obese woman eating

Why doesn’t the show, “My 600 Pound Life,” corner the enabling spouses and require them to explain their actions?

The enabling spouses on “My 600 Pound Life” need to explain why they continue bringing huge quantities of junk food to their bedridden, super morbidly obese partners.

One episode of “My 600 Pound Life” focused on Penny Saeger. She was bound to her bed, and her husband, Edgar, was shown bringing her tray-fuls of rich, high calorie foods.

At one point, Penny Saeger’s sister spoke about this — and quite briefly.

Penny’s sister commented to the effect that Edgar brings his wife what she wants — or there will be “trouble” otherwise. Then the brief segment ended.


Penny (above image) underwent the surgery and was not losing weight despite being in the hospital.

The surgeon, Dr. Younan Nowzaradan, believed someone was sneaking her food, though this was not confirmed.

She was sent home, which was actually an apartment that Edgar had found nearby the hospital.

From the apartment, Penny was expected to stick to a low calorie diet and attend doctor appointments.

Instead, the cameras followed Edgar preparing huge amounts of junk food and bringing them to Penny, who was as bedbound as ever.

The cameras did not show Penny demanding Edgar bring her the food. The show simply followed him serving her, and her gorging.

The question all viewers have of “My 600 Pound Life” is what is going ON with Edgar and all the other enabling spouses?

They do not care about one more box of donuts being handed to the bed- or chair-bound 600+ pound family member.

In nearly every episode of “My 600 Pound Life,” the subject lives with at least one enabler.

They never live alone — except maybe for one or two over the many seasons of the show.

That’s because if they did, there’d be no enabler to help them become bed- or chair-bound.

  • Viewers would like to know what the enablers are afraid of.
  • Viewers wonder if there’s more to the dynamic than, “I bring her food because it makes her happy.”

How much power can a bedridden person have?

A bedridden person can wield a LOT of power to the enabler who has severe psychological issues.

Childhood Roots

Anyone who saw Penny on “My 600 Pound Life” can easily figure out why she was so afraid to commit to lifestyle changes to lose weight.

The tragedy is rooted in Penny’s childhood. Briefly touched upon was abuse at the hands of her father.

Penny’s parents were not mentioned in the present. We can easily imagine that her father made her believe she’d fail at anything she’d try.

So maybe the idea of trying to walk with the help of a physical therapist, post-surgery, was too frightening, which is why after four months, she couldn’t even take a few steps.

And the idea of sticking to a diet so that she could live long enough to see her son enter middle school was just too daunting.

Why Won’t TLC Explore the Enabling Dynamic?

Sometimes the enabler is asked point-blank by Dr. Now why they bring so much food to the sufferer.

There are three basic responses:

  • I hate to see her hungry.
  • It makes him happy.
  • There’ll be hell to pay if I don’t.

And then the probing stops there. Viewers are left thinking, “WHAT…?!

Perhaps the probing indeed gets carried out, but the footage gets cut — but if that’s the case…then why has it been getting cut for all but a few episodes?

Much episode footage involves moving preparations to Houston, surgical prep and the actual surgery.

Thus, there is plenty of air time to explore the enabler dynamic. Certainly, viewers would rather see this investigated than watch people packing boxes for the move or endoscopic images of someone’s gut.

This is one reality TV show that can’t be faked, save for perhaps what seem to be some pre-orchestrated argument scenes among family members and the overly scripted “I’m afraid the doctor will turn me away.”

Each episode of “My 600 Pound Life” is now two hours. For sure, there is plenty of time to delve into the mysteries of what makes the enabler’s mind tick.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.