TLC’s docu-series My 600-lb Life has gained much attention. By witnessing participants’ shocking weight and their amazing transformations, viewers got a look into the daily life as a morbidly obese person. The show features patient’s struggles with weight loss and their life-threatening overconsumption of food. The docu-series has also featured some very vibrant personalities. With the good, there must come the bad, though. Dr. Now, the primary surgeon who performs the gastric bypass procedures, can be seen dealing with difficult patients, and some difficult patients are also turned away. If the patient does not perform the necessary tasks after the surgery, the surgery not only becomes useless, but could also possibly be lethal. What happens when the cameras stop rolling, and what happened to the patients after the show? Here are the secrets producers do not want you to know about My 600-lb Life.
15. Plus-Sized Queen Zsalynn Whitworth Divorced Her Husband
You may remember a vivacious plus-sized woman named Zsalynn from the first season of My 600-lb Life. Before her weight prevented her from doing daily tasks, she was proud to be part of the body accepting and body-loving movement. She recalls her trips to luxurious destinations and how she was lavished with expensive gifts from admirers. She soon after met her husband, who appreciated her, particularly for her size. When Zsalynn wanted to lose weight, though, her husband Gareth Whitworth was anything but pleased with the matter.
To keep her off track and at her unhealthy size, he tempted her by eating fatty foods in front of her and didn’t even drive to see Zsalynn after her surgery. Zsalynn’s weight loss ultimately brought their marriage to an end. Reports say that being alone has been quite the change for Whitworth since the two have split up. Whitworth shares, “Being alone a lot has been a bit of an adjustment for me, so I’ve struggled with being depressed when I don’t see Hannah for a while. And being alone has made it even harder for me to deal with my cravings.” The couple shares custody of their daughter, Hannah.
14. Laura Perez’s Once Strong Marriage Is Now Suffering Due To Her Husband’s Jealousy
Texas native Laura Perez was once happily married before her weight loss journey. Now, though, she is facing challenges with her longtime husband Joey. In a clip from My 600-lb Life, Perez’s husband initially was pushing for her weight loss for fear that she may lose her life. Her husband shared with the docu-series, “My biggest fear is that she doesn’t get help and she gives up on herself. I worry about it but I don’t want her to know anything so I just keep it to myself.” When Perez began to lose weight she also started to lose her husband as well. She told In Touch Magazine, “The better I get, the worse my relationship is getting. [Joey] acts a little different.” Joey also claims that as her former caretaker, he feels as though he has been written off and that eventually, Laura will leave him. There is no indication on Perez’s Facebook page whether or not the two are still married.
13. The Show Did Not Show Many Tragedies
Season one participant Henry Foots weighed 750 pounds at the beginning of his weight loss journey. The Texan native said that the catalyst to his weight loss was when he found out that his high school reunion was just around the corner. Foots went down to a staggering 275 pounds and underwent skin removal surgery as well. There is much speculation surrounding Henry Foots’ death. Even though Foots did suffer complications during his skin removal surgery, he did not pass away because of it. When lying on the operating table, the doctors thought he wasn’t going to make it, but he was then brought back to life. He told TLC, “I saw a white light. It was just like having an out of body experience. There was the light to take me to Heaven [but] I wasn’t ready for it because there’s so much here on earth I haven’t done yet.” Foots later passed away in a car accident.
12. Christina Phillips Developed An Eating Disorder
Once 700 pounds, twenty-five-year-old Christina Phillips was immobile and depended on her family for assistance with her personal hygiene and also for her high food consumption. She struggled to lose weight because of her family’s co-dependency but she found success after learning how to control her unhealthy eating habits. Today, Phillips still struggles with food, but instead of eating too much, she now tries to not eat at all. Phillips has expressed that “lately, any time I see the scale go up, I tend to freak out and I stop eating for a couple days.” She goes on to say, “I still see myself as 700 or 800 pounds, and people staring at me–it just makes me not want to leave the house at all.” Now weighing 183 pounds, Phillips claims that she is no longer married to her husband due to his abusive behavior and is now in a happy relationship with a longtime friend.
