that an ambulance will be more comfortable than a taxi and that discomfort and not being overweight, is her biggest problem. She even fakes a heart attack to get the medical transport she so desires. 

Setting aside the freakish cost of ambulances (I'm always boggled by how "My 600-lb Life" weight loss surgery patients afford this), Joyce is ignoring the fact that she is in pain because of her obesity not obese because she is in pain. She may feel like she's having a heart attack because she is so overweight. She won't walk anywhere because of all her pain, which is caused by not walking anywhere. 

The "My 600-lb Life" participant tries to con Dr. Now that a simple ride to the doctor is life-threatening. She melodramatically has to "rest and recuperate" from being checked out for the faked heart attack but will not admit that her obesity, lymphedema, enormous stomach, caved ankles--are what she needs to heal from. She only feels better flat on her back but can't or won't see that this is what causes the fluid pooling, edema and feelings of heart attack. Joyce describes in lurid detail all her mystery ailments but won't do one simple thing that would stop them: lose weight. 

And that's part of how I lost 100 pounds, by waking up to facts: when I was obese, I didn't have mystery ailments, I had obesity pains. I could and did lose weight and thereby fix most of the health issues. 

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