“My 600 -700-800-900 pound life” suggestion

First, let me say that I am obese and I have fought weight my entire life. I used to have a pretty substantial compulsive eating problem. But the most I ever weighed, at my absolute worst, was about 330. (5’8” F)

I have watched this show off and on for years. Lots of things about it are shocking and repulsive and sad and tragic and amazing and irritating. For me, the top of that list is the enablers. The people, almost invariably family of some kind, who can look at this person that they presumably love, who has gotten to the point where they cannot even get out of bed because they have become so obese, and just keep bringing them all the food they ask for, day after day.

I cannot recall ever hearing any one of these people explaining why they do this for any reason other than: “he/she will get mad” and variations thereof.

Are you kidding me? Would you supply your drug addicted wife with fentanyl and methamphetamine because she’d get mad if you don’t? Would you bring your alcoholic husband gallons of vodka because he’d get mad if you don’t?

I get that it can be unpleasant and upsetting to be with someone who is screaming and crying and bitching and complaining and just generally horrible when they don’t get their way. But this is life and death. Probably for both of you.

Usually on TV they get put on some insanely restrictive diet that is 1000 miles from where they’ve been living and is understandably incredibly difficult to do. That’s not my suggestion. My suggestion is simpler than that.

If you or someone you know is the caregiver of an immobile super obese food addict, you don’t have to jump into a 1,000 calorie diet to help them (and yourself). Start easy just by bringing them HALF of whatever they ask for to eat, and ignore the screaming and complaining. They want a dozen eggs and 2 pounds of bacon for breakfast? Half a dozen eggs, 1 pound of bacon. Just that easy… Do it with everything. Don’t change the nature of what they ask for at all. Just cut it in half all the way down the line, condiments and everything. (Keep records so you know what they normally eat and ask for because they might get sneaky and start asking for twice as much. Stay aware!) And of course, if that is too radical, cut a third away. Or a quarter.

After a month, or a few, when they are adapted, go half again. (or another quarter or a third) Keep that up no matter what. When they scream and cry and bitch and become hateful, just calmly say “I love you and I love myself and the only way I can do that is to do this, and I’m very sorry it’s so uncomfortable.”

Eventually they will lose weight and become able to get their own food. At that point you stop bringing them any food at all, of any kind, ever. Either from the kitchen or from the outside. And let them know you will never go back to bringing them food again so they better keep their weight wherever it is that they can function, because they’re out of luck if they gain.

Don’t enable self-destruction, whether it’s food, alcohol, drugs or anything else. If people want to self-destruct, make them do it on their own, don’t let them drag you into it. Especially if their only weapon to force you is whining and complaining and becoming obnoxious. That takes effort and energy. They can’t keep it up forever.

(Depending on your situation and your relationship, you can help them cope with the loss of their food by keeping them engaged. Talk, play games, watch movies… do something loving for them like massage their feet or something to give them harmless physical pleasure and positive hormones. And if you find something they find particularly rewarding, you can use it to counter their negatives; if they act obnoxious or do obnoxious things because they’re not getting their food, withhold the things they like).

This isn’t about getting them thin, they will probably never be thin; those of us who are fat very rarely do that. It’s about helping them have a life. There’s a big gap between overeating and low-end obesity, and being super obese, disabled, and living for nothing but destroying yourself with food.

My guess is that in a few cases they will be inspired and they will work towards becoming truly healthy and “normal“ weight, whether with modern drugs or surgery or through grit and determination. But do not make that the goal or the expectation, you’ll just be frustrated. Just shoot for keeping them mobile and having them live some kind of a life. And shoot for taking care of yourself and not getting sucked into such unhealthy behavior.

Let’s see that reality show!

Sounds so easy, doesn’t?
I assure you they will find someone else to bring it.
They will pay a person to go get it.
Door dash. Grocery delivery will put it right in your hand.

I knew a guy who was alcoholic. He lived in a nursing home because he also had mobility issues. Who knew, but for a price liquor stores and grocery stores will deliver to nursing homes. He quit when he died.
He got caught a few times. But the staff changed so often he always went right back to it.

That sounds extreme, and could really screw them up metabolically, making it even harder to lose weight.

I don’t much believe in weight loss as a realistic goal for most people, but assuming I did, I’d probably start with a 10% reduction in calories not a 50% one.

Second, I presume the enablers respect the autonomy of the person they’re helping, and it’s tricky to honor autonomy when you’re effectively forcing someone on a diet. That said, nobody is obligated to wait on anyone hand and foot, either.

