My 600-lb Life is a show that airs on TLC and documents the story of individuals who are desperately trying to regain control of their lives, their eating habits, and their bodies by going through weight loss surgery and losing the weight that has taken control over their lives.
The show stars Dr. Younan Nowzaradan, or who many call Dr. Now, a gastric bypass surgeon who does surgery on those other surgeons have labeled “untreatable” and follows them around for a year as they battle to lose weight.
Not everything is black-and-white though, and the show has worked hard at trying to hide some pretty dark secrets such as lawsuits and even a few patient secrets.
Here are 20 secrets execs wish they could keep hush-hush.
20 Dr. Now's First Patient Sadly Passed Away
Back in 2007, Renee Williams, an obese woman who weighed 841 pounds, contacted Dr. Now and pleaded for him to help her after so many others had turned her down.
According to screenrant.com, Dr. Now agreed to do the surgery, even though she was at such a high risk. Sadly, Renee passed away 12 days after her surgery from cardiac arrest.
19 Susan Farmer Ended Up Losing Feeling In Her Legs
Many know Susan Farmer’s story as being not only one of the most inspirational stories, but also one of the scariest.
According to screenrant.com, when Susan found Dr. Now, she weighed over 600 pounds and had limited mobility. Sadly, after the surgery, she ended up losing feeling in her legs.
She was determined though and ended up losing over 400 pounds and regained feeling back in her legs.
18 Many Of Those Who Appear On The Show End Up Divorced
When it comes to patients whose marriages ended after they lost the weight, the list is longer than most might think.
According to screenrant.com, Christina Phillips is the perfect example of this. Christina weighed over 500 pounds when she appeared on the show but ended up shedding 75% of her body weight afterward. Sadly, she believes her husband couldn’t handle her being so independent, and they ended up calling it quits.
17 Two Of Dr. Now's Patients Have Starred On Adult Websites
While some people find bigger people unattractive, there are some folks who are turned on by large bodies.
According to thelist.com, two patients from the show used to be involved in adult sites, Zsalynn Whitworth and Pauline Potter. In fact, Pauline Potter was known as Paulee Bombshell and Zsalynn posed in lingerie photos to raise money for her weight loss surgery and even met her now ex-husband on one of them.
16 Each Participant Must Film At Least One Shower Scene
Using the bathroom while over 500 pounds can be a struggle, which is why the show makes sure to film each participant bathing at least once to show the world how they live.
According to thelist.com, some patients struggle to not only walk to the bathroom but to squeeze into a shower. For example, Nicole Lewis had to be given sponge baths on the porch because she couldn’t fit in the shower.
15 One Woman's Story Inspired Dr. Now's Third Show
Dr. Now's third show was inspired by Mayra Rosales, a woman weighing over 1,000 pounds and facing a murder charge.
According to screenrant.com, Mayra had sat on her two-year-old nephew, crushing him. It was later discovered that the little boy had been beaten by his mother.
Once the trial was over, Dr. Now reached out to her and helped her lose over 800 pounds, documenting every step.
14 Penny Saeger Actually Never Lost Any Weight
When it comes to losing weight, one must have the “want” to lose it, otherwise, they won’t follow through with it.
According to intouchweekly.com, Penny Saeger is the perfect example of this. During her time on the show, Penny refused to follow any of Dr. Now’s rules and instructions. Once the show ended, her niece informed showrunners that she only lost 35 pounds.
13 Dr. Now Supposedly Left A Tube In A Patient
Back in 2012, Dr. Now was sued due to malpractice.
According to intouchweekly.com, he reportedly left a 6.69-inch piece of tubing inside a patient during a gastric sleeve operation and it punctured the patient’s colon. The patient later had to have part of her colon removed.
However, in 2013 the lawsuit was dismissed after Dr. Now proved he wasn’t the one who left the tube.
12 Cynthia Wells Claims The Show Offered Nothing But The Surgery For Her
After Cynthia Wells did her post-operation visit to a therapist, she refused to return after realizing the show had nothing to off her.
According to screenrant.com, Cynthia ended up leaving and doing things her own way and was able to lose 156 pounds in a year.
Penny Saeger was another who felt the show offered nothing, commenting on how the only time one see’s Dr. Now is during filming.
11 Food Addiction Is A Real Addiction
When it comes to food, many people feel that it doesn’t qualify as an addiction, they are wrong though.
