Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Watching TV last night ...

Last night I wasn't tired at all when I went to bed, so I decided to watch some television. Being New Year's Day, The Learning Channel seemed to be having a Super-Morbid Obesity Marathon.

This is what I watched:

627 Lb. Woman: Jackie's Story
A woman undergoes gastric-bypass surgery and has a massive hernia repaired.

That one line description really is misleading. There was a lot more to it than just that. Saying I "enjoyed" watching this just doesn't seem right. It was kind of like the same reaction I had to watching Schindler's List. I found watching it painful, but I'm glad I saw it. This poor woman had reached the point where she was completely miserable and had no life. Getting the surgery was really her only option, and yet because of her weight, most of the doctors were unwilling to do it. (And after seeing all of the complications this poor woman endured, I can understand why.) But she seems like a very sweet lady, and I genuinely hope she's doing okay. There's a website about this show here.

I Eat 33,000 Calories a Day
Four morbidly obese people struggle with their weight, their addiction to food and rapidly deteriorating health. Two men are bed ridden and require constant care. Two women are dangerously close to becoming housebound.

(You can see an excerpt of this show here. Warning: Not for the faint of heart.)

This show made me mad -- and more than a little ill.

First of all, this show didn't seem to be trying to help these people. I am sure that the filmmakers were trying to provide a glimpse into the lives of some people severely-addicted to food. But it came across like a freak show. The close-ups of the largest fellow stuffing various fried things into his mouth, the shot of one woman trying to ignore the heaping plate of cookies on a nearby table, another woman grabbing the fat hanging off her stomach and bouncing it up and down ... What purpose did all this serve?

And another question: If some these people are bed-ridden, relying on other people to feed them, why the heck are their "caregivers" providing them with literally enough food to feed a family of five and calling it "one meal"? I don't buy the argument that one guy would just call delivery. Where does he get the money? And can't you just take away the phone?

I know I'm coming across as completely unsympathetic, but it takes a long time and hard work to get that big. I'm a binge-eater, too, and it's expensive, time-consuming, and you can only eat so much at a time. I'm not saying my food addiction is anywhere near as severe as these people, but I would like to think that if I'd reached the point that they have, that someone who cared about me would intervene -- especially if I were entirely dependent on that person.

Out of the four people featured, the one I had the most respect for was the man in Britain who had typed out a letter that was placed in his kitchen. It was a full page and boiled down to "No matter what I say, no matter how I word it, no matter how I plead -- DO NOT GIVE IN TO MY FOOD ADDICTION AND GIVE ME WHAT I ASK FOR".

33,000 calories a day. I had 2063 yesterday, and I feel I indulged.


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