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S07.E18: Mercedes' Story

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How do we get community agencies (like CPS and the schools) to become more involved with protecting children in the context of Mercedes' parental "rights."

It's a huge slippery slope. First, as a country, we don't dictate much about how parents have to parent their children. They have to keep them fed, clothed, sheltered, educated (to a certain degree) and receiving appropriate healthcare (to a certain degree). As best we can see, Mercedes was managing all those things. 

Her kids have far from an ideal childhood, I agree. Aspects of their childhood will almost certainly have some negative impacts on them into and through adulthood. That said, though, people have wildly different values about every aspect of child rearing, from discipline to chores to nutrition to religion, etc, etc, etc. What I find completely inappropriate might be laudable in another family with different values. 

Second, the child welfare system is overburdened already. We don't have enough foster families, dollars and other resources to care for children who are neglected - not even getting the bare minimum of food, clothing, shelter, education and healthcare. Even if there were legal grounds to remove Mercedes's children from her care, it would be no easy task to find a foster family to take them, together. Not to mention that the research shows that removing children, even abused and neglected ones, from their families of origin, causes trauma. That is not an insignificant concern.

How do we best support these children - whose childhoods aren't ideal but who aren't at a high enough level of risk to need to remove them from their homes? Strengthen supports to families. It didn't seem that Mercedes had a PCA in Houston but she should have, to remove some of the burden on her daughter. They had housing, but it didn't seem adequate - they needed at least one more bedroom. Brandon was a great support to the family but Mercedes was really lucky to have him. Other good supports for families include high quality childcare, early childhood education and public schools. There are lots of ways to help children and families without jumping to removing kids from parents who love them but aren't necessarily caring for them as optimally as they should.

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If there is any justice in the world for those kids, when Mercedes' heart gives out they'll go live with cousin Brandon.

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If there is any justice in the world for those kids, when Mercedes' heart gives out they'll go live with cousin Brandon.

I was wondering what Brandon does for income since he seemed to have a ton of time to help Mercedes and move to Houston with her. He seemed like a great guy though and I think he's a wonderful support to those kids.

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"How much soda do you drink?"

"A 2-liter. Two or three 2-liters."

Yeah. One 2-liter does not equal two 2-liters, and it certainly does not equal three of them. Math, Mercedes.

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I don't think that having a super morbidly obese person go into a FOOD addition rehab is a bad idea.  It seem quite reasonable. I would imagine the hold back is money.  Insurance won't likely cover, but, I think they do cover for some cases.  Anyone know?   They say that addicts and alcoholics need DETOX time, in addition to the rehab time.  I would expect no less for food addicts. 

I actually think that there would be grounds to intervene with this woman's home/parenting situation.  Mother is not able to actually parent her children, can't manage household, can't provide meals, ensure their baths or even engage in the daily care of the children.  She actually makes living with her a health and safety hazard for them.  I would think they do have case workers and something will be done. 

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I don't think that having a super morbidly obese person go into a FOOD addition rehab is a bad idea.  It seem quite reasonable. I would imagine the hold back is money.  Insurance won't likely cover, but, I think they do cover for some cases.  Anyone know?   They say that addicts and alcoholics need DETOX time, in addition to the rehab time.  I would expect no less for food addicts. 

I think that is more or less what Dr. Now does when he admits them to the hospital and puts them on a controlled diet - plus they get PT and medical monitoring. I don't know how much insurance covers. I think that Mercedes said it wasn't "an option" for her because a) she didn't have anyone to care for her kids and b) she didn't want to give up control over her food intake.

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I actually think that there would be grounds to intervene with this woman's home/parenting situation.  Mother is not able to actually parent her children, can't manage household, can't provide meals, ensure their baths or even engage in the daily care of the children.  She actually makes living with her a health and safety hazard for them.  I would think they do have case workers and something will be done. 

I think people have a lot of misconceptions about what CPS can and cannot do. Mercedes is not an optimal parent - I don't disagree. She manages the household - she has someone who gets the kids to and from school; her bills (presumably) gets paid and there's a roof over everyone's head. Her house actually looked pretty tidy, especially compared to some that we have seen on this show. I don't know who cleans it but it seemed fine. She provides meals. There is food in the house. It doesn't matter that she doesn't go buy it or doesn't cook it. It doesn't matter that it's not healthful or that she relies on fast food. The kids eat. The oldest one is old enough to not need help with a bath and she is old enough to help the younger one; there are also family members who can help. All that is acceptable. Plenty of parents are on disability so that being the family's sole source of income is also not something that CPS would automatically see as problematic. 

