Penny, on her way to Houston to see Dr. Nowzaradan in "My 600 Lb. Life"

Worse Case on ‘My 600 Lb. Life’: James K or Penny?

Update: A third candidate for the worst on the show: SNEAK PEEK of Steven

“My 600 Lb. Life” has given viewers years worth of things to think, talk and obsess about. In previous seasons, no one has caused a stir like James K, except for Penny.

We met her in early 2014 and each time the episode replays the same uproar is heard. Penny reappeared one year later in a follow-up show, and not only was she alive, she was still defiant about why her way of losing weight was superior to Dr. Nowzaradan’s method. She hadn’t gotten to a goal weight, but she had reduced a bit, insisting that Dr. Now didn’t know her body as well as she did.

Because the “My 600 Lb. Life” episode with James K stopped abruptly after he was sent away to fend for himself, we don’t know whether or not he straightened up. (Note: TLC told TVRuckus that there is no follow-up episode planned at this time.) The network left us wondering how he expected to stay alive and get healthy without strict adherence to the diet he and Lisa were handed at the initial visit to the doctor’s office.

Penny couldn’t or wouldn’t walk even after surgery. She did manage to get out of bed and sit in chairs after her time on the show. James couldn’t even sit without three people using all their strength to get him in that position. Of course, there’s a huge weight difference between the two with James topping out around 850 lbs. and Penny at around 600 lbs.

Speaking of the abrupt end, only the week prior Tanisha’s story covered a full 24 months in the life of the patient’s journey with Dr. Now. Here’s wondering shy she was the exception on the show. For sure, viewers are making themselves clear in the comments section under our published stories about James K that they want a conclusion to the case.

Throughout the episode we watched the couple “try”, then defend their efforts by copping to cheating a little. They looked dumbfounded when asked how a 150 lb. weight gain could be the result of a little cheating. Penny went further than that, asking Dr. Now and us to believe that she knew better than him, ignoring his warning of an early death. Unlike James, when she was weighed, Penny called out the scale in his office as malfunctioning.

The doctor’s plan has never varied. It’s so simple anyone can do it and that’s the rub. Stick to a 1,200 calories-a-day diet, or in extreme cases like James K, the calorie count shrinks to 800. The difficulty is twofold and both Penny and James K suffered from it.

James, 46 from Paducah, Kentucky gets his chance to save his life with Dr. Nowzaradan on "My 600 Lb. Life"
James, 46 from Paducah, Kentucky gets his chance to save his life with Dr. Nowzaradan on “My 600 Lb. Life”

Refusal to adjust to eating 10% of their previous daily intake is one, whether it’s called an addiction or just emotional eating. The other, and it’s unclear why this isn’t a focus, is the inability to comprehend the strict nature of the diet. There are no eating-bonus days, or splurge days as rewards for following the plan for a day, a week or even a whole month.

Some patients have rarely eaten a vegetable or a piece of fruit that was fresh from the grocery store. Many don’t cook at home because of their size and their enablers bring in food to satisfy them. Learning to cook lean meat and fish protein can be a first. Knowing what to buy to fill the void on their meal plates is a new phenomenon.

It’s time for it to be part of the regime to help patients who don’t know how to eat 1,200 calories-a-day. Rarely has the show gotten to the point of showing us how the doctor or his staff counsel patients about the eating plan. Shopping and cooking to save the life of a patient isn’t second nature to the enablers.

They also aren’t instructed about the damage cheating on the plan can do to the goal they’re given by Dr. Now. When he says lose 50 lbs. he doesn’t mean 30, or 40, or even 45, unless it’s the second or third time he’s turned them away.

Until last season, “My 600 Lb. Life” did not incorporate the use of a therapist in each show. If you look back at the early seasons, it was glaringly absent. Currently, a therapist has become a requirement in some cases, while in others it comes when the patient hits a wall during the first 12 months.

How about educating the patients about how to plan meals, shop for what is needed and some cooking advice? Will that be the magic potion necessary? Not for patients like James K or Penny, that’s for sure.  Thoughts?

“My 600 Lb. Life” airs Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT   Images: TLC, used with permission 

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8 thoughts on “Worse Case on ‘My 600 Lb. Life’: James K or Penny?

  1. To our readers: TVRuckus contacted TLC, the network that airs the show, about a follow-up episode about James. As a spokesperson told us, “They have no current plans for one”. We’ll see if that changes and will let you know when we know

  2. Personally I think whatever the ending results are, James K gets what he deserves! That man was given every chance in the world!! His elderly father put his house up just to pay for the ambulance to transport his fat butt to Houston to try & save his life!!!

  3. I saw the episode and I believe his girlfriend must be trying to kill him. Dr Nowvarder is right, you cannot gain almost 100 lbs in two months without 10000 calories per day. So she has to be aware he is eating that much because she is the one serving it to him.

  4. I also thought that maybe the girlfriend was trying to kill him. By the looks of things, even IF he loses the weight, the legs just look like… meat. IMHO, I just don’t think he’ll be able to keep his legs– or ever move them again. When they’ve been locked up in that position that long, the joints wont want to ever move again. Which… brings up to our final end– how are they going to bury someone that size? And, if they cremate him, at 850 pounds, are they going to have to… (I’m sorry) cut him into pieces so he can fit into the crematorium? At 850, what does a funeral director charge– 4 times as much, because, he IS four people. And THAT’S the truth as I see it. Sorry.

  5. Pauline is as bad as James. Her son is trapped into taking care of her, and it’s sad what he has to do for her. She’s just awful. Her son is huge already, and he should just walk out on her and go get a life, and let her “root hog or die” as the expression goes.

  6. They all blame their greedy Habib on some kind of childhood shit, most of the things that happen to them when they were kids happened to me, I am 5ft 8ins 146lbs I don’t eat like a pig , never on drugs, never abused anyone, take care of my kids, yes we are all not the same, but I believe these people can do better than that, I can’t understand one would go out there kill people then all those stupid thyprotist would say because they were abused, are they the only ones, I was abused in every way possible, I turned out well, I know of many people who were they are not out there killing people, animals, or eating everything that moves, am really sick and tired and sooooo mad when these people cannot take responsibility and STOP blaming others, I watch most of these stories and they just piss me off, talk about James K he is just a rude lying greedy pig , I don’t care abou them because they don’t care about themselves. SORRY

  7. Started out at 343 and am down to 294. I am also a recovering love addict.

    I was traumatized as a child. I’m mentally ill have bipolar raised up in the 80s. Back then the psychiatric profession abused teenagers.

    I was made to live in psycho wards as a teen away from my family in the care of strangers and physically abused with restraints and meds. I was also molested.

    The whole thing about trauma is this. Yes weve all been traumatized, most addicts of an addiction use the addiction to medicate ourselves from memories of the trauma.

    But that’s not an excuse to become an addict. There are plenty of molestation survivors who grow up happy and successful.

    After we find out were addicts theres no reason not to get help why we cant clean up and lose weight. James has no excess. Its just sad. But I don’t blame her for killing him. Hes choosing it that’s his deal.

    I use the Body For Life plan to lose weight and work out at home.

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