Enablers of the Morbidly Obese

We’ve all seen them before on Oprah, Maury Povich, 20/20, your local news, etc.
The unfortunate obese people that are so big they can’t leave the house, or can’t get out of a room, or can’t get out of bed for that matter.
Maybe I’m in the wrong here but couldn’t these people lose weight if they are put on a restricted calorie diet? And even though they may not have the will power to stay on a restricted calorie diet couldn’t the person bringing them their food on a daily basis basically force them into one.

No doubt these people like to eat and eat too much, but once they get to a point of immobility there has to be someone else enabling them to continue with their bad habits.

So, are these individuals stuck in their situations because their caretakers can’t say “no” to them or is it some other circumstance I’m overlooking?


To address your other question: if the morbidly obese person were truly immobile, then yea… their caretaker could certainly force them to consume fewer calories. But this rarely happens. The obese person will guilt-trip the caretaker, and the latter will cave-in and give them whatever they want.

So they pass off their weakness/guilt to another person, dragging them down with them. That sounds correct.

This is something I’ve always wondered about, and although I suspect Crafter Man has it right, I’d be interested if someone responds who has worked or researched in the field.

I mean, I suppose I could go home and tell my wife: " I’m going to our room. I’m not leaving it again. Every day, bring me two turkeys, ten pounds of mashed potatoes, a chocolate cake and a case of beer", but, somehow I doubt she would go along with my master plan.

Well, then there is the idea that the people who are enabling the morbidly obese need to feel needed. It is a twisted symbiosis. Also, I suppose the person could count every single calorie and refuse to bring any more food to the person past a healthy daily intake. Probably the bedridden person would lose enough weight that at some point they could get up and get their own food, and repeat the cycle again. :frowning:

INAEBIWALOTV (I’m not an expert but I watch a lot of TV). I don’t think it’s that they decide to become an invalid. Usually, it seems like the obese individual has some sort of injury (often connected with the obesity) that imobolizes them and then they conitnue to gain weight and never regain their mobility. So the partner initially feeds them for what they think will be a recovery period and then they’re stuck in the cycle. And once you reach a certain point, I understand, it can be dangerous to just stop eating. You’ll wind up malnourished and ill.

One other thing I’ve noticed on several of the super obesity specials is the meekness of the partner. The obese individuals are domneering and controlling while the partners seem to have absolutely no self-esteem.

Why not? It sounds pretty sweet.

That is, until she strangles him with his own chain he’s been using to keep her at his side, by running a quick lap around his grotesque body and leaning back hard…while wearing a bronze bra.

0:cool:0 <-- Leia smiley

(sorry, it was just the visual that came to mind when I read the post)

My point being that people who are morbidly obese need help in more way than one. They need to learn how to eat in a healthy way, they need to deal with what is causing them to overeat (physical/genetic problem, emotional problem, combination?) and they need to get an excercise regimen that they can stick to. If their overeating is a way to deal with stress or other emotional problems those must be dealt with, and a new behavior pattern learned so they do not get back into their old famaliar rut. Even after all that, some people are just unable to lose the weight.


Morbidly obese is a deceptive name.
While the associated level of fat will kill you quicker than normal levels, it certainly isn’t incapacitating.
I discovered a couple of years back that one of my male co-workers was classified as morbidly obese at 240 lbs and 5’10 or so.
I’m not trying to argue that this invalidates anything anyone has said, just nitpicking.

Just like the carnival sideshow we are fascinated with the situation of the 500+ lb. morbidly obese person. Meanwhile, IWWAG that there are many, many more people out there that live in a similar circumstance except that the enabler is providing them with alcohol and/or drugs as their life wastes away to nothingness.

I am classified as morbidly obese at 30 yrs of age, 6’1’’ and 350lbs. The only person I have to blame is myself.