None of this is to say that I think this is a great situation for these children or that it's a good way for them to grow up. I feel horrible for them. BUT I think that people often feel that child welfare has the latitude to take children or intervene in some other way in cases where they really cannot. 

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15 hours ago, Honey said:

There's always someone who will drive these people to Houston....and they always seem to have a van.  Wouldn't it be cheaper and more comfortable to rent a motor home for the drive?  Rather than pay for all those nights in a hotel. 

I don't think she could even get into a motor home.  I would suggest a conversion van as they are roomier than a family van.   Or a Ford transit if they could take out some of the seating.  Either choice would leave more room for all the extra stuff they need like wheelchairs, potty chairs, walkers, and canes.  

I was a little interested to hear how she pronounced her name.  So it's like the car.  One of my dad's cousins was named Mercedes, but it was pronounced "mer the dees."  Or something very similar as I can't figure quite how to spell the pronunciation.

I haven't watched the whole epi as I was trying to watch and live chat at the same time.  I have come to the conclusion that despite their lip service to the idea that their lives may end any day few --if any --of them believe it.  There have been relatively few deaths of the patients on the show, and 3 of them occurred in the last year with 2 occurring in February.   Henry Foots died, but it was after the show aired and it probably was related to his prior obesity, but there isn't a really obvious  connection.  There was one suicide.  And Robert's death was probably also related to his pain killer addiction.    Meanwhile people like James K are still alive, and Pauline is still alive in her 50's.  I can see why the people in this season thought there was no real rush to lose weight on their own.   Also in some of the older shows like Ashley and Melissa, Dr Now did the surgery without requiring them to lose a lot of weight first.  He has changed some of his requirements over the years based on his experience with how patients typically behave when asked to lose.

She seemed to take some kind of perverse pride in the fact that she shared her bed with her children.  Even with one bedroom,  she could sleep in the living room, and let the kids share the bedroom or at least get the kids air mattresses and sleeping bags and they can sleep in the living room.   Or put bunk beds in the living room. 

Edited by Twopper
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Patients like Mercedes do remind me of some people that I know who are also morbidly obese.  Not on her level, but, approaching it.  Some are in one family and they grew up with same upbringing and genetics.  One is super thin, athletic and borderline skinny.  The others range from obese to morbidly obese.  Isn't that odd?  The ones who are obese though, eat similar to Mercedes.  The focus of their meal is the quantity.  Always order the largest platter, plate, box, etc.  ALWAYS order EXTRA cheese, EXTRA sauce, EXTRA chili, EXTRA whipped cream, EXTRA butter, EXTRA sour cream, etc.  but, leave off the lettuce and tomato. lol  No wonder obesity is such a complex issue.  I would be embarrassed to order like that in a public place, if I weighed several hundred pounds........go figure. 

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I was a little interested to hear how she pronounced her name.  So it's like the car.  One of my dad's cousins was named Mercedes, but it was pronounced "mer the dees."  Or something very similar as I can't figure quite how to spell the pronunciation.

I have friends who are native Spanish speakers and a member of their family is named Mercedes. They pronounce it as you describe - the "ce" is more "say" than "C" sounding.

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Just now, Elizzikra said:

I have friends who are native Spanish speakers and a member of their family is named Mercedes. They pronounce it as you describe - the "ce" is more "say" than "C" sounding.

My mother's middle name is Mercedes (she is Hispanic). Its pronounced with the "say" sound. 

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6 minutes ago, libgirl2 said:

My mother's middle name is Mercedes (she is Hispanic). Its pronounced with the "say" sound. 

My great grandmother's family came from Spain and my great-grandfather came from Portugal so I wondered if her pronunciation was a blend from the two distinct languages. 

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5 minutes ago, Twopper said:

My great grandmother's family came from Spain and my great-grandfather came from Portugal so I wondered if her pronunciation was a blend from the two distinct languages. 

My grandparents were Cuban and French (near the Spanish border). 

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15 hours ago, Honey said:

So...Lemme get this straight...When she has her period, she is too large to use tampons or pads, so she just bleeds all over the place?  Isn't that speshul.

There's always someone who will drive these people to Houston....and they always seem to have a van.  Wouldn't it be cheaper and more comfortable to rent a motor home for the drive?  Rather than pay for all those nights in a hotel. 

Have you ever seen the bathrooms in a motor home? Some “normal size” people can barely fit in them. Same with the doorways into it. 

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I made it about half way through live chat and fell asleep. Sounds like I made it further than most. 

