The Dr. Oz Show
Airdate: February 7, 2012
Dr. Oz: The Fattest Women in America Face-Off!
- Some of the fattest women in the country go head-to-head
- Can women be healthy and happy while morbidly obese?
- The fattest woman in the world weighs in on the debate
Dr. Oz stages his biggest intervention yet. Four women weighing in at 300 – 700 pounds talk about their health, their happiness, and how they make money from eating and being over weight. Four other women who are also morbidly obese joined the panel to share their stories of wanting to lose weight so that they can be healthy, happy, and more productive in their own lives.
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Dr. Oz: The Fattest Women in America Face-Off!
On the 9/22/11 episode, Dr. Oz shared the story of Suzanne who wants to gain weight with the goal of becoming the fattest women in the country. At 700 pounds, she's on her way to weighing over 1,600 pounds. Dr. Oz wanted to know about her life and why she is driven to gain weight and put her life at risk.
This episode created a huge backlash. The Dr. Oz Show received strong comments from both sides of of the obese community. Dr. Oz said he wondered if he should have made that episode. One camp felt the episode fed the stigma against fat women. Another camp thought it was wonderful to see big women.
Dr. Oz: The Women Who Don't Want to Lose Weight
The four women who say they love being big range in weight from 300 pounds to 700 pounds and in age from late 20's to late 40's. Mimi, Reenaye, Cheryl, and Susanne all say they love their big bodies. They love the sway of the fat when they walk. They love looking at themselves and love touching their soft skin.
These four women also participate in a sub-culture called feederism. Feederism is a type of fetish where a viewer, typically male, becomes aroused when they see another person, typically a woman, eat and eat in large quantities. The women say they feel in control being a part of this community. They feel they have control over the people who watch them and they enjoy the money the make doing it.
No one applauded when the four women entered the studio. [Was that planned?] These four women were seated on the right side of the screen.
The obese community told Dr. Oz they were unhappy that he shared Susanne's story. Has she changed her eating habits since her last appearance on The Dr. Oz Show?
Susanne says she is still gaining weight and on this trip she used two seat belt extenders on the flight to New York where last time she only needed one extender.
It's expensive to eat that much food, how do you pay for it?
Their websites are lucrative and pay the bills. Reenaye says she can eat anything she wants without worrying about the cost.
Cheryl says she turned show off when she saw Susanne's episode. She says that Dr. Oz is a fat-basher. He encourages women to lose weight, and that's great if they want to lose weight but, Cheryl says, Dr. Oz should also be encouraging women to be happy with where they are.
Both Cheryl and Reenaye say that they are healthy without any issues however Cheryl shared that she was taking one blood pressure medication. [Click here to see Susanne's truth-tube health numbers from her September, 2011 appearance on The Dr. Oz Show.]
Dr. Oz says he performs open heart surgery to fix the problems that fat causes and can't pretend that these women do not have a problem.
Dr. Keith Ablow, MD, psychiatrist [and author], talked to each of the four women to gain insight. He says the best way to understand their situation is to understand when people are on the run from internal pain, things from childhood that caused pain, you will find something to bury that pain be a drug, hoarding behavior, or eating to distract from the pain. Without that suit of armor, the fat and the eating, the pain will surface and will need to be dealt with.
Dr. Oz asked how does Dr. Ablow explain the happiness these women say the feel?
Dr. Ablow says, to him, they don't look happy. Happiness comes from the inside, Dr. Ablow explained, and you can't be on a drug and be happy. Underneath there's a problem.
Dr. Oz: The Women Who Want to Lose Weight
On the left side of the screen, four women, who are also morbidly obese, share their stories and their desire to lose the weight. Star, Celisa, Rhea, and An Sean are all morbidly obese but, these women believe they are unhealthy, recognize they are unhappy, and want help to lose the weight.
Star weighs over 400 pounds and has struggled with weight her entire life. Star says it's unfair, it's irritating to watch these women who don't want to lose weight. She says it's not OK to be that big and that these women can't possibly be comfortable. She isn't comfortable at her current, she doesn't want to die. Star wants help to lose weight.
The feederism community isn't the only sub-culture looking at these women, for a price. Star was also a part of the adult industry. Men paid to smell her. They asked her not to shower so they could see her sweat and smell her.
Celisa, 394 pounds, was in the feeder community and got to the point of being immobile. She was in a bad relationship with a man who was a closet feeder.
Dr. Oz asked, who are these men who watch women eat and want to smell them?
Dr. Ablow explained that men are being stimulated by women out of control. The men are asking the women to make themselves sick and the men find it arousing.
The women on left believe the women on the right lying saying that they are also obese and know it's not possible to be happy or healthy at these extreme weights.
Dr. Ablow explained that women on the right are not lying. They believe what they are saying.
Celisa caused an uproar by saying the women on the other side of the debate are playing into the stereotype calling them lazy saying she saw them walk into the studio and they can barely move. An Sean said our bodies framework is not made to carry that much weight and there are real health risks.
Dr. Oz asked Dr. Ablow to explain how these women struggling to lose is not much different then the women wanting to gain weight.
Dr. Ablow explained that the trauma that they are covering is too great and the food becomes a drug. One group, the women on the left, have recognized that they are better than the addiction and have come to understand that their over eating was a problem.
Pauline Potter, age 48, is the 2012 Guinness World Record holder for being the heaviest living person. Ms. Potter says that she has always been heavy. In the 7th grade she weighed 220 pounds. When she got married she weighed close to 600 pounds. Her husband encouraged her eating and it got out of control.