11. Dr. Now Has Turned Patients Away
The man behind the surgical procedures on My 600-lb Life is seventy two-year-old Dr. Nowzaradan, also known as Dr.Now. As seen on the show, Dr. Now doesn’t perform surgeries on patients who still have unhealthy eating habits. The docu-series airs many episodes in which the surgeon demands that the patient lose around 100 pounds before the surgery. If the doctor’s clients prove to have control over their diet, then he promptly sets a date for the procedure. If not, he turns patients away, but he usually tells them to try again. He told People magazine that his job is not always easy and that he tries to do his best to motivate his patients: “It’s a daily challenge to work with some patients that can be self-destructive. My job is not to get aggravated, but to find a way to motivate them to work hard to get to their goals. There are times where I think it’s necessary for some tough love and I have to be stern with them, so I show some of my concern and frustration.” He goes on to share that severe obesity is linked to psychological disorders that cause an extreme consumption of food.
10. James K Regrets Not Following The Doctor’s Orders
There are many difficult patients on the TLC docu-series, but one patient has stood out from the rest. Kentucky native James K. weighed 790 pounds and was bedridden because of a severe car accident. He goes on to share that he found it completely impossible to perform any physical activity due to a harsh fall. James explains, “Things got worse when I was 42 because I fell, and I was so big that the fire department had to come and get me up. It was one of the lowest moments in my life. And I hurt my ankle really bad, and I had to stay in the bed and rest. But I’m not even sure if it ever healed because that’s the last time I put weight on it.” Dr. Now requested that James lose 100 pounds before his next visit. Within four months, though, he returned to the Houston Hospital with no progress. James was then told to lose 135 pounds. Due to the fact that his eating habits were not under control, Dr. Now refused to perform the surgery and sent James packing back to Kentucky.
9. Lupe Samano Donovan Suffered Severe Hip Pain After Her Surgery
Lupe Samano Donovan successfully lost a total of 300 pounds after her surgery. Unfortunately, Lupe was not out of the woods just yet. Donovan’s hip pain kept her bedridden for weeks and it still keeps her immobile. In a TLC clip, she is seen struggling to sit up by herself. She claims that she fears that she will fall if she stands up. “I push myself to sit up and exercise. The most frustrating thing, having lost all this weight, is not being able to stand and walk okay. I’m scared of falling because of my bad hip. I don’t want to break it,” says Donovan. In the meantime, Gilbert, Lupe’s husband, has taught her to shadow box in order to continue on her weight loss journey and the new workout regimen has also become an outlet for Lupe’s frustrations. Talks of marital troubles surrounded the couple, but according to Lupe’s Facebook, everything is nothing short of bliss between her and Gilbert.
8. Penny Saeger Didn’t Lose Any Weight After Her Surgery
Like James K., Penny Saeger was one of the most difficult patients on the show. Viewers of My 600-lb Life have accused extreme coupon-er Saeger of being stubborn and even lazy. How did Saeger earn her notorious reputation? She did not follow Dr. Now’s orders and she also forced her husband Edgar to go out and buy whatever food she desired. In a clip, Edgar reads out a long list of Penny’s requests, which included cereal, cake mix, and candy. When Edgar tried to change her eating habits by buying healthier food, Penny’s reaction was not so pleasant: “There are things that she wants and then she’ll get upset that I took it upon myself to get her healthy food. People around here need to stop enabling her.” Dr. Now refused to continue working with Penny, which resulted in her and her family leaving the facility. She still thinks that she could lose weight her way.
7. Dr. Now Was Sued For Malpractice In The Past
According to reports, the infamous My 600-lb Life surgeon has been sued before for leaving a ““6.69-inch piece of tubing” after performing a gastric related surgery. Michelle Park claimed that the tube was left inside her body after the operation and claimed that it was in her body for 22 months before the tube was found. The tube damaged Park’s colon and she stated that she suffered great physical pain. In 2013, Park suddenly dropped the case. Rumours circulated that a settlement was reached out of court. There is no document indicating that there was a settlement reached outside of the courtroom. As for Dr. Now, he claimed that he wasn’t the culprit in the matter: “The lawsuit against me was dismissed because I was not the one who left the tube. The lawsuit states that normally tube removal would be the anesthesiologist’s responsibility.”
6. Most Patients Don’t Know How Much They Weigh Until They Visit Dr. Now
Upon their visit to the Houston facility, a majority of the My 600-lb Life patients have no idea how much they weigh. It could possibly be because clients are in denial. There is no denying the unhealthy weight of these participants as soon as they arrive at Dr.Now’s facility. Another reason why patients probably do not know how much they weigh is due to the fact that a standard scale only goes up to 300 pounds. There are also claims that scales in an average doctor’s clinic cannot weigh morbidly obese people. TLC confirmed that the scale at Dr.Now’s office can measure a weight of 900 pounds or more. The heaviest patient to work with the surgeon is Mayra Rosales of Hidalgo County, Texas. According to reports, Rosales came into communication when she gained press attention for allegedly crushing and killing her two-year-old nephew. However, the death of her nephew was not due to Rosales crushing him. After the traumatic event, Rosales decided to take charge of her life and met with Dr. Now to begin her weight loss journey. Within 10 days of a strict diet, Rosales lost a whopping 100 pounds.