According to screenrant.com, addictive behavior has been linked to different childhood traumas, abuse, and many other different causes. Some people give in and use food to help get over these causes. This type of behavior can be just as self-destructive as a chemical dependency.
10 Henry Foots Lost His Life A Year After Surgery
Being overweight takes a toll on a person’s body and sometimes patients can’t handle the stress of the surgery.
According to intouchweekly.com, two unfortunate people lost their lives after having the surgery, Henry Foots, who passed away a year after his season one episode, and Robert Buchel, who died of a heart attack before his season six episode even ended.
9 Dr. Now Has Been Sued For Wrongful Death
According to screenrant.com, back in 2004, Colleen Shepherd sued Dr. Now for the wrongful death of her daughter, whom she alleged, was not prepared enough and died from liver failure and blood poisoning a year after surgery.
Dr. Now fought back that he had no idea she had passed, and she had never shown up for appointments after surgery.
8 Gastric Bypass Surgery Has The Possibility Of Being Lethal
If it’s not obvious yet, gastric bypass can be a lethal alternative to those who are obese.
According to screenrant.com, short terms risks include lung and breathing problems, blood clots, excessive bleeding, and even death. For those that are morbidly obese, all those risks are increased greatly, but with heart problems and cardiac arrest added on.
7 One Patient Was Labeled The Heaviest Woman Alive
Back in 2011, Pauline Potter broke records and became labeled as the heaviest woman alive in the Guinness Book of World Records, weighing in at 643 pounds.
According to screenrant.com though, Dr. Now mentioned many times in the past that it's hard to tell if she really was the heaviest woman alive, seeing as many extremely obese people don’t know their exact weight.
6 Dominique Lanoise's Lost Her Life To Her Food Addiction
Dominique Lanoise had a food addiction that literally killed her.
According to screenrant.com, Dominque was 500 pounds when she had to be airlifted from Haiti to Florida after an earthquake destroyed her home. When TLC contacted her, she had soared to over 600 pounds, was bedridden, facing health risks and had a year life expectancy. In the end, she was unable to control her addiction and she skyrocketed to almost 700 pounds before passing away.
5 A Lot Of The Patients Live In Not So Clean Houses
It’s not a shocker to learn that some of the patients live in not-so-clean houses and apartments.
According to intouchweekly.com, one cameraman that filmed a family moving out of their apartment talked about how instead of cleaning up their dog’s poop, they just put stuff over it. To make things worse, when they went to go move the 80-year-old grandmother’s bed, hundreds of bugs came bolting out of it.
4 After Appearing On The Show, Most Patients Are Harassed By Outside Viewers
Being overweight is a struggle but filming one’s weight and struggles on national TV can be a bigger struggle.
According to intouchweekly.com, after the show, the participants suffer a lot of ridicule from the outside world. In fact, Justin McSwain commented: “I went from being no one, to being harassed all day on through social media, my business and phone calls. I wouldn’t do it again.”
3 A Lot Of Patients That Appear On The Show Are Unhealthier Than They Let Us Know
Being overweight comes with many different healthy issues such as: diabetes, cardiovascular problems, stroke, high blood pressure and much more come.
According to thelist.com, some of the patients that appear on the show are a lot worse than the show lets on. For example, Tracey Matthews, who appeared on the show in 2017, had the worst case of lymphedema and cellulitis in the show’s history.
She was required to lose 100 pounds before getting surgery.
2 Some Patients Can't Be Helped If They Really Don't Want It
Some people who appear on the show lack the willpower to better themselves.
According to thelist.com, for example, James King forced his daughter to quit school to take care of him and he also had to refinance the house just to pay for transportation to Dr. Now’s office. Thanks to his manipulation, he even gained 150 pounds while on the show.
He was later fired and never got the surgery.
1 All Patients To Appear On The Show Have Been Labeled "Untreatable" By Other Doctors
Many doctors who specialize in bariatric surgery have a maximum weight limit that a potential client must be under before they are considered.
According to thelist.com though, Dr. Now is a bit different and excepts patients who were turned down by other doctors. His specialty is in patients who are “super-morbidly obese,” with a BMI of 50 or more.
They are still required to lose a certain amount of weight though before surgery.
Sources: thelist.com, intouchweekly.com, screenrant.com