“My 600 Lb. Life” returns for the second installment in its fifth season on TLC, with the story of Ashley R. She weighs almost 700 lbs. and longs to return to a physical, romantic relationship with her husband Daniel. He has been her caretaker, but still takes time to stroke her face and hair as he tucks her into bed. Updated with RECAP posted below.
At 30 years-old and without hope of restraining her eating habits, Ashley fears losing her husband and her only chance to have children. Daniel speaks softly about the ticking clock to have a family in the video sneak peek posted below.
We’re told that she has grown too large for Daniel to handle by himself, so the couple resides with her family in Southern California. There she has parents and three younger sisters. They, like Daniel have become Ashley’s caretakers and of course her enablers. It is with embarrassment that she speaks about how easily she and Daniel have slipped into a patient-caretaker role.
When they choose to take the opportunity to enter Dr. Nowzaradan’s surgical program in Houston, it is the first time she will be away from her immediate family. You know as well as anyone, particularly if you are a regular viewer of “My 600 Lb. Life”, that Dr. Now will listen to the loving couple and then stun them with criticism. He will put uncomfortable questions to them about who bought the food and cooked the food she consumed to get to her size. If he ever meets her family members he’ll do the same to them.
It remains to be seen if the move from California to Texas and the absence of her family will prevent Ashley from being a compliant patient. Will she sabotage herself or tough it out. As with many of Dr. Now’s patients, Ashley has childhood trauma that cuts a straight line from the episodes to her eating habits.
Many of the show’s subjects land at a clinical therapist’s office to speak, sometimes for the first time about what occurred to them in their early years. Last week in the season premiere we watched twins Brandi and Kandi get the courage to include their addict mother to the conversation and make a breakthrough that was years in coming.
A more loving couple would be difficult to find on the past seasons of the show. There have been a few, but none that seemed as stable as Daniel and Ashley. No matter her condition or state of mind, their relationship never varied. He loves her unconditionally and by that we mean, that he and her family ate as she did once she was under the care of Dr. Nowzaradan.
Because she was turned down on her initial visit to him, she had to learn on her own how to eat 1200 calories a day by limiting carbs and sugar. Her sisters, parents and husband got on the program with her. We’ve seen many a story about families who sabotage the weight-loss patient, refusing to budge on their own unhealthy habits, and the story of Lupe came to mind.
After losing more than 50 pounds in a month Ashley moved to Houston, leaving her entire family behind. She was approved for surgery and they came for a few days. Her fear of being unable to continue without at least her mother with her was a gut wrenching scene. Like the twins in last week’s show (Brandi and Kandi) a bypass was not an option. She received the sleeve procedure and her recovery was quick. When she was readmitted to the hospital tests revealed nothing physically wrong. An anxious woman, she was worrying herself into sickness and pain.
As predicted, she attended at least one therapy session that we saw on camera. It changed the way she saw recovery. The counselor pointed her in the direction of taking control of her marriage. He told her to concentrate on things that would help her spend time with Daniel in places other than the house watching TV. Slowly but surely that happened.
While her weight-loss was not 30 lbs. a month as Nowzaradan expected, it was steady. In twelve months she was a changed woman, having lost more than 200 lbs. and looking forward to enjoying a romantic life with her husband.
Having been too ashamed to show him her body, they had not had a physically intimate marriage. She expected that to change, but first, she began to go out more, and told her hubby it was time for a date. Her makeover session brightened her outlook and delighted Daniel. The love and admiration in his eyes was enough for this viewer to feel like this is a story with a happy ending.
What did you think of Ashley’s story and her marriage to Daniel?
TLC airs new episodes of “My 600 Lb. Life” season 5, Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT Image/video credit: TLC, used with permission.