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Alright.
So from our 600lb.
life TLC, we have Ms. Melissa Morris.
And then trailing right behind her, also from TLC my 600lb.
Life, we have Amber Rachdi.
Amber, come on up!
Ms. Melissa have a seat.
You can move that fabulous book, which we're gonna raffle.
Yes.
I have it.
I have the book.
Really?
You have the book?
I was one of the first people he autographed the book for.
Aww, but I hear you have a special connection, so you know.
Ok, so let's start.
Melissa, let's start with you.
You started out your heaviest was...? 673.
Six-seventy-three.
And you lost how much?
487 pounds.
487 pounds.
And tell everybody, aside from being healthy, which is a lot of our reasons for wanting
to lose weight, what was another big reason you wanted to lose weight?
Well the first thing I said to him when I rolled into his office, on my building scooter was,
'I want to have kids."
So, he said, 'We can do that."
I said, "Not me and you, me and him."
And so now I'm a mom of three.
Three kids.
And how old is the oldest?
Um, 6, is Elana, that most of you seen me have on the show is Elana.
And then in between shows, I had Elijah who's 3.
And now I have brand new baby 8 month old, Austin.
Wow.
And that's a tough age you got: the toddler stage, and then you have the six-year-old stage.
I have the diva stage, who thinks shes 25, and then I have the 3 year old that - whose
a boy - nobody said, nobody tells you that boys are different than girls, and you have to say things to
boys that you've never said to girls: 'Don't eat your boogers.'
'Please get off the ceiling fan.' No we can't-
'Put your underwear on.'
I never had a problem with her wanting to pee on anything.
Shes like, 'where's the potty?'
Him, I'm like 'Oh my god, I'm so sorry, he just pee'd on your tire.'
He keeps me active and young.
So with the kids, how is it cooking, eating, and food prepping?
Um, what is that mean?
Right?
It's a struggle, I mean, who's not a mom?
My children are very active and I'm active in my school, and I'm an active person because
I can be.
Because at this point I can move and I can breathe and I slept a really long time when
I was 600 lbs.
You slept your life away, you feel like?
I did.
So, I hate to sleep now.
I sleep terrible, and I hate it.
I'm like...I'm wasting time.
I'm wasting time that I just got back.
So did you think your life would be anything like this?
How many years ago was it?
It's been...in January it will be 11 years.
And no, I had no clue.
I was ready to die.
When I went in to see him, I knew I was either gonna have the surgery and live, or have this
surgery and die.
Either one that would happen, I didn't care at that point.
I was done.
Either way, live or die, I was doing it.
And the thing about him saying about his colleagues, I have to tell you all, I went to 15 doctors
in Houston.
15.
And some of them are big name doctors that's had their own TV shows, and they told me,
Go home.
Lose 200 lbs., and then come back to see us.
And I was like, If I could do that, why do I need you?
So then you walked into his office...
No, I didn't walk anywhere.
I couldn't walk 3 feet.
I rolled into his office and he said, come on in, this is your new home.
Well when I called him to make the appointment, a lot of times that's how I got turned down immediately.
They ask you how much do you weigh?
And then you say, well I don't know, but the last time I weighed myself four years ago 500. They're like oh no, no thank you.
But when I called him, they were like, 'Sure, yeah, come on in!'
And then, when I went in to see him, he's like, 'We can take 75% of your excess fat.'
And I said no, we're gonna take off 100%.
So that brings me to this point, Dr. Now, how was she as patient?
Was she difficult?
Was she compliant?
Come on, give us the details.
No, she was fine.
I was the person - I never eat.
He's telling the story, I was like I never eat.
Hes like *laugh* Shes the one who got to 600 lbs. on eating salads?
Yeah, shes one of those people?
I never ate.
I don't eat that much, and my husband's like, 'She doesn't eat that much.'
No one knows he was the one bring me Big Macs and the Twinkies.
I heard she was pretty bossy, I heard she told you that when she rolled into your office,
and was going through the process that you were going to hire in 2 years, sort of whether
you liked it or not.
Well it was 6 months when I was out, I told him, he was going hire me, it took him 2 years
to hire me.
True story?
Yeah.
And you kept her around.
And then she got pregnant and...and then there's that maternity leave, darn thing.
Stay home mom.
Stay home mom, now.
Melissa has done great.
She was really sort of in a scooter.
She was immobile.
She was immobile and she needed help, and she did very well, and she lost her weight,
and then she got pregnant, and gained some.
Then she lost, then she got pregnant and gained some.
You're serious about those kids.
Then she got pregnant a third time and now she's losing her third pregnancy's weight.
Can you share your clothes?
Cause I know you brought us some clothes.
So she's going to share her before clothes.
I have to stand up because I can't do it..let's do it.
This is my 'going out' skirt, because you know we have like..when you go in public skirt.
Wow.
OK let me hold this side.
You have to go this way, this is the way you have to it, like it was stretched to the max.
Let's do it the long way.
Can you guys see this?
