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Backlash After Penny’s Story On ‘My 600-lb Life’

TLC's My 600 Lb. Life

Penny on her way to Houston for surgery on My 600 Lb. Life

Penny’s story on last night’s show, “My 600-lb Life” provoked strong reactions.

The new TLC reality series chronicles the tale of one person an episode and takes viewers through a year in the life of someone struggling on a daily basis, at a size that keeps some of them off their feet. Penny, 46  is one of those who has been unable to walk for four years.

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What brought out the anger in viewers who posted on social media sites was Penny’s claim that she wanted to rejoin life coupled with her refusal to follow medical advice to get there. Her husband Edgar came under fire as well for seeming clueless about what part he played in his wife’s life threatening condition.

She began the show at 530 lbs (not her highest weight) and was not significantly less at the end of the one-hour program.

Penny could not even stand up without enormous help and only for a brief period, despite gastric bypass surgery, a more balanced diet and months of physical therapy.

Her feet and legs had yet to become accustomed to bearing her weight to enable her to stand without two people holding her steady as she held on to something in front of her. Walking was out of the question.

As Penny’s doctor, Younan Nowzaradan learned, she was not ready to work at getting stronger or to deny herself the amount of food and the type of food she demanded.

The enormity of the task got the best of her. We watched as she traveled from her home to Houston for treatment and surgery.What it took to get Penny out of her home and into a van for the trip was shocking. A link to a video clip about that struggle is posted below.

Because her husband couldn’t leave her alone in the vehicle it would mean that the trip could not include any way for him to catch sleep at a hotel/motel on the way.

She lost 40 lbs. in one month of hospitalization being fed a 1,200 calorie per day diet. She underwent the surgery and had high hopes that all would be different because of the severe reduction in the size of her stomach.

Penny’s inability to stick to it, even in the hospital was maddening to viewers as well as her own doctor. She inexplicably refused to try to walk or some days even sit up, then there was the bad food that creeped back into her diet. She was depressed and let it get the best of her.

She and Edgar had years of practice of him wanting to make her happy and supplying her with food that helped keep her a prisoner in her own body. Dr. Nowzaradan called Edgar an enabler. When Penny hadn’t lost another pound during a long hospitalization, the doctor released her, thinking that her own environment could be a help.

Edgar rented an apartment in Houston so she could remain close to the facility, but the eating began again. She gained weight, missed appointments and ended up back in the hospital where she refused to believe the scales were correct. She fell into despair.

The cycle continued until she was discharged for good, when a very patient and kind Dr. Nowzaradan called a spade a spade. Penny was not ready to do the work necessary to recover and reduce her body size, and Edgar was not up to the task of being an enforcer, rather than an enabler.

There was hope at the show’s conclusion after Edgar and Penny decided that they could manage to eat better and less, just not at the level recommended for her. Penny even set a goal to leave the house and sit in an auditorium to watch Liam graduate from kindergarten.

That never happened, but the couple believed it could at some point in the future.

What was a bit surprising was that Penny was never seen speaking with a psychiatrist/psychologist during the entire year chronicled on the show. Perhaps she was treated for her depression and mental health issues and TLC did not include that in the edited video footage. After all, it was a year’s overview condensed to a one-hour TV show.

What did you think of Penny’s story? There will be others as TLC airs “My 600 lb. Life” each Tuesday night at 9:00 p.m. ET

Video of Penny’s trip to Houston and how that had to be accomplished is posted on TVRuckus

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242 replies

  1. Penny is lazy and should have to repay the state of Maryland or whatever state funded her surgery. She is lazy. Weight loss is not easy and WILL not be handed on a silver platter. She is an attention whore and wants people to feel sorry for her. She has a beautiful son that needs his mother. No matter how much she says she participates in his life, it does not replace what she could do for him! She is a waste and is making excuses for herself. If she were trying to loose weight, she would not be eating veggies dripping in butter, several slices of ham, bread with butter, etc. The list goes on and on.

    • People like her are the ones who make me go to gym and careful what I put in my mouth.She hss every excusec in the world 2 do nothing.She thought surgery would sollve all her problems without trying more.Bored to hell.

      • She actually thought surgery will do the magic without any effort from her. She is selfish. Her husband isn’t helping her too. Just waste of time.

    • I remember her the most! She even said that her neighbors had donated $ for her surgery. I think that’s why they moved to that apartment, so she didn’t have to face them. Also, her husband set up the furniture, and the first thing out of her mouth was that she couldn’t see the TV! Then missing all of her appointments! She would rather make crab rangoon off her ass! Gross! Enablers…..this is just like that attitude of an alcoholic!