I just imagine the reality is a lot more complex than it’s being presented here, in the show or otherwise. The show is serving a specific narrative, and omitting anything that doesn’t serve that narrative, which is good storytelling but bad at capturing the whole picture. (I don’t watch the show, but that’s Reality TV 101.)

I worked as an administrator at a drug treatment clinic for four years. There very much are people who would do exaclty what you describe.

Enablers are enablers. I sometimes think it’s just as much a dysfunction as addiction is.

Pretty much word for word what I was going to post.

Kinda. It certainly can be a dysfunction of its own. But it can simply be an accommodating conflict-avoidant follower linked up to a demanding unyielding whiner. Yes, the bedridden monster can’t literally chase you around the room making threats. But like an abused SO/spouse, pretty soon they can come to believe that appeasing the demands is not merely the least-bad option open to them, but the only option. Humans in captivity have some odd and often counter-adaptive coping behaviors.


People do not get to be 600-900 lbs. on their own. The ones who would / could get that huge but don’t have a pliable enabler (and a source of money) will top out at 350 or 400 and then die or recover or just wallow at that weight still able to walk, sorta.

It’s the ones who have (or can get) what amounts to a coach / cheerleader, or at least an accomplice to fill and hold their plate for them who really set off on a voyage of gargantuan self-destruction.

It’s fine for the audience to hate on the enabler. But without that person there’d be no show. Expecting the enabler to stop feeding is like expecting a heel on wrestling to suddenly have a change of heart and become a face. Ain’t gonna happen. Not in their mental script.

I wish there were pat answers for complicated problems. My ex-wife was a hoarder and a drug addict. It’s not always easy to know the right thing to do.

On TV, this is the kind of thing that makes for a great montage as the hero pushes through a crippling addiction. In real life, this kind of treatment nearly inevitably leads to relapses and terrible long-term outcomes. A person in this kind of situation needs professional medical and - hugely importantly - mental health support.

Telling someone to “Just Say No” works about as well in real life as it did when Nancy Reagan promoted it.

I would think that after a day or two of this, the obese person is going to wise up to the situation and start asking for twice what they actually want.

So, 7,200 calories per day instead of 8,000?


This is the real issue. Not just the obese person, but everyone in their lives who has enabled the situation to continue.

I’m fat. I’ve developed pretty much all the comorbidities you can develop. And while I never overate to the extent you hear of the 600 pound people doing, food could be a pretty major compulsion. You don’t get to be even 100 pounds overweight, without having a really messed-up relationship with food.

Enablers are a particular type of person.
Addicts glom on to these people because of that.
All the non-enablers have gone away. They are not gonna do it. So addict tosses them. Or runs them off.
In comes willing enablers.
And the sick relationship starts.
Any body can be an enabler simply because they are pleasers and want to pacify.
Others have nefarious reasons. They want to control the addict.
Some men in relationships with obese woman want them fat.
Parent/child situations are terribly sad. Of course the parent wants their child happy. If buying them a bag of grease burgers does it they are happy to go get them.

Mental health care is desperately needed in these cases. I don’t think success could ever happen with out it. And that awful thing called tough love.

Yeah, I addressed that

“Tough love” isn’t likely to have much, if any, effect on someone with that kind of compulsion. Any more than lt has an effect on people with anorexia who starve themselves to death.

Yeah. There appears to be a relationship between calorie restriction and weight gain, so starting at 10% would hopefully mitigate the worst effects of this. You can still get sustained weight loss at 10% calorie reduction. Of course, only about 3% of dieters achieve long-term weight loss, and the rest probably end up fatter than when they started, but if someone is so fat that it affects their mobility, I can see the value in risking it.

However, I wouldn’t make a decision like this without the consent of the person in question.

I guess we disagree then. To me, 10% is a spit in the Pacific. The person we are talking about doesn’t have that kind of time, they need aggressive changes made to their eating habits.

My quick math tells me that our 800 pound friend, cutting 800 calories a day, could expect to lose about 1.6 pounds per week. (I know there are a million variables)


I share your astonishment at anyone reaching massive weights.
What gets me is that they pass through some many bad milestones (e.g. 300 / 400 / 500) on the way.
Although they are addicted, hopefully family or friends would have tried to help.

They don’t, though, they pass a single milestone - too heavy for a scale - and that’s it.

That’s probably a mixed bag. Numbers are good, if used wisely, but it can also exacerbate whatever underlying issues they are experiencing.

Better, yet, is to attack the problem before the person reaches the stage where he is bed ridden. This way, besides food limitation, you can also get them on a physical regimen that burns calories, raises metabolism, and tones the body. Also, attacking the problem early is an immense help.

You can’t tell me that parents don’t notice that their 11-year old is already 200 pounds and is heading in a very bad direction.