Let's show them over here.
Stand up here Melissa.
Wow.
And then this.
Right?
OK what else did you bring us?
My 7-X shirt and if you big girls, you know where I ordered this from, right?
Because there only some places that...Not Lane Bryant?
It's not Lane Bryant.
Nope, Romans.
Yeah, they don't go to 7-X.
And it doesn't even look like a woman's shirt, it looks like a man's shirt.
It does, and the sides are ripped where it was starting to bust.
So let's hold it up again.
Look at this.
Can you believe this?
Let's show these people over here, and over here.
Amazing.
Did you guys all keep your clothes?
Before clothes?
Right?
As a memento?
You got rid of those suckers because they I'm never getting in them again.
You're like, hell no.
OK.
Thank you for bringing those.
Alright.
OK.
Tell us your highest weight.
My highest weight was 668 lbs.
Wow.
And how much of that did you lose?
Um, as of last week, I was 247 lbs. on my gym scale.
Wow, amazing.
But even she said, on her gym scale because it can goes up to that weight.
Like a lot of scales don't pass 300.
Right?
About 300.
Oh, I don't have a home scale.
I keep myself accountable to the gym by making that the only place I weigh on the regular.
Fantastic.
So, yeah, I love my gym, by the way, it's fantastic.
So how often do you get to gym?
I get to the gym at least 4 days a week, sometimes 5.
We typically take Sundays off, but we're there a lot.
Especially lately.
And do you have people that know you there?
Do you feel comfortable at your gym?
Actually, this is going to sound really funny, but the dude bros - the beef castles, the
meat heads - they've started to recognize me and my fiance by name.
The ones that - 'I lift things up and put things down.'
Yeah, those guys?
They recognize us and they make spaces for us on the machines now.
And it's like we've been accepted, which is really sweet.
That's awesome because you a lot of the regular, traditional gyms they don't.
They look like fashion models in there, and the fact that you kept going enough to say,
'I'm here to stay," and then they welcomed you in like that, that's pretty awesome.
I feel like an outsider like an inner lobe, like I'm intruding on some secret world of
male fitness every time I'm there.
Because they're like lifting, and they've got biceps forever.
Do they have stretchy pants?
Do they have stretchy pants?
They usually do stretchy pants to like...No stretchy pants.
They're special.
OK, so you mentioned your fiance.
Yeah.
Who is not the guy you were on the show with.
Correct.
Oooh.
So if you guys saw her show, they showed a lot about her relationship on the show.
You're no longer with him.
Yeah, me and Rowdy split up a little over a year ago.
OK.
And Rowdy is a great person, I will not entertain any other opinions of that, cause he is a
wonderful guy, great friend.
Sometimes they make better friends than they do partners.
Absolutely.
Our relationship was drifting.
We were feeling distant, we weren't great as lovers, but as a friend, I feel like I've
gained something so much valuable from that.
And his new partner and my fiance, all four of us, together, we double-date all the time.
Isn't that awesome?
Yeah.
He's really happy, too.
So tell us about your fiance.
Does he have weight issues?
Ooh, yes, actually.
My partner, Steven, he's always been a bigger kid.
Couple years back, he hit pretty close to 300 lbs., and he decided he was done with that.
And so, he decided the only things he was gonna eat were rice, chicken, and broccoli,
and he did that for about 6 months.
Got down to 200 lbs.
Wow.
By himself, just doing the bachelor 'I don't know what I'm doing' diet.
And then, he put on a little weight after his last break-up.
He got up to about 230, and then I met him.
And I was just in the thick of learning how to cook.
Oh.
And I accidentally became 'the enabler' in my relationship.
Ooh, interesting, and how did you recognize that you were the enabler?
When he couldn't zip up his jeans.
Ooh, it wasn't just that I'm in a honeymoon stage, let's just eat together.
You know that 10-15 you put on when you first start dating someone? Oh, at first that's what
I thought it was, but his sweet Mema, presented me with a copy of the cookbook she cooked
out for his childhood.
Which was a big mistake.
I have made more pots of chicken and dumplings for him recently than I care to admit in public.
But you just admitted it in public.
More, than I care to admit.
So, are you enabling him still?
No.
No.
We decided once those jeans wouldn't zip, we're like, 'We got to fix this.
This dynamic isn't going to be healthy, it's not going to be good.
You've lived the obese life, I've lived the obese life.
Let's do something.'
So we decided we would become accountable to every calorie, we are going to use a calorie
tracking app, we're going to watch our macro-nutrient densities, and we were going to hit the gym
really hard, and make fitness a big part of our relationship.
So what made you want to go on the show?
Oh, clap for that, it's a big deal.
What made you want to go on the show?
Because like when I'm thinking, oh let me go on a show to show my gut, mmm, not really,
uh no.
I don't know how many of you have seen the entire first season of 'My 600lb.
Life,' Melissa's season.
It's beautiful.
It's art.
