Last night's premiere episode of “My 600-Lb. Life” gave viewers a glimpse into the life of a beautiful woman. This series explores a year in the life of 600 pound individuals trying to regain control of their lives. Zsalynn is one of them.
Zsalynn Whitworth, age 42 weighs 597 lbs. and lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and daughter. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. Fortunately, Bonnie plays with Hannah, but worries how Zsalynn’s weight affects her daughter. Gareth worries about Hannah if something happened to his wife.
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. 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.
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. She drove to the hospital with Bonnie and Hannah. 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.
When she came out of surgery, Hannah and Bonnie 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 diet. 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. On the way home, he stopped at the fast-food drive-through and ordered food; 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 wore jeans. She took Hanna horseback riding, and looks forward to riding with her in the future. Good luck, Zsalynn, as your journey continues.
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