5. Dr. Now Performs Surgeries On At-Risk Patients
A majority of Dr. Now’s patients weigh over 600 pounds. To prove to the doctor that they can control their eating habits, Dr. Now requires his patients to lose over 50-100 pounds within a four month period. After they successfully do so, he performs the gastric bypass operation on clients who are in a 500 pound range. Allegedly, the standard weight for a patient approved for the gastric bypass surgery should be around 450 pounds. It may be just only 50 pounds, but it makes a difference. The greater the patient’s weight, the greater the risk that there will be complications during surgery. Obese patients heal poorly and the overexposure of the wound can lead to an infection. Susan Farmer suffered from complications after her weight loss surgery on the show. Farmer was diagnosed with the nerve condition called neurotherapy. It is common among obese individuals, and if not treated right away, it can lead to paralysis. Fortunately for Farmer, the condition was treated and she was proud that she made progress.
4. Patient Pauline Potter Is Now The Heaviest Woman In The World
Pauline Potter has not only made an appearance on My 600-lb Life, but she also has earned the title as the “heaviest woman” by many news outlets. One of Potter’s most famous appearances was on the Dr. Drew show where she claimed to weigh 700 pounds. In a clip, Potter begs for help and is hopeful that Dr.Drew will provide her some type of aid for her weight loss: “Dr. Drew, I’m the world’s heaviest woman, I weigh 700 lbs. Please help me.” Potter’s cry was heard from Dr. Now, but her efforts seen on the show were little to none. She refused to try to move around when Dr. Now insisted that she try to walk. The push for Pauline Potter came from Dr. Now’s concern that Potter would suffer a blood clot in her leg. Throughout the episode, Potter claimed that she pulled muscles and that is why she could not walk. Dr. Now said he heard nothing but excuses from Pauline.
3. Amber Rachdi Is Now Feeling Herself
Amber Rachdi weighed 657 pounds at the age of 23. Viewers can recall her feeling as though she was “nasty, yucky monster.” Now she feels anything but that. Rachdi can be seen as a happy, curvaceous newly blonde woman on her Instagram. According to reports, Rachdi has broken up with her longtime boyfriend, about whom she once said, “I am grateful for my boyfriend; he is the kind of guy that prefers bigger women.” She also went on to say that since meeting her boyfriend, she gained over 200 pounds. Amber’s boyfriend can be seen on the show as being one of her caretakers alongside her parents. She soon after sought out help from Dr. Now, which led to a successful surgery. Rachdi is also now seeking help for her anger through therapy. Rachdi has lost over 400 pounds since the show and flaunts her new figure all over social media.
2. Sean Milliken’s Mother Passed After The Episode Aired
Many viewers will remember Sean Milliken as the 900 pound man that failed at his weight loss after receiving gastric bypass surgery. My 600-lb Life viewers also saw Dr. Now scold Milliken’s mother Renee Milliken for acting as Sean’s enabler. Sadly, Renee Milliken passed away in late April of 2017. On the episode, Sean’s mother is seen bathing him and tending to his needs. “Everything has to be done for him,” says Renee to the TLC cameras. Sean’s mother also continued to say that she needs to keep up with his hygiene due to the possibility that his open sores could lead to an infection. “Sean has gotten so big that it is important that he stays clean because he gets open sores really easily.” There is still not much known about Sean’s caretaker now, for he is still bedridden and unable to move and perform daily tasks.
1. Betti Jo Suffered A Complicated Pregnancy
When trying to start a family with husband Josh, Betti Jo faced some serious complications. Betti Jo did not only face challenges with her pregnancy, though. After losing 200 pounds, there were reports that Betti Jo still received much negative criticism over her body on social media. On a follow-up episode of Where Are They Now? Betti Jo explains that she faced a tough pregnancy: “It’s been a really hard couple of weeks. I went to the emergency room because I was sick, and my stomach was hurting. After doing a CT scan, they noticed a large mass on my spine. Because I’m pregnant, the bigger the baby gets, the more he presses on the bone mass on my spine.” She added, “I’m already a high-risk pregnancy, so a lot of things could go wrong.” Fortunately for Betti Jo, she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy and is still happily married.
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