Like, there was something so humanizing and touching and relate-able about the experiences
of the 4 people who were filmed for that big span of time.
In fact, seeing her episode was the first time in my life that I had seen someone that
big, and I was, at that moment, my heaviest.
And seeing her on the show, showed me both that I wasn't alone, there were other big
people like me, and that the condition could be changed.
I call it that impetus for a change.
I had that click moment, that Ah-Ha, where I realize not only that I'm not isolated,
there are others like me, and they can get away from it, and so can I.
And it's because of her.
So it's because of Melissa.
So you were inspiring people through Dr. Now's work.
When Dr. Nowzaradan asked me he said, 'You know, there's a show, would you like to be
on it?'
And I said, 'Well, will it help me get my surgery faster?'
Everyone wants to know how they can get that darn surgery faster.
And then I said, 'Absolutely, if I can change one person's life.
And just yesterday, I was balling like a baby.
I was like, I can't wear makeup because there are several people in this room, in this building,
that has said, 'I had my surgery because of you.'
And I'm like, 'That's my 1, plus like 300 more.'
Absolutely.
And then all the ones that you have never met.
Yeah, and it's amazing, because I'm just a person.
Like, I'm a mom.
I wear yoga pants, I don't take showers everyday, I put on my bra this morning, I was like 'What
is that?
Oh, it's baby spit up.
It's just my bra.
But you know, I wanted to help 1 person because I knew that my struggle was real.
Like I...I didn't have the Ah-Ha moment that somebody I seen somebody my size.
My moment was, my mom was diagnosed with cancer.
They went in, well she had a tumor thyroid, so they went in to remove the tumor from her
thyroid, and the doctor came in and he said, 'You know, it's cancer, and it has spread.'
We couldn't get it all.
So I went to my mom's bedside, and I couldn't get to her bedside in the hospital room on
my scooter, so I went to her home, and I was sitting on the love seat, and it was 3 days
after her surgery.
She had just gotten released from the hospital, she had her forearm bands on, she had neck
still stickied up, and I'm sitting on the love seat, and she looks up at me, with the
diagnostic that they just told her 'Hey, you've got cancer, we're gonna try to fight it, but
you have cancer,' and she said, 'Can I fix you something for you to eat?'
Wow.
And I was done.
I lost her right there, I was like, 'I don't care if I ever eat again, no you're not doing
anything for me.'
And shes like, 'what?'
Because to her, it was just...
Everybody was so used to taking care of me because they didn't want Melissa to get her
to get up.
My mom and dad was prepared to bury me.
At 30 years old, they were preparing, they were thinking in their head, 'Oh god, if she
dies in Texas, how are they going to find a coffin that big?
How are we going to get her home where she belongs?'
Like, they were prepared.
And no parent should ever have to do that.
And I was done.
So when I went to see him, I was done.
Not only is it a gift to our parents, if we get healthy, so they don't have to bury us
before them, it's a gift to our children, I always say, happy parents make happy children.
Yeah, my kids are my number 1 reason that I am fighting.
It's a fight everyday.
Pre-op, post-op, in the midst of it, it's a fight everyday.
And everyday, I said, 'I'm a failure, I'm a failure, I'm a failure, this is more diet
I'm going to blow.
This is one more time that I'm going to mess up.
And then Dr. Nowzaradan told me, and you have to think about this, he said, 'Put down the
razor.'
And I said, 'The razor?'
'You're in self-destruct mode.
You are so angry and upset about yourself, that you are feeding yourself food you're
in self destruct mode.
That was my way of beating myself up for being this failure that I believed I was.
So everyday I get up, and I say, 'This is a good day, and I'm going to be successful.'
And am I successful everyday?
No, because I'm still 100 lbs. over my lowest weight, but everyday I get up knowing that
I 100 percent control what goes in my body and my mouth, and I 100% brought 3 kids in
this earth, and they will not walk the same path that I have walked.
I Love it.
So we can change it.
So we were talking about how are we staying in at 95% success rate, and Dr. Now touched
on environmental factors, and things that might stress us out, and so we also watched
your show with your husband.
Anyone see her husband on the show?
Yes, and everyone wants to know: What's going on with the marriage?
I'm going through a divorce.
It's not Aw, and like Amber said, 'We are much better friends, than we are husband and
wife.'
Cause' I have no expectations of him.
He knows what he has to do, and I know what I have to do, and when I'm relying on me,
then that's all that is, is me.
It's much harder.
It's not my plan, but it is what it is, and I'm OK with it.
I'm OK with it.
I've had that question asked so many times, post operatively, do we have a higher risk
of divorce following weight loss surgery, and I tell them, 'No, because this is life
changing."
We had problems before, we had problems before surgery.
I always say, if you have problems before, you're going to have problems after.
Your biggest problem is that you don't have the food to take care of that problem, and
that's my thing.
We had problems before, and I knew it, but I wanted to hide it and stuff because it was
all me.
You know, we punish ourselves because it's all us.
It's our problem because we're fat, it's our problem because we don't get up, it's our problem.