  2. Penny obviously has become so acclimated to being bedridden and waited on that I think she’s too scared to change. She doesn’t want to be self sufficient. She wants to stay “safe” in her cozy bed where no one expects anything from her. The juxtaposition of her claiming that she gives her son everything he needs with the video of her husband outside having fun with their son–showing that Penny actually misses a hell of a lot of her son’s life.

  3. Ughhh, what a nasty, disgusting, worthless piece of garbage and it has nothing to do with her obesity. There is nothing worse than a pathetic woman. Her son would be better off without her.

  4. For people who won’t follow experts advice you can’t help shame on you penny you don’t appreciate all the help you have received now you are on your own

  5. It makes me sick or should I say penny you make me sick.my son had been waiting years for his surgery.I don’t know how you got it and what you said or did to get the surgery but it’s not fair you took it away from someone who would do everything asked of them to be lucky enough to get the surgery but instead it was wasted on you.KARMA IS A BITCH, you will get yours.

  6. It seems this family has had problems for a long time: http://courtconnect.courts.delaware.gov/public/ck_public_qry_doct.cp_dktrpt_docket_report?backto=J&case_id=J0604006812

    Penny has ruined not only her life, but the life of her husband and potentially her child as well. If Penny wasn’t so selfish and would take care of herself so that she could be a decent wife and mother, she would not weigh so much that she could barely move and would not be on disability. Disability should be for people that really need it – and there are definitely people out there that need it. It’s people like Penny that cause so many others to think disability is a scam and that their hard-earned money is being wasted on selfish, lazy people. There are plenty of people that have worked for years and through no fault of their own find themselves with a medical issue that makes it impossible for them to hold a job. I’m guessing that her husband doesn’t work because he is the only person who is willing to wait on Penny like a servant. I hope he somehow gets the strength to do what he needs to do to take care of himself and his child. I agree with another poster – Penny should be put in a nursing home., where hopefully she would not have such easy access to food. Edgar should attempt to get a job during school hours, or if he has a family member willing to help him get on his feet, take Liam and stay with them.

  7. I wonder what “tons of fun” Penny would do if there were an emergency (like a fire) in her apartment. Hell, she couldn’t do anything for herself, her husband or her son, so her delusion of being a better parent than working mothers is a load of whale crap. I also wonder what her husband could (or better, WOULD) do to help her if there were an emergency like a fire – cos he’s not helping her in any way by wiping her ass and providing her junk food.

  8. Stop feeding your wife, Edgar! Does Penny not see the fat she eats and the degradation of her spouse having to attend to her bodily discharges? Enablers should be prosecuted and Edgar is guilty. The fact that he shopped according to her list of groceries tells us he has serious issues as to how he manages Penny’s severe obesity. Her motivation should be her adorable son and having an active sex life with her man. She is not just obese, she is mentally ill. And she doesn’t have long to live. Everybody in her life needs to intervene and stop feeding her rubbish. They are all guilty. Leave her a bowl of salad and see – she can hardly chase them to inflict punishment.

  9. Penny enjoys the attention her situation brings her. This didn’t just start happening. What happened in her childhood that caused to to see illness, weakness and “poor me” as a way to get attention? She has surrounded herself with people too afraid of rejection, to risk standing up to her. I found it enlightening to see how hard it was for her to sit up in hospital, yet she could spring forward to grab the bag put on her bed at home. She is not as invalid as she likes others to believe. Penny has psychological issues that go back to her childhood and I believe she has a lot of pain that has never been addressed. What Penny needs more than surgery is to be locked in a room for a week with someone who won’t take her pathetic excuses but will make her face her issues and refuse to give in. She needs to get in touch with that pain and explore it. And I absolutely would not hand her any food. Put it on a table and when she’s hungry enough, she will go and get it, have no fear of that.

  10. I had weight loss surgery 6 months ago and have lost 100 pounds. When I cheat on my diet I watch this episode and it reminds me what can happen. I think Edgar is a fool for allowing her to eat poorly. Penny has no real sense of reality. But I do hope one day to see an update in here where she has changed her life around.

  11. She may have a pituitary gland tumor and Cushing syndrome. Also a genetic disorder. So, she can take into account this fact. I didn’t see that they checked this. Alo, some saturated fats are good to lose weight. I wonder, can she be contacted?

  12. I found her offensive, but I also find I understand. A girl needs wontons!

  13. Penny is a fat cow who is a useless waste of space, her husband and child wait on her hand foot and she isn’t even trying just blaming everything on everything and everyone else, maybe she’d be better off 6 feet under


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