On tonight’s episode of “My 600-Lb. Life,” viewers had a chance to revisit the life of a beautiful woman. This series explored a year in the life of 600-Lb. individuals trying to regain control of their lives. Zsalynn is one of them. The series revisited with added inside information, tweets and bonus footage, not seen on the original presentation.
Zsalynn Whitworth, age 42 weighs 597 lbs. and lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and daughter. She is over four times the weight of an average woman. As the episode begins, she awakens in the morning while her husband is still asleep. As she takes a shower, it is evident that the massive amount of fat on her body makes it difficult to get into the shower. The camera catches her naked body as respectfully as possible. She relates how she hates living in her skin and hates being in her size. She has become practically immobile and watches television most of the day. For her to move around it is very painful. Pictures of her as a child show that she was chubby. When she looked through catalogs as a child to pick out clothes she liked, her mother told her that fat kids could wear those kinds of clothes, and her mother would not let her lick postage stamps or envelopes because she believed they contained calories; standard-size postage stamps contain six calories; large commemorative stamps contain fifteen calories.
Her sister Zane, related how her weight ballooned at a young age, and her mother told her if she did not lose ten pounds, she would not buy her new clothes. At 12, Zsalynn’s mother sent her to “fat camp,” where she went from 240 down to 170 pounds. In high school, she entered at 170 and graduated at 375. As the weight just piled on thereafter.
She is addicted to sugar; it is her crack cocaine and her everything. When she went to the supermarket, she was delighted by the candy, cake and sugary cereal aisle. Some studies have shown sugar to be more addictive than cocaine. On the way home, she stopped at the drive-through donut shop and got a box of treats that she ate on the way home. When she arrived home, she finished the dozen donuts.
She never had a confidence problem, and at nineteen discovered the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance and she accepted herself for the way she was and the meetings boosted her confidence. There she met her friend Bonnie, who to look at her now, and how she was back then, is an amazing difference. Bonnie admired this fat girl rock star whom Zsalynn was back then. She always had her hair and nails done and was gorgeous. Although Bonnie has lost her weight, they have remained good friends. Because of this association, Zsalynn met men from many countries who wanted to make her acquaintance. She stayed in five-star hotels, and these men paid her way. This is how she met her husband Gareth. He stated that she looked so big, and comfy and squishy, and she was the queen of the big women, and he fell in love. When Gareth first met her at the airport, he thought she would not fit in his sports car, but she did. At 29, she weighed 520 pounds, but her weight was starting to take a toll on her health. She went from a person with a great outlook on life to a reclusive person who did not like herself. She felt at night that if she did not wake up, it was alright. Her husband admitted that when he first met her, it was her size that attracted him to her. Now that she has gotten so big, it is impossible for them to do anything, and he admitted one must be careful what they wish for.
As she picked up her daughter Hannah at school, she had difficulty driving, because her girth shifted the car into gear. Due to increased passenger weight, cars are burning nearly a billion gallons of gas now more than they did in 1960. Fortunately, Bonnie plays with Hannah, but worries how Zsalynn’s weight affects her daughter. Gareth worries about Hannah if something happened to his wife. Because of her weight, she did not think she could conceive, and Hannah was a surprise.
Zsalynn made an appointment with the weight-loss surgeon, and Bonnie went with her. She has not been on a scale in a long time. At her first appointment, she weighed 597.7 lbs. and his bariatric scale weighs up to 1,000 pounds. She did not want to look. When she met with Dr. Nowzaradan, he asked her about her eating habits. She was under the impression that the surgery would take away her sugar craving. The doctor gave her the facts and told her that it was not a quick-fix. To prepare her for surgery, she had to lose from 20-30 pounds before he considered surgery. A nutritionist gave Zsalynn a detailed 1,200 calorie diet to follow so she could lose weight before the surgery.
When she came home, she has to make a new start. She could not even walk around the gate at Hannah’s favorite playground. Now Zsalynn sees how she is robbing her daughter of a normal childhood.