We ignore every problem that they have.
Then when we're thin, we're like, 'Wait, what?
Wait, I'm not fat anymore.
Why is he doing that?'
So it's an everyday battle, because I keep on telling Dr. Nowzaradan, 'Please learn to do surgery on the brain.
Please.
Because if somebody would do surgery
on the brain, I wouldn't be fighting everyday as hard as I fight.
So your a big advocate for therapy
I think therapy is the best thing in the world.
My best friend who's here with me; Shes my therapist on a daily basis.
She's gonna start sending you a bill.
Ok so you're an advocate on theraphy, so you advocate and tell people that's part of your...
That's the very first thing that you should do before you have surgery.
Because you need somebody to tell you...
what your doing is OK but here's a way we need to scoot it over to get you where you...
You have two choices: honest to God, two choices.
You could stay where you're at, or you can move forward.
Doesn't matter how fast you're moving as long as you're moving forward.
And if you're here or you're at a weight lost doctor,
or you're sitting at the house seat with a BigMac watching the show thinking why can't I be them
Then you're wanting to move forward
Right.
And what about therapy after?
Because
People think that losing the weight solves the problem and they don't realize actually it can add some problems to some of the marriages
even the healthiest marriages, so
Even if we have a stable marriage before weight lose surgery
it can cause some spouses to feel insecure and it also can cause some of us to have inflated self-esteems
because we're so happy and excited that we're finally getting all these compliments.
Absolutely.
I look nice today, but what about
two years after my surgery you would have been like
What is she wearing?
because you know, your body get's down and you get skinny.
So you were wearing like hoochie clothes?
Melissa?
I was wearing revealing- I was..I was thin.
I was thin-thin.
I was like, 'who is that in mirror?'
Oh, that's me.
Are we talking like short skirts or boob shirts? What were we doing?
I was doing like...
I was still my mother's child
I went kneeling
Ok.
The kind of revealing shirts, cute hats, make up
Flirting with people cause they were flirting with me.
I felt good about me.
Mmhm.
I felt good.
And my husband was like..
Ummm...where..wh- what happened to the quiet?
Do you need me to take care of..
cause he was my caretaker
and he was like well why don't- why am I not taking care of you
Why are you wanting to go out without me?
Yeah, so his role changed
and you changed.
And that's another thing a lot of people don't understand.
We change. For the better - most of the time.
Sometimes not. I mean we change really quickly.
Where are you when it comes to the emotional work and the environmental work?
I have been in counseling since I was 16.
and
it's been helpful. I've been through several different therapist off and on.
Traditional, psychotherapy.
I've worked with psychiatrist. Regulate medicines.
I've had the full mental health journey
I've done the DBT. I've done the...
there's dialectical nurse, cognitive, CBT, as well.
So how has it benefited you?
What have you gotten from it?
Well,
Golly,
So, the benefits of therapy are pretty immense.
It helps know yourself a little bit better
It helps you work through problems, I think...
Really, the greatest thing you can get from therapy is
gaining a toolkit.
Whether that's something you discover yourself
Or whether it's something your therapist suggests.
but a way with coping in between
vists. Therapy.
I mean the therapy helps. It's great for venting.
It's great for that release.
It's great for feeling empathy from someone who perhaps get's it without judgement.
But, the tools you carry over..
Into your real life make it good.
I had one therapist that I didn't click particularly well with.
She was a very thin woman, and, um,
this is back in Oregon,
and she looked at me, and shes like,
'well if you're unhappy, you should make a change.'
And I was like,
That's why I'm here.
and
There was something about her perception of my obesity that it made her feel like I was
unreachable.
Eventually, we stopped returning each others calls and ended up finding a different doctor.
So just like Melissa was explaining
she went to 15 different doctors before she found her right fit.
Wouldn't you agree that even for your therapist, your nutritionist, your trainer.
It might not be a right fit.
So keep searching for your right fit in your right team.
See, this is what I tell people:
healthcare is a service you receive.
Your healthcare giver is a person who is working at a professional, skilled field
to help you.
If you do not feel like they are your ally, find a different doctor.
Find a different nutritionist. Find a different therapist.
You have to be able
to feel like your doctor cares about you.
I didn't feel like I had anyone willing to work with me on my weight, until I met Dr. Now.
Who actually cared about my success
and who was invested in it.
And perhaps that is unfair,
but if you do not have a good relationship. If you do not make what you can out of that healthcare relationship,
If you feel belittled, If you feel misunderstood,
You will not utilize that tool, properly.
You will feel alienated.
And so, for me, for Melissa's carrying around the Cinderella shoe trying to find Cinderella.
was trying to find a weight loss surgeon, for me it was trying to find a therapist I liked.
Interesting.
Does the shoe fit? Does the shoe fit?
Dr. Now, tell me how Amber was as a patient.
She was OK.
Everyone's OK.
I wanna know about the ones on the show.
Tell me about one of your most difficult. You don't have to say the name.
