There’s not much good on TV these days. Well, not much good until the next season of Better Call Saul, but in the meantime, even with a zillion cable TV channels and On Demand, there still isn’t much good on TV. There does happen to be one show, however, that has me totally hooked – My 600 Pound Life on TLC.
I love this show. I love the brave people who share their stories on national TV and I love Dr. Nowzarandan, MD. FACS!
The first time I was flipping through channels and found it, I thought I’d only be able to watch it for a few minutes before I got bored or annoyed by the stupid things these people were doing to try to lose weight. I was wrong. The stories are amazing, they’re sad, sometimes tragic, and often inspiring. There’s nothing stupid about how they’re trying to lose weight, (unlike the Biggest Loser which is full-on stupidity!) They’re about some of the strongest, most determined people I’ve ever seen on television.
I have always been a staunch supporter of obesity surgery. I come across people both professionally and personally, who are aware of my occupation, who assume that I think gastric bypass and other medical means of intervention for obese individuals is cheating. They wrongly assume that I only endorse the “old fashioned way, e.g. diet and exercise, as the only respectable way to lose weight.
It’s actually the opposite. I have been helping people to lose weight for more than 25 years. It was early in my career that I realized that sometimes people need more help than what my company can provide. It makes no sense to me for people to take the position that medical intervention is only for the weak, the lazy, and the cheaters. I reject the belief that body weight is a sign of poor character, lack of ambition and self-discipline, and a condition that people “deserve because they do it to themselves.”
The men and women on My 600 Pound Life may have some character flaws and maybe they don’t. I don’t watch to judge them. I don’t know how they got so overweight, but when they decide they’ve had enough and they want to lose weight, they show an amazing amount of determination. Just getting to the hospital in Houston for a consultation is a major ordeal for these people.
The first hurdle they must get over is losing 100 pounds without medical intervention to prove they are good candidates for the surgery. Some of them are more successful at that than others. They are given a strict diet to follow and often despite their determination to stick to it, they are in situations where they are influenced by enablers. It’s fascinating to watch the change in the patient and the people around her or him and the change in the household dynamics.
Not every patient who has the surgery goes on to reach his or her weight goal. Obesity surgery isn’t magic. Work must be done to lose weight and to keep it off. The stories are riveting. I find myself rooting for the patient. Sometimes I get angry with the household members who love the patient and show it by helping the patient ignore Dr. Nowzandaran’s orders.
I enjoy the “where are they now” stories even more. One, five, sometimes even 10 years later they are still working towards getting to their goals. Some have lost 400 pounds of more. They return to Dr. Nowzarandan for skin removal surgery. The transformations are no less than miraculous.
I much prefer my 600 Pound Life to any of the programs about weight loss that make it a competitive sport. Weight loss isn’t ever a competition. Competitive weight loss may result in mind boggling weight loss, but the “big losers” are putting their lives on hold while they put all of their energy into the competition. When it’s over, it’s just like the saying, “when it’s over, it’s over.” No more fame, no more motivation, no more nothing including having learned anything to support maintaining the loss.
My 600 Pound Life is different. These people are making a commitment to a lifestyle change. They’re choosing self-care and they’re more likely to be successful because they aren’t looking to win a competition. They are looking to improve their lives for good!
“Nothing good on TV tonight? Oh! wait, I’ll watch My 600 Pound Life on demand!”