I’m not gonna lie and say I don’t eat the wrong things, because I do. But the weird thing is, I don’t eat that much, maybe twice a day, sometimes ONLY ONCE A DAY ! My body’s metabolism is non existant. I exercise (as much as I can with bulging discs) by walking a lot and trying to constantly move around during the day.

But the weight just will not come off me. I’ve literally tried everything all my life and it is a living hell being obese, a living hell. I have even lost the weight and got own to 185 and then gained it back !

I am looking into having the gastric bypass, but have been denied by two insurance companies so far. I am on my third attempt with a new insurance company now. So, it’s a living hell and to answer the question, most can only blame themselves or some form of disease. But it’s hard as hell being obese. I don’t feel sorry for myself, I know what has to be done to lose it and that’s that.

Here I am when I was at 185lbs in 1998:

here I am now with my son:

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y1/diggleblop/Recher.jpg a link that works. sorry

Good luck, diggleblop-and cute kitty!

Topic: Another factor are people called feeders. Apparently, these people encourage their obese partners to stay that way and to become even fatter. Some kind of status thing. It’s really very messed up.

Some enablers may not even know they’re enabling. I recall a thread about a doper who was looking after her exteremely ill mother, who was bedridden and (I may be wrong, this is in recall) also morbidly obese. The Doper would try to monitor and control her mother’s eating, but her mother would then guilt other family members and social workers/nurses to help feed her when her daughter wasn’t around… So that may be another facet, especially if the person in question has an extended support network of people who would feel obliged to look after them.

How can it be impossible to lose it, if you already have?

I don’t think he means literally impossible, it’s just very, very difficult.

digglebop, I don’t want to hijack this thread, but I had the duodenal switch bypass surgery in June. If you want to talk about it, email me (addy’s in my profile); just be sure to put SDMB in the subject line so I don’t think it’s spam.

As to the OP, AFAIK, the manipulative dynamics of the relationship are set up long before the obese person is incapacitated. I know that my mother was morbidly obese, but never incapacitated by it. But she started training us very young to do what she said we needed to do. Therefore, if she’d ever become bedridden, I don’t think it would have occurred to us to not bring her what she asked for. 'Twould have been unthinkable!

A lot of “thin” people have a misconception on how much overweight people eat. Now, granted, if the person is gaining weight, they’re eating more calories than they’re taking in. But “thin” people think that something along the following lines is true, much of the time:

Random “thin” person (A) weighs 150 lbs and takes in 1500 calories daily to maintain their weight.

Thus, random “fat” person (B) who weighs 300 lbs would need to take in 3000 calories daily just to maintain their weight.

The problem with this theory is that (B) has a much higher percentage of body-fat than (A), and thus a much larger percentage of their body weight uses very few calories to maintain itself (muscle burns more calories than fat, I believe it’s 9x but I’m not positive).

So, in reality person (B) may only need like 2200 calories to maintain their 300 lbs…

Unfortunately that’s mostly (but not entirely) incorrect, Unless there’s a metabolic disease operating basal metabolic levels, even for largely sedentary people, are right at around 9-10 calories per lb of body weight per day. That’s right around the level it takes just to keep your body temperature to normal levels.

There is a metabolic offset in adjusting for obese vs non-obese basal metabolic levels, but it’s much smaller than you might think. Sans a metabolic dysfunction, to maintain 300 lbs, a “random” overweight person, even if sedentary, is typically going to have to be eating and or drinking 2900-3300 calories per day, whether they acknowledge it or not. And in terms of volume that’s necessarily not a big deal. One calorie dense junk food “snack” can easily exceed 1000 calories at a sitting.

The key element is time. Even if you eat (say) just one extra 300 calorie candy bar or bowl of cereal per day, beyond your daily burn rate, you will accumulate over 25-30 lbs of add. fat by the end of the year. That’s one candy bar over your normal burn rate.

You don’t have to be a gobbling hog to get fat. Lots of small calorie dense snacks over enough time can equal massive obesity.