Ok. Ok, let me be honest about me as a patient,
He says nice things to me in front of people, but everyday I left - every visit I had,
I left his office crying.
Every visit.
Because he tells the 100% truth.
And we, as big people, don't want to hear that.
And I was like, 'He hates me!'
And he's like, 'No, I don't hate you, but the scale don't like and people do.'
I was like, 'Is he calling me a liar!'
The scale doesn't lie, but people do. I love that one.
So he..
He absolutely is a nice, sweet man, and I'm team Nowzaradan forever.
Forever.
I think we're all team Nowzaradan
But he is 100% honest with you
If come in and you gain weight, and I have.
Last time I went to visit,
He said, 'Well, you've gained 4 lbs.'
And I'm like
I don't know how!
Because you don't eat, right?
No, that wasn't I don't eat. And I was like,
'Ok I do know how. I know that I'm not eating during the day, and then at night I eat popcorn instead of dinner.
But you're not allowed to tell me that!'
So I wasn't the most pleasant of his...
In the very beginning, if you would have said stand on your head and touch your nose with your tongue
I would have been like OK.
So you're saying that you were so desperate, you didn't care. You were willing to take it.
But as time went on, I wasn't
so
As you lose weight, you start feeling better about yourself, right?
And then nobody can tell you what you already know about yourself because you're already losing the weight!
So even though he was my doctor, I was like,
He's wrong. I can do it this way.
And. And. He wasn't wrong. He wasn't wrong.
So now Dr. Nowzaradan, one of the things I hear often is that,
'My doctor makes me feel bad when I go back for my check up. I don't want to go back for my check up.'
Right? I hear that from a lot of people.
I've gained weight, and I don't want to go back to my post-op check up.
Is there any encouragement you can give these patients, and why they should always check in with their doctors?
Well, you have to find a way to get across the person.
You can't antagonize them, sometimes, but sometimes you have to tell them the truth.
And sometimes, you need to find a way that they can effectively change their eating habits.
You can't keep them from coming back because they gained weight.
You have to look at the situation, and see what happens.
So what we need is actually this room to be filled with all of your doctors, right?
So that we can share how to be more emphathetic with their patients and less discouraging so that you guys do return.
We as patients need to realize that they're not disappointed in us because we're injuring them,
They're disappointed in us, because we're injuring us.
Our doctors know that, that they did surgery on us to save our lives. And we are doing something wrong.
Like I hate to go..
I am the first person to say I don't to go, I know I've gained weight.
Because I don't want to disappoint the man made my dreams come true.
For me, it's a whole different view than most people cause
he made my dreams come true.
He saved my life.
So any time he says, when he's mean to me, now, I'm like OK, I got that. But when he says something good like,
I'm proud of you, or you're doing great, or your successful
I break down into a complete blubber, lay on the floor, and like 'I am gonna starve myself until I get to my goal weight.'
Because
He gave me what I needed and we need to hear it, sometimes, Yeah you gained weight
this is what you're doing wrong and this is the path.
They're not upset with us because we gained the weight, and messing up their stats,
They're upset with us because we gained the weight, and we're messing up our stats.
And because they know that you can do it.
Yeah. He tells me all the time.
Again, with the whole put down the thing..He looked at me he said,
'What are you doing? I know you can do this.'
And it's hard to think about this, but one man on this planet has faith in me.
And so many others, right?
OK, so, back to that question though, can you remember the most difficult client?
Have you ever terminated a client?
Everyday. All of them.
And I've seen you be tough on them. Which, you know, again, I like, it's my style.
So I have also seen you tell people I'm proud of you, and they do all breakdown.
Like when you leave the room, do you ever watch your shows back?
No.
I know, you don't like to watch yourself on TV.
And take 80 hours of recording when we do the show. They put in 34 minutes, I've been there all the time, so
Yes, yes.
And you know what, with that stuff in mind, how many days do you work?
Um, 7 days.
7 days a week.
So that means you don't have that much time to date.
No.
Did you know he is an eligible bachelor?
Yes. He is. So they're standing up already.
So they're not gonna want your book signing, they're gonna want your number out there.
Yes.
So you to be willing to be accountable for your food, hear hard things, have dinner ready late at night, 7 days a week,
Any other requirements?
And wait,
He gives out special patients, I have it, I believe you have it, his personal cell phone number.
Wow.
So, should I have an emergency
I don't call an office or call a service, I call him.
And better yet,
He works more than 7 days a week, because,
should he have a emergency,
Say you have, I don't know, are 7 months pregnant and was in a car wreck at 10:30 at night.
And you call the office to leave a voicemail,
Hes the one that calls you back.
Wow.
He's the one.
That's incredible. So you go above and beyond. I hear, I hear someone refers to you as Dr. Grandpa.
Melissa's kids.'
Oh.
Dr. Grandpa.
Dr. Grandpa. Are we going to Dr. Grandpa's office?
Because when I was talking with the girls earlier, they really hold you almost very father-like, a figure.