Talking to Dr. Oz via video, as she can't leave her home, Ms. Potter says there is not one positive thing being over weight. Her 17-year-old son helps her to get dressed, get off the couch, to do everything. Days are spent in bed hearing life go on around her. She can't go check the mail. Her knees hurt everyday. Everything is hard, why would some body choose this? She asks?
Ms. Potter says she her title is not a positive but she is using it to her advantage to get help. She says she doesn't want to do this anymore and doesn't know how long she will live. Her tomorrows are not a promise. She says she could drop dead at any moment and her biggest fear that she may not wake up in the morning.
Dr. Oz says he doesn't want to allow any of the eight women on the stage to become Ms. Potter. Shifting the discussion to understand how he, as a physician, believes this is bad for their health.
All eight women were asked to put on the purple gloves and touch a human heart, if they were willing. Dr. Oz explained that the heart is remarkably powerful. Normally the heart is as big as your fist but when the body is over weight, morbidly obese, the heart can swell to an abnormal size in an attempt to keep blood moving throughout the body.
Reenaye was not willing to pick up the heart. She said she didn't need to hold it, she had on a new dress. What's the difference, she asked, between her holding the heart and watching the other women hold the hearts?
Being over morbidly obese puts the body at a six times greater risk for stroke and 22 times greater risk for diabetes. When the body can no longer move, infections will set in, the person can no longer take part in any personal care. Their lives are isolated, they become a vegetable.
Dr. Oz and Dr. Ablow pledged their medical and psychiatric support to any of the women willing to take on the challenge of losing the weight. If you're not ready or not willing, he said, then please leave the studio. Susanne and Reenaye left the studio.
Dr. Oz: The Question to Ask to Begin Losing Weight
Be it 30 pounds or 300 pounds, people have to face the psychological issue of why they are eating. Dr. Oz says he can help with the weight loss aspect but they have to face the emotional aspect. Being on the stage is a big deal, says Dr. Oz and a great step in the right direction.
Dr. Ablow asked the women to close their eyes and think, to your self, who in your life told you that you're worthless?
It's a tough question, an unhappy question to ponder. That's where the process begins. Someone told these women that they can't do anything.
Mimi jumped in defiantly, I didn't have anyone tell me that I'm worthless. It's offensive to me, she said, because of the support system that I have in my life. Mimi had told Dr. Ablow that her father left the picture when she was one but her step-father was great and filled in.
An Sean refuted Mimi, sharing that a step-father is a substitute for an absentee father and kids want the real thing. An Sean used food to fill in that part of her that felt neglected.
Dr. Ablow asked An Sean what she would say to biological, what did his leaving mean?
Her father had another family and chose to live with that other family leaving her, her sister, and her mother behind. An Sean wants to know why did he chose them and not her family. As an adult you can see that he is a flawed person but as a child, you feel unloved.
ablow if you could talk to your biological dad and what his leaving ment
Celisa's father left when she was young. His side of family favored her sister, who blond and thin, treating her differently. To this day, Celisa feels the pain.
Dr. Ablow explained that these women are still feeling the pains of their emotional issues even with the distraction of food. They have to be willing to let go of the buffer of grapple with the pain so they can overcome it.
Star shared that she raised herself. Her father was never around and her mother wasn't kind.
Cheryl said that she stayed to see what Drs. Oz and Ablow had to say but that it doesn't apply to her. Dr. Ablow shared that Cheryl was molested as a child. Her mother knew but didn't protect her. Cheryl believes the molestation doesn't have anything to do with food.
Dr. Ablow said that as a child, Cheryl must have been wondering why her mother didn't help her and why did other family members have to raise her. He says it sent the message that she was worthless. Those men who are paying her, says Dr. Ablow, are taking advantage. He said she is worthwhile now just as she was worthwhile as a little girl.
Mimi said that after seeing Ms. Potter struggle to get off the couch, she realized she didn't want to be like that.
Dr. Oz explained that these women were told they were worthless by person or circumstance and with abuse, people blame themselves. He says he better understands the connection between sex and food and how they marry. Sex is about power and people express that power through weird ways, food is one of them. [As discussed on the 9/22/11 episode,] the feederism scene online is second only to pornography.
Dr. Oz: Three Steps to Begin Losing Weight
Right now, Dr. Ablow, wants viewers to immediately take one step towards weight loss by getting support. Order a book on weight loss, join a weight loss group, join a gym. Don't put it off, do it today. Then tell three people that you trust and respect that you want to lose weight and want their support.
Step #1: Ask yourself, who is the first person to tell you you're worthless?
Internalizing the pain doesn't work. Sometimes we process these emotions the wrong way. Begin to recognize it and begin to make changes.
Step #2: Ask, what fears are holding you back?
It's not just about putting the food down, it's thinking about what could happen if the fear was gone.
Step #3: Seeking support
How do you chose a program and pick what's best for you? Dr. Ablow explained that everyone knows of some program that focuses on diet and exercise but you also need someone to help unearth your emotional issues and deal with them.
Each of the women who stayed on will be getting one-on-one sessions with Dr. Ablow's life coaches to help them sort through their emotional issues.
Dr. Oz's Bottom Line
Dr. Oz says he was stuck by the close connection between sexuality and food. He says it's important to understand why you over eat. Understand who told you you're worthless. Realize how beautiful you are and that you deserve respect and love. Look in the mirror, the first step is to love and accept yourself.
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