Tanisha Cleveland, 34 buried her mother early and fears she's on the same path on "My 600 Lb. Life"

‘My 600 Lb. Life’, Tanisha’s Story: Obesity Killed Her Mom, Will She Be Next? (VIDEO)

“My 600 Lb. Life” continues its season 5 tonight, Wednesday March 8 on TLC, with the story of Tanisha Cleveland, 32. A resident of Texas – which will make the trip to see Dr. Now relatively easy – Tanisha is going down a long dark tunnel and it seems like it’s Groundhog Day.

The mother of two has had a rough life which resulted in her turning to food for comfort and control. We all know about the comfort side of it, but many patients on “My 600 Lb. Life” related stories of trauma and fear that colored their existence as children. Tanisha is no exception to that. RECAP posted below.

Her mother made her feel unsafe in her own home as a kid, with what are called “strange” men constantly in and out. She was molested by one of them, and going to her grandmother’s brought more molestation. To add to her childhood of horrors as a young teen she was raped by a stranger and her mother wouldn’t believe her.

She took care of her own mother, also morbidly obese and with a drug addiction to boot. By age 24, Tanisha weighed close to 500 lbs., but as we’ve seen with other patients on the show, she didn’t have trouble getting pregnant. She gave birth to her first child before she was 16. Then a second baby came in her twenties. She has a husband named Troy, who is her daily nurse, bather and as Dr. Now will call him, her enabler. After reaching 600 lbs. she made the choice to change things and was promptly derailed by her mother’s death at the young age of 50.

It was made clear to Tanisha that the cause of death was connected to being obese for many years. The clock began ticking for the daughter who saw the life pattern of despair happening again with her own children. That’s when she got into the program run by Dr. Nowzaradan in Houston. In the sneak peek video below, Tanisha has already been to Dr. Now’s office and just lost the man in her life. We’ve heard all the excuses before, and know that it is only strength of will and determination that can get these patients to break the habits of a lifetime.

Circle on back for a recap of the episode tomorrow after it airs.


Well, this was quite a stunning episode. We learned Tanisha’s full history of abuse and trauma, but it dribbled out little by little. Early on she told us that she’d been molested by her grandfather after she fled her mother’s house.

Only later, during the scene with the therapist did she reveal the extent of it. It went on for years. When she wasn’t safe with the grandparents she tripped back to mom’s where one of her many boyfriends assaulted her. If she tried to stay out of the house as a young teen, bad things followed. She was raped by a boy and went home to her mother for comfort. Not only didn’t she get it, but mom thought she was lying and blamed her if it occurred at all.

The therapist tied the eating to all of it, including the night-time binges. She told Tanisha to forgive herself for whatever part she thought she played in all of it, because she was a victim, not an active participant. The appointment was made well past one year into the process with Dr. Nowzaradan.

This was a first for “My 600 Lb. Life”. We hadn’t seen an episode that followed a patient for two years, but Tanisha broke the mold. Her personal life wasn’t lonely like many of the patients on the show. She was surrounded by two daughters, a husband at first, then a boyfriend, and cousins with their own kids.

This was about a woman who couldn’t live with a strict diet, even though she was approaching 600 lbs. and saw her mom die when she reached the 700 lb. mark. Tanisha’s anger at Dr. Now for refusing to operate on her went deep, and only after she gained 41 lbs. in a few months did she realize that her two choices were dieting or death.

She has the sweetest young daughter who got her hopes up when her mom began with Dr. Now and lost enough to start walking outdoors to watch her play in the pool. ¬†That little girl thought she was the reason her mom was morbidly obese and in fear for life. It wasn’t until her mom let her off the hook that she felt better.

After finally getting with the program,. more than 18 months after she began with Dr. Now did she get her operation. It is always surprising to watch the doctor during the procedure and see the size of someone’s internal organs when they are extremely obese.

At the end of two years, Tanisha had dropped more than 100 lbs. and was going out with her boyfriend and being a better parent to her youngest child. She was stubborn, but ultimately realized there was no other choice. A tough episode to watch, but a very human one. We’re not all programmed to stick to something that taps into our biggest emotional fears, especially when we’re unaware of how they affect us.