You know, and high self-esteem. Not, I don't even think just because you saved their lives
I think just because you are such a great man and you do such great work, and you care so deeply
I think that's a connection that all of us, feel, right?
He's like all of our dad. I think so.
Dr. now is generally just a very special kind of person
He has empathy, he has the academic resources to find the information about obesity,
He has the will to advocate, he is a special person.
Yes. That takes on these really special cases.
OK. So, let's open up the floor to some questions for any of the panelists up here.
So go ahead and raise your hand, and Lauren's gonna run around and get some questions.
Anyone? Anyone? Y'all were lining up 2 seconds ago. Cmon
Alright, in the back. We're coming.
Nobody wants to talk to us, they only want to talk to Dr. Nowzaradan.
But the people that want to date him, they have to go through us. I'm just saying.
Yeah, they are his bodyguards.
There is an application form.
Yes. Long requirements. OK.
Hi, my question is for Amber and Melissa,
A lot of us have faced the
misguided notion that somehow we have cheated the system
and um perhaps people in their vast knowledge of nutrition
and you know, gastro-intestinal issues, decide to give us advice on how much we cheated and what we should have been doing
Have you dealt with that? And how do you deal with that if people come up and decide to give you advice that because they're the same credential as your doctor.
You mean the food police?
Oh, I love them, but also, the surgery police. The lifestyle police.
Everybody has an opinion.
Like literally, everybody. I've had a somebody tell me, I'm just a guinea pig, and I'm like
Yes I am. Let's go back to the room, and I'll let him do something else.
Normally, I figured kindness is the best way
I just smile through it because, again
If you let somebody else dictact your life, I'm gonna be 700lbs. again. My life really sucks.
I have an 8 month old, who tried to die on me, twice.
I have a husband who has cheated on me, more times than God knows what.
I have lost weight, and gained weight. I've had depression, like I...I battle depression
I battle anxiety.
I worry about my bills, you know, some days you're like, oh Lord, please don't the lights shut off while my company's here.
I no longer give anybody else control of my happiness.
Period.
And so, if they have an opinion about what I'm doing wrong, or I'm cheating, or
Wow she's gained weight.
Or, you know, that's your opinion.
I appreciate your opinion. I'll put it in my file 13, but thank you.
Can we talk about the lymphedema?
Oh, yes, absolutely.
So, first, not everyone knows what lymphedema is, can you explain what lymphedema is.
I'm not a healthcare professional, I think Dr. Now would probably be better to describe what..
Can you describe what lymphedema is, and then we'll ask Amber about her experience with it.
Well, you know, when you gain weight, body store fat in different areas,
and some people gain weight in lower body.
And that block lymph-fatty and the fat get heavy and drop down
And you get swelling in the leg, and that's lymphedema.
So it's the area in which the fat settles, causing swelling.
Swelling with the lymphedic blockage, yeah.
Ok.
So that's what you experienced.
Right.
And not everyone, cause you don't experience it, Melissa.
So not everyone who is of that weight experiences issues with lymphedema.
Well if you've seen my show, you've seen the
I called them fat packs.
Ok, I call mine, puppy dogs, Ok.
Yeah, those were my areas, but he took care of them for me.
But I'm not like Amber's, Amber's is visually there in front of her all the time.
Like, they're her struggle.
Ok, so tell me about that.
Well, I first started noticing an irregular, sort of, onset of fat below the knee,
sort of at the ankle, I started getting the shouldering when I was 16.
So a couple of years after puberty.
I think, Dr. Now, has described what I had as a lipo-lymphedema-complex
I think that was the term you used.
So I have an irregular out-of-post from the waist down.
I don't know how many of you are familiar with another condition, called lymphedema, but it's very similar
I felt strange, kids wanted to wear shorts, kids wanted to go outside, kids wanted to wear dresses.
It started when you were younger?
It started when I was 16. Before I put on the bulk of my weight.
I was always heavy. I was always over 300 lbs. by the time I was 11.
But, the weight gain from the waist down, really sort of came to a head right as I was completing high school moving into college.
So you experience it mostly in your legs, and how do you deal with it now?
Is it something that ever goes away?
Well, it get's better if you lose weight, but surgically, we have to remove some of the tissue.
Ok
So with surgery, with weight loss, but it's always there. There's not like a cure.
for lymphedema.
Well if watch some of the show, like with Olivia, she had tremendous lymphedema.
Or
or the half-ton killer
She had lymphedema, huge lymphedema, now she have more weight.
After she lost off the weight, we did surgery on her.
So
Skin surgery would be good treatment for her.
Ok.
But you have to get down to your ideal body weight. Ok.
Ok.
And that's gonna be down in the horizon for Amber.
Ooh, on the horizon.
So you have to..Do you always wear pants? Do you have to wear special garments?
Um, I typically wear leggings, for the added compression value.
They do make specialized lymphedema garments, but I just wear leggings cause they're tights.
