The latest episode of TLC’s My 600-lb Life tells the story of Dolly from Fort Worth, TX. Standing at 5-feet-2-inches, she weighed in at 593 pounds, which put a lot of strain on her body. Dolly carries most of her weight in her abdomen area, which has stretched over the years causing a low hanging stomach, also known as an apron.
Dolly admits that her weight makes it hard for her to walk or stand for long periods of time. This also makes completing daily tasks like showering, cooking or working difficult for her to complete, and she relies on her family and friends for help.
During the episode, viewers witness Dolly struggling to make healthy decisions regarding her weight, her mental wellness, and her personal relationships. A visit with bariatric specialist Dr. Nowzaradan revealed Dolly was making impulsive decisions in her life and focusing more on romantic relationships than her health. He immediately scheduled a therapy session for her, hoping to get her back on track.
Dolly reflects on her childhood trauma
Early into the episode, Dolly confesses that her food addiction began at a very early age after her parents decided to get divorced. At that time, her father was addicted to drugs, and her mother came out as a lesbian. Dolly says because of that, she was bullied at school.
Dolly states that when she was in kindergarten, she was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and placed in Special Education classes at school. Soon after, she was diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder and bipolar disorder.
She shares that, as a child, she spent a lot of time alone while her mom worked. This left her time to snack on unhealthy foods, overeat, and even hide foods in her room. At the same time, she felt she was being treated unfairly by teachers because of her diagnosis. So, she would turn to food for comfort, despite knowing it was killing her.
Therapy reveals the truth about Dolly
Attending therapy sessions is typically required for patients. This season, Dr. Paradise is the licensed psychotherapist working with the show.
After meeting with Dolly and her mother, he uncovers the unhealthy dynamic between them, her codependency issues, and the lack of self-worth Dolly has. These things became distractors and reasons why she was unable to prioritize her weight loss.
By the final appointment of the episode, Dolly weighed in at 552-lbs. In total, she lost roughly 40 of the 120 pounds expected of her over the course of a year.
According to Dr. Nowzaradan, she was attempting to create a support system with people she did not know, and reject the help she needed from those who actually cared about her. Throughout the episode, viewers saw this come to life as she bounced from various hotels and continued pursuing romantic relationships.
One thing that became clear is that Dolly was not ready for weight loss surgery, and needed to understand what it meant to take responsibility for her actions. Dr. Nowzaradan encouraged her to understand that support does not mean enabling, and it’s not healthy to be around people who won’t support a healthy lifestyle.
Surgery is off the table as Dolly proves she is not ready
In the end, Dolly was not approved for weight loss surgery. Instead, Dr. Nowzaradan scheduled her for ongoing therapy sessions so she can continue to work on her issues and focus on healthy habits in both her diet as well as her personal life.
He requested that she does this for one year, and after that time if she made progress, he will revisit the option for surgery. Dolly agreed to these terms and stated she will do whatever it takes.
This is not something fans of the show have seen very often. In past episodes, a patient who was not approved for surgery would often give up completely on their journey.
Focusing on mental health and helping a patient understand how that can impact their weight loss is refreshing to see. And while the episode was a lot to take in, fans seem to be rooting for Dolly and are truly invested in her progress and hoping for a positive update.
My 600-lb Life airs Wednesday nights at 8/7c on TLC.