“My 600 Lb. Life” airs Wednesdays beginning at 8 p.m. ET/PT on TLC. ¬† Image/video credit: TLC, used with permission¬†

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8 thoughts on “‘My 600 Lb. Life’, Tanisha’s Story: Obesity Killed Her Mom, Will She Be Next? (VIDEO)

  1. I always am suspicious of anyone who ‘hands their life over to God’ and let Him figure it out. As well, I thought Tanisha was actually 50 and was shocked to see she was only 32. She looks decades older, and so does her oldest daughter.
    I really lost respect and compassion during this episode because of the way in which her husband acted towards Dr Now during the second appointment and in front of the children no less. It’s my guess that this woman gets SSI/Disability for being morbidly obese, this man doesn’t work and probably takes a nice chunk of her monthly disability money (paid for by you and I). It amazes me how none of these people are employed but can afford 2-4 ‘value meals’ at $8 a piece every day.
    This episode is a great example of the disaster that is modern, generational welfare that has now turned into people who’ve used up their 5-year welfare limits and are now on permanent SSI/Disability. I often wonder if these people on this show realize that after they’ve lost all the weight, they will no longer qualify for SSI and be required to – gulp – work! I don’t buy this ‘full time mother’ bullcrap when her kids are 8 and 16. She needs to get a job and learn how to develop some kind of work ethic.
    If she wants to eat her way to 700 pounds – terrific. As long as it’s with her own money and it’s her own money for her health care. If she wants to sleep with men whose names she doesn’t even know the next day to get pregnant – wonderful – so long as those kids are taken care of with her own money and not mine. Sick and tired of these people demanding all these free services and care for kids they can’t afford and refuse to work for that WE pay for!

    • Amen brother!!!!

      I’m not a Donald Trump fan, but if he can get filthy stinky bull manure like Tanisha out of OUR country, then I’ll definitely vote for him next time. I am a socialist at heart (because I believe in helping those less fortunate than I), but it is two-legged filthy roaches like Tanisha (and Penny, remember her?) that give socialism a bad name. I’ve said it with Penny, and I’ll say it with Tanisha/Taniqua/rashiqua/doniqua/or whatever she call herself (and her ghetto-ish like hairdo) this week, get a job and get a life, and stop having kids and feeding your sorry anus at tax-payer’s expense. Using her as dog food might be a good way to pay back society for what she has taken from society.

      • This is a horrible thing to say David. You should be ashamed of yourself. Tanisha is NOT a drug addict and looking after her children well. She does get at least a volunteer job that perhaps pays a stipend at the end of the 2 years. The reality is that most people fail at losing weight. I am amazed that the people on this show do as well as they do as its no the norm even with weight loss surgery. With long term and systemic reasons for being overweight int he first place I commend all of them for sticking with it.
        Yes Tanisha had set backs. So does everyone. She is working on it and herself and trying to better her family, which is more than a lot of people. Yes she is still eating too much and the wrong things, but she is taking steps. Good for her and she is breaking the cycle of abuse from her family so that her children will be healthier.
        Everyone should be proud of her continued efforts.

        • Maybe you’re right S.B. Maybe I’m being a little supercritical of Tanisha. I have been handicapped all my life, with only 5% vision, cerebral palsy, a lemon-sized cyst in my brain, epilepsy, type 1 diabetes, a failing pancreas, chronic pain, and I’m dependent on a walker to keep from falling. My entire life has been nothing but a challenge, from dependent upon public transit (taking 2 hr. to do what you can do in 15 minutes by car) to depending on insulin and pain pumps to survive. When I see people like Tanisha and Penny, who are not handicapped, eating themselves literally to death, and not to mention their horrible shitty attitude, I feel that they absolutely do NOT deserve my or anybody’s compassion or sympathy. I have a 6-figure career, despite my life-long issues. These people severely lack what I define as the one key essential component of being human; the ability to think for themselves and at least make an attempt to better themselves. That’s why I have no pity for them. If that makes me a cold SOB, then thats exactly what I am, a super ice cold SOB.

  2. Does anyone know what Tanisha’s weight is now. This show always stops long before the patients reach their ultimate goal.

  3. John, I could be wrong but I think she is still very obese, not losing much at all. Her daughter is almost as big as she is. I wonder why the show doesn’t council/question the “enablers” , and address why they are so fat too.

  4. I have an obese daughter. Hers is caused by a traumatic experience when she was 9 years old. I’m so very disappointed in people who do not have a clue what human beings go through during there lives, how they end up the way they are on the inside and actually feel. Years of therapeutic experience with a wonderful person is the only way to change. From the inside out. That’s what helps her. People are just so hypocritical about obesity. Shameful just shameful!

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