I keep my feet elevated when I can
I avoid being in too hot of water, anything that would aggrevate swelling, and
Dr. Nowzaradan actually prescribed for me numatic compression cuffs that go from the tip of my toe
all the way up to my hip for both legs, and an air pump, and I use that therapeutically to sort of,
sort of similiar to manual lymph-drainage to make the size of the leg go down and move some of the pulled fluid, out.
Wow.
I hate them. I'm gonna be honest, they're probably my least favorite feature.
People always ask me, 'How do you have the courage to wave your bi-betties in public?'
These don't bother me, but these do. So...everybody got their own battle.
It's an everyday struggle for you.
Yeah.
But you're still in the gym, regardless.
Yeah, absolutely.
So what's your excuse, right?
Ok, lauren. Where you miss Lauren?
Ok, we have another question in the audience for you guys.
Can you stand up for me please?
Thank you.
This is for both of you ladies.
I just wanted to know when you have your down days or the days where you just feel like you couldn't keep going
what did you do to motivate yourself or pick yourself up and get you going?
It's not even what did you do..it's what do you do cause we still have them, right?
Ok, so I'm at a point in my life where I can honestly say I am very blessed. I have more good days than bad
Things are going pretty OK.
I still have my struggles, and I think we all do, it's apart of the human condition.
I have bad days where all I want to do is lay on the floor and cry, and accomplish nothing, do nothing, and you know what?
Sometimes, I just let myself have those days.
Sometimes if i feel like I need to break down and cry, I'll be sitting in traffic in Houston, which is terrible,
I don't recommend driving there around 5 P.M.
I'll be sitting in traffic, crying.
In time with the music, just ugly, ugly sobbing, and then I'll wind up at Melissa's front door and walk in and be like
Melissa, this is the day I had.
And then she turns into your therapist.
And then unfortunately, Melissa turns into my therapist.
I'm very opinionated.
So you let your feelings come to surface.
I let them. I let them come to the surface, but I don't over induldge them.
I think..Melissa tells me something amazing all the time, It's OK to feel bad,
You just can't live there.
That's a very good statement - I like that.
My therapist told me that.
I just told you my life story, I have terrible days. A lot.
But at my biggest, when I had those days, you know the days that you want the whole pack of Oreos, and the days that you...you're like...
Ugh, it's not working for me today.
Those are days that I work for it the hardest.
You know, I make myself get up.
I am, by no means, strong. I have no will-power, whatsoever.
I don't have the stuff, that...
I don't have chips in my house. I don't have the stuff I love in the house because I can't resist it.
It calls out my name all the time.
And then I find motivational music. I like..
My kids love loud music. And they're like, 'Mama dances.' - cause that's what I do.
I slap my headphones on, I turn the music up, and then I just don't think.
Period.
There is no reason for me to think.
My tool will work, if I work for it.
And so when I'm having those days, I know the routine, and then I...
and if that doesn't work, you have to have tribe.
You have to have a tribe.
You have to have somebody that when you call or show up at a door, and say,
I'm stuck in life, and they say
No, it's a bad hump.
It's a bad hump.
These are all the good things about you.
My best friend Donna does it all the time, because I'm like, 'I don't want my kids to turn out like me.'
She's like, 'Why? you have all these great things about you.' And that's why everybody needs -
You need to find a buddy, and if you don't have one,
There's a million people in this room, right here, who will be your buddy.
You need somebody to say, 'I have faith in you.'
I tell everybody, everybody who says
You inspired me, I'm gonna have surgery.
Ok, message me. Talk to me, I have faith in you.
I know that you're gonna do this.
I have faith in everybody who has taken that first step.
And I will be right here, to tell you. There is all these wonderful things about you.
That's how I get over my - my -
I have a lot of bad days, and especially right now.
But that's how I get over it.
Melissa, I like how you said that you find somebody because so many people, especially when it comes to depression, and other mental health.
Issues that we struggle with, we do it in silence.
So to be able to find your people, to find somebody who can pull you out, who can recognize it, sometimes before you do.
Is also the key, because sometimes we're so deep in it, we don't know it.
You know, have that person, that you will allow to tell.
You know what, I see you going down that path.
If you were to ask me two years ago, do you have depression or anxiety?
I would have said, no.
I never believed that there was something wrong with me.
That's it. Yeah, denial, is huge.
Like you think, well, no I don't. I'm fine. I'm fine.
But until you recognize it in other people, and then you're like oooh.
Oooh.
I like to say it's not a bad life, it's just a bad day.
Yeah.
Or not even a bad day,
In those 5 minutes, that your struggle.
Sometimes I have a bad day.
It's a really bad day.
No. Bad moments.
You can make it a bad moment, It's your choice though, isn't it?
It's a choice, whether you want to turn into a moment, a day, 3 days, a month. We do have a choice over that.
I always say, and I got it from Brittany from my 600 lb. life, cause I'm like, 'Why are you always so happy?'
She's like, 'I'm not, I'm fighting and struggling inside, but I'm gonna fake it til' i make it.