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2 hours ago, Twopper said:

I don't think she could even get into a motor home.  I would suggest a conversion van as they are roomier than a family van.   Or a Ford transit if they could take out some of the seating.  Either choice would leave more room for all the extra stuff they need like wheelchairs, potty chairs, walkers, and canes.  

I was a little interested to hear how she pronounced her name.  So it's like the car.  One of my dad's cousins was named Mercedes, but it was pronounced "mer the dees."  Or something very similar as I can't figure quite how to spell the pronunciation.

I haven't watched the whole epi as I was trying to watch and live chat at the same time.  I have come to the conclusion that despite their lip service to the idea that their lives may end any day few --if any --of them believe it.  There have been relatively few deaths of the patients on the show, and 3 of them occurred in the last year with 2 occurring in February.   Henry Foots died, but it was after the show aired and it probably was related to his prior obesity, but there isn't a really obvious  connection.  There was one suicide.  And Robert's death was probably also related to his pain killer addiction.    Meanwhile people like James K are still alive, and Pauline is still alive in her 50's.  I can see why the people in this season thought there was no real rush to lose weight on their own.   Also in some of the older shows like Ashley and Melissa, Dr Now did the surgery without requiring them to lose a lot of weight first.  He has changed some of his requirements over the years based on his experience with how patients typically behave when asked to lose.

She seemed to take some kind of perverse pride in the fact that she shared her bed with her children.  Even with one bedroom,  she could sleep in the living room, and let the kids share the bedroom or at least get the kids air mattresses and sleeping bags and they can sleep in the living room.   Or put bunk beds in the living room. 

She probably had the children in her bed from birth, she couldn’t haul herself out of bed often enough or quickly enough to tend to them as infants. The bed was where everything took place. Eating, sleeping, bathing, even bathroom duties.  And I’m sure that as the kids became mobile and could walk and fetch and tote things, it became just part of their daily lives to hear “mommy needs you to go get .. please bring mommy.,.,.” “Mommy needs you to help her....”   Waiting on mommy, taking care of mommy, helping mommy... it’s all they’ve ever known. A few of them are able to escape and cut off contact, others may leave, but as we see, may out of a sense of duty/obligation or love, make daily or frequent visits bringing the only thing they know that mommy lives for,  food.  And some can’t can’t break that feeling that “mommy needs me” so they stay and become “ the enabler”. 

Edited by iwasish
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2 hours ago, Elizzikra said:

I think that is more or less what Dr. Now does when he admits them to the hospital and puts them on a controlled diet - plus they get PT and medical monitoring. I don't know how much insurance covers. I think that Mercedes said it wasn't "an option" for her because a) she didn't have anyone to care for her kids and b) she didn't want to give up control over her food intake.

It is kind of. Hospital food is notorious for being awful and that perpetuates the whole healthy food has to taste bad thing. If the rehab had people who knew how to make good tasting healthy meals, AND taught the rehabbers some cooking skills, there might be more successes. Part of what worked with Diana is that by having the niece control the food, they retrained Diana's palate to enjoy better options. But Diana was always a willing participant, I don't see Mercedes cooperating. I was surprised that Dr. Now let her dick around for a year before putting her in the hospital.

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17 hours ago, missnoa said:

I do not understand the ones who sit there with their genitals all hanging out right where their children can see with absolutely no shame. I get that maybe there's no underwear that fits, but pull a blanket over yourself for goodness sake. Your children do not need to see that all hanging out. It's bad enough half the time the kids are forced to help them clean it.

I agree.  I thought about poor Bayley seeing James K's junk (if it could be seen under all that fat), and aren't these people ashamed for doing that?  Of course not.  FUBAR.

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18 hours ago, Honey said:

So...Lemme get this straight...When she has her period, she is too large to use tampons or pads, so she just bleeds all over the place?  Isn't that speshul.

No, you don't understand.  She puts puppy pads under her ass so her caretaker can throw them away when she comes in the next morning.  So gross.  She doesn't own a pair of underwear so nowhere for a pad to go and she can't find or reach her vagina so no tampons.  

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I'm just watching this episode now and I noticed something that totally grossed me out. In the scene where she's waiting for Dr Lola to arrive, there's a shot of the bed and the base on which the mattress is sitting is completely covered with brown/yellowish-red stains. The only thing I could think of is that Mercedes had shit/pissed/bled through a previous mattress to the point of destruction all the way through to the base and a new mattress was just replaced on the foul base. It made me heave.

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18 hours ago, CrazyInAlabama said:

Notice how the boyfriend, or whatever he was at the beginning disappeared? 

