The Grim Reality Of Life At 800+ Pounds

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TLC continues to produce shows with titles that I am not a big fan of. Previously we reacted to Family By The Ton featuring Casey, a man who overcame being 800 pounds and continues to lose weight now into the 200s. Today we look at the very popular My 600 Pound Life with Dr. Now, specifically the story of Marla McCants, a fast food addict who weighed over 800 pounds. Marla drove to see Dr. Now in Houston and almost didn’t survive the journey. Today we look at her medical experiences receiving bariatric surgery, battling blood clots, and finding the will to walk on her journey to actually losing over 600 pounds. I’m so proud of Marla for taking control of her health and improving her quality of life not just for herself, but her children and grandchildren as well. As always, please lead with empathy in the comments and recognize you should never judge a book by its cover or attribute value to a person based on their size. We’re all a work in progress, myself included!

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-Doctor Mike Varshavski

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37 thoughts on “The Grim Reality Of Life At 800+ Pounds

  1. " I don't think the 1.000 calorie diet needed to be THAT extreme"
    … well, ok, but you're not the specialist in that area, so….. maybe just go with what the specialist says, hmm? Especially as the only info you're judging the situation on is a televised and edited version of selected moments of this persons's life…not the doctor's notes or experience with the patient, etc…
    "I wouldn't have done that. Maybe he should've tried other ways of doing it instead first." (what makes you think he hasn't? because they didn't televise it? don't make judgements based on logic jumps)
    It becomes frustrating to listen to you.

    I may be being unnecessarily picky with my reaction to this, but it's not necessary to have his opinion as to the specifics of the specialist's treatment method, if he himself neither is a specialist in that field, nor knows the ins-and-outs of that patient's situation.

    Treat it as a vent on my behalf, whatever. I felt the need to comment either way, and it's done now, so that's the end of it for me at least.

  2. I think your unfair with the doctor. I'm sure he is not nearly as bad as the show shows and she I'm sure was so terrible to her other doctors too. Until she decided to just move then get motivation.

  3. That's an amazing transformation. Always great to see people regain their health. If you know someone you care about and they are heading towards obesity with their habits please be honest with them. Don't tell them they are okay when they aren't. Otherwise, their blood will be on your hands. May look harsh or be branded as fatphobic but you'll save their lives.

  4. In most episodes there's numerous other members of the patient's care team that he's getting feedback from, I think its just happening behind the scenes. Also you do have to be brutally honest with patients sometimes when encouragement isn't working if you know their life is on the line, and you don’t make that explicitly clear to them, I think that's worse.

  5. The surgeon on this show shouldn't be there. They need to replace him with someone who can actually motivate his patients, not destroy their self esteem. But then people would recover much faster and with less drama, like Marla did after seeking a second specialist. Wouldn't make as great TV, theoretically, based on boomer entertainment. Now days shows like Dr. pimple popper and Super Size Vs Super Skinny, where they actually make a difference in people's lives, are more favorable. But they require a rotating door of new patients, which probably costs more money.

    You can argue the ethics of super size vs super skinny, but you can't deny that it almost always works out in the patients' favor.

  6. I feel both the doctor and Marla are the problem. She doesn't want to accept responsibility and be proactive in her treatment, and he won't accept her excuses or coddle her and verbalizes it. While I agree he doesn't necessarily verbalize it the right way, Marla does have a bad attitude often with him. She doesn't put in the hard work to get better, her behavior is as if all she wants is a magic pill. Luckily, she finally found health professionals that she meshed with or her weight loss would have failed.

  7. I really appreciate mike take and compassion on this topic. Dr. Now is normally pretty combative but the way he treated and dismissed Marla who clearly is someone willing to work and change was super frustrating. Especially say she had an attitude problem and wasn't working hard with the context of medical bias and discrimination. Telling an overweight black woman, she has an attitude problem and is lazy feels bigoted.

  8. Why is this poor woman not treated for the eating disorder she clearly has? Instead she's judged and shamed for a mental illness 🙁 Edit: She looks fabulous at the end!

  9. Currently on a weight loss journey. So fixated on the numbers atm. But today you reminded me of the primary reason for working out and eating healthy – quality of life. I started the journey because i get easily winded by certain activities. Also learned a lot about patient communication. Thank you!!!

  10. I like Dr. Now. Flame me if you want, but people have to take some responsibility for getting themselves so morbidly overweight. We can’t be always politically correct and tiptoeing around making excuses for the unhealthy shapes that people get themselves into or refuse to get out of.

  11. Dr Mike, as a bariatric patient, thank you! I never got to 800lb fortunately, but it could definitely have gone that way. As it is, I’ve gone from a BMI of 48+, to a BMI of just over 31, and still losing thanks to a gastric bypass. And loose skin is a major issue. Everywhere. Please keep up the empathy – overweight people need support, affirmation, and encouragement as much as anyone. I haven’t always felt like you understood this, but you’ve made steps, so thank you!

  12. So you said that it’s not good to stay in a position for long periods of time but what about when you sleep? I move a lot in my sleep but some others in my family barley move.

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