Yes.
That's what I'm doing. I'm faking it until I make it.
Yeah, it's a very popular saying, among us therapist.
You just fake it til' you make it, and one day you'll believe it.
Ok, I think Lauren has another question for us over there.
I struggle with losing 217 in 11 months, and I still see myself as that 478 lb. man.
do you guys still see yourself as what you guys used to be? Or do you guys see the women who you are now?
Everyday, I see myself as 600 lbs.
I just had a mental breakdown yesterday because they're like, 'Look in the mirror.'
I was like, 'No, I don't. I don't need to look in the mirror.'
Cause when I do my hair and make up, you know you don't look into the mirror at your hair and make up, You just do your face and that's what you do.
But they had a full length mirror in, and they're like look in it.
I know what that 600 lb. lady looks like. I don't need see her.
I don't want to see. And I said these exact words,
They say, 'What's your struggle with the scale?'
Nothing. The scale is something I 100% control.
What I do, I control the scale.
What's your relationship with the mirror?
I hate it. I'm a slave to a mirror.
Because what I see in there, I have no control over.
So...It's normal. It's normal.
Amber, do you struggle with the same thing?
Has your psyche caught up with the weight loss?
I think this is pretty common for the most of us, but no.
I ease into chairs slowly, I step lightly, I touch the ground before I put my weight on it.
Such a huge part of my identity as a person was wrapped up in being somewhat helpless.
In my formative adult years and teenage years, when I was becoming
a person a bigger part of my personality was anxiety, than it was the person who I am.
And I'm still just now, beginning trying to figure out who I am
behind my stage freight, behind my reluctance to speak to people behind my fear.
Behind my need for approval.
And so much of that was tied to being a big person.
Like, I
I don't know, I will probably always think of myself as a fat girl.
And if someone tells a fat joke, that is particularly offensive, I will always be like, 'That's rude.'
Even if I get to goal, even if I become a skinny minnie, I will always be the fat girl in here.
I feel ya man, for real.
How many of us our psyche still has not caught up with the weight that we have lost, right?
So our weights comes off much faster than all the years it took us to adapt to that weight.
Right?
So don't feel so bad if your psyche has not yet caught up with your weight loss, it takes years.
Some of us catch up with it quicker than others, but it's definitely something that you want, that we have to content with post-op.
Just when you look in the mirror, and say, gosh, your a nice looking man.
You are.
Yeah, or just walk through here, we'll all tell you your a nice looking man.
I love it. I love it.
Ok, Lauren, do we have another question out there?
[][][][] - overweight that have to deal with this.
One of the things that I heard you say
You don't buy chips, you don't buy - How do I stop her from buying the chips?
You don't.
Exactly.
And I say things, and I do things, and I know that I'm hurting her feelings.
Here's the thing.
Does she put the food in your mouth?
No.
Do you put the food in her mouth?
And I- I'm the one that cooks, and I provide - I always cook a good meal, I do everything. She will eat cookies instead of my meals.
You can't fix her problems.
You have to either decide that you love her how she is, and you're gonna let her fix her own problems,
Or
You don't want to be with her.
You can't fix her, because you're not fixing her, you're hurting her, and then shes angry and she hates you and
you're the bad guy.
You have to decide
I'm gonna love you, even if you can't eat my chicken, I'm gonna love you anyways.
But what happens is,
you will blame her and her weight loss problems for the problems in your marriage,
instead of making a decision that you married someone like that and making the tough decision to either live with,
or move on.
And you will not make that decision as long as you blame her for the problems in your marriage.
I don't blame her for the problems in my marriage.
Okay, but you have to -
the wife, I'm sorry, I heard your name earlier and I don't...
You have to realize, that you have to do the same thing.
If you say to him, 'I'm in this. I'm in this. I'm in the deep of this. I'm in this struggle.
I don't want any of these things.
You have to- when he says to you
Honey
I made dinner, put the cookies down.
You have to know, he's saying it out of love.
because you come to him, and you said, I'm fighting the struggle, and I need you to be on my team.
You have to decide if you want him on your team or not.
We have to give them permission to help us.
That's how this works, we give them permission and the words. When I had weight loss surgery,
I told my husband, don't you tell me, 'are you supposed to be eating that' cause you're just gonna piss me off.
Yeah.
I am that person.
If you want to increase your chances of success, give him the tools that are gonna help you stay accountable.
You know, you cannot do this by yourself - ask him.
Tell him, this is what you're allowed to say, and then you need to hear it.
Let it be said.
And if you ask him, 'Don't let me eat those pack of oreos,' then when he says, 'Honey put down the pack of oreos'
You can't be mad at him for that.
You can't be angry because you asked him to be on your team, and he's on your team.
He's your ride or die.
He's on your team. You have to decide, it's not all him, cause see, that's how I was with my marriage, cause it's all him.
It was all me, in our marriage.
Like I was, 'Oh, it's all me, I'm a big failure.'