The return visit to the doctor gave her a loss of 28 lbs. The doctor was pleased and asked her if she had any difficulty. Now that he knows she can control her eating habits, he will schedule surgery. Two weeks later, she was going for surgery. Her husband said he married a happy fat woman, but had he known in ten years, she would be an unhappy fat woman; he may not have married her. Due to his lack of support, she nearly did not go through with the surgery.
She drove to the hospital with Bonnie and Hannah, while Gareth remained at home. She was very emotional during the surgical prep and cried until she went to surgery. The doctor explained to viewers how he performed the gastric bypass by dividing the upper part of the stomach into a pouch that his smaller than her stomach, allowing her to be fuller faster and not be as hungry. Gastric bypass surgeries typically last a couple of hours, but for a person her size, it can take up to twice as long.
When she came out of surgery, Hannah and Bonnie, who is Hannah’s godmother were there to see her. As she was very sleepy, they did not get to talk much, but knowing she was alright was a good feeling. Now she will be on a 1,200 calorie liquid diet for at least a week. She is surprised that the food cravings did not go away. After three days, she was discharged from the hospital, and Gareth insisted on picking her up. When he saw her for the first time, he was surprised that she had not lost a lot of weight. He warned her that he does not plan on dieting, but will be considerate around her. She knows he has no plans of being helpful. Gareth actually told the producers that he sees himself as witty, sharp and a borderline comedian but others see him as a straight-up a**-h***. On the way home, he stopped at the fast-food drive-through and ordered a 952 calorie meal; she was not discouraged at his action, and the smell was nauseating to her.
After four months, she lost 104 pounds, but was having difficulty with her new diet. If she eats something bad, her stomach hurts, but eating three times a day is difficult. Her whole relationship with food has been turned upside down. As she sat in front of a small bowl of scrambled eggs, she admitted that growing up on a ranch, she was grossed out by eggs because her cats used to eat them raw and had a difficult time eating them.
After five months, she admitted that she had a breakdown about once a week. Now at 443 pounds, she is feeling better on a return doctor visit. The doctor feels that she should be losing more weight for her size. He wants her to have more activity. She went to a personal trainer who stated that she was the biggest person she had every worked with, but her confidence was boosted. When she told Gareth, he told her to do chores around the house instead and save the $50. Take the vacuum cleaner and break a sweat. Their relationship has become unhealthy for her and her daughter. Nearly every tweet that was posted lauded Zsalynn for her courage, but nobody had a good word for Gareth; his lack of support seemed to their biggest bone of contention.
At six months, her weight was down 198 lbs. She currently weighs 399, breaking the 400 mark. Still meeting with the trainer, she is now walking with the trainer and stops and does exercises with her. She did indulge in carbonated beverages once in a while. As she stopped for a Diet Dr. Pepper, she knew that the bubbles would hurt and the doctor would disapprove. In a bonus scene, Zsalynn, Bonnie and Hannah went to a Mexican restaurant. She and Bonnie split a meal, but Bonnie believes that Zsalynn still does not make the best choices. While eating tuna with avocado, Gareth made a comment that it was crap she was eating.
At eight months, Hannah came back with her to the doctor. He was not pleased that she had lost no weight in two months. When she confessed that she drank diet soda, he explained that the carbonation would expand her stomach, undoing what was done. At Halloween, she went with Hannah and for the first time in years, she had a costume on. Gareth said he could go as a depressed husband, and he would not have to change. Eh! Bonnie thought that Halloween candy would sabotage her, but it did not and she was very proud of her friend.
After one year, she could go to the playground with Hannah and sit on the swings alongside her daughter. When she visited the doctor, she had lost another 50 lbs. Now at 349, she is feeling much better. The doctor is confident that she will be in the 200s soon. When she tried on a pair of jeans that fit, she was ecstatic that after seven years, she finally could wear jeans. She took Hanna horseback riding at her family’s ranch, and looks forward to riding with her in the future. Good luck, Zsalynn, as your journey continues, you have so many people who are rooting for your success.
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