He was the little boy's father. I thought it was interesting that when he first appeared to take the kids to school, she explained who he was by calling him "his biological father"…as if there was another "dad" figure around? (I think later she said they split up because he cheated, though I could be misremembering.) I wonder what the real reason he stopped showing up is. He seemed to be mostly there for the kids (even the one that apparently wasn't his), taking them to school and bringing them home (do they not have school buses?), and yes, making her a farmyard worth of bacon and eggs for her breakfast (a meal that she totally doesn't eat); did he really abandon them on his own?

17 hours ago, newyawk said:

The campaign was closed and is no longer active. It topped out at $175. That oughtta keep her in Ho Hos for a couple of weeks.

Weeks? You're optimistic…

11 hours ago, alegtostandon said:

I recall her saying that the "dad" sexually molested all of the sisters,  did they show any of them?  Were they all over 700 lbs also?

They showed one sister; she was probably at least around 300.

11 hours ago, calpurnia99 said:

why are the kids sleeping with her where she prepares food, bleeds and pees? Why why why?????

I know some people believe in co-sleeping and all that (I find the idea questionable and I wouldn't do it myself, but I don't have kids so I try to withhold judgment), but that's generally when the kids are young. An 11-year-old needs her own space. Not sure how old the son is but he's also old enough that he should have some privacy. (Trying not to think about the actual condition of the bed itself. And when her friend got upset in Dr. Now's office and she pulled her in for a hug, and later hugged her daughter, I cringed imagining how she must smell. Though the daughter is probably used to it and might not notice it too much.)

8 hours ago, Elizzikra said:

I think she said at the beginning that they only have a one bedroom apartment and one bed. I'd put some sleeping bags on the floor for the kids myself,  but I think that was her explanation.

Seriously. Her $175 GoFundMe take could cover a couple twin-size air mattresses and two sets of clean sheets, at least.

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If she's too big for a tampon, like it falls out? couldn't she just stuff a sanitary pad up there?  Or a doggie pee pad?  Better than bleeding all over the place.

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8 hours ago, ElderPrice said:

“You had two months to come up with an excuse, and the best you can come up with is that you live in some no-salad zone in Houston that I never heard of??” 

Dr Now is getting crankier and snarkier. I love it. 

Dr Now, Has heard it all at this time of life, I see little difference between drug addicts and the obese over eaters ..they are delusional and conniving...

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On 5/2/2019 at 12:45 PM, pdlinda said:

She comes from a "family system" that enables her and created the dire circumstances she couldn't possibly understand fully without YEARS AND YEARS of intensive therapy (that, of course, she would never engage in due to the "family system" that encouraged her "delusion and denial" and that she relies on for "support.)"  

That "family system" allowed her to believe she could bring 2 innocent children into the world (with whichever sperm donors were available) thinking this was her prerogative to "express herself" with a partner or WHATEVER.  That's the true tragedy here:  That this broken, dysfunctional family system seemingly will persist into the next generation.

How do we get community agencies (like CPS and the schools) to become more involved with protecting children in the context of Mercedes' parental "rights."

I couldn't agree with you more! I watched during the live chat, but upon further reflection I have come to feel that what she is doing to her children is worse than what her father did to her. I am not minimizing incest, or sexual abuse, but from her statements it ended after four years. These children have known nothing but her unhealthy, narcissistic lifestyle, exposed genitals, multiple friends helping her, and her excuses. FOR THEIR ENTIRE EXISTENCE!! If we were to see on a newscast some malevolent dictator their behavior would be no different than hers.  Everyday she is training those children to defer their needs to an adult bully. The letter that she wrote to her daughter and read to her made me so angry. Not only does the daughter have to take care of her physically, but also carry the burden that her mother felt "bad" for hijacking her childhood. The only thing I have to take away from this is that this show seems to find a lot of people that are very verbal in expressing their fears and desires, but unable to develop any behaviors to address them.

Edited by Julyolo · Reason: Misspell
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All I have to say about this episode is, Brandon is the real MVP here.

I only feel sympathy for those children & their uncle. 

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5 hours ago, iwasish said:

Have you ever seen the bathrooms in a motor home? Some “normal size” people can barely fit in them. Same with the doorways into it. 

I was thinking more of her being able to fully recline in an "almost" full size bed.  She could always still use her potty chair in the MH.  It would lessen the strain on the obese person since they would have an actual bed and could make the trip in 1 or 2 days instead of 5.  She wouldn't need to fit in the shower, that could wait until she was back home.  I doubt she showered in the motels.

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2 hours ago, essexjan said:

I'm just watching this episode now and I noticed something that totally grossed me out. In the scene where she's waiting for Dr Lola to arrive, there's a shot of the bed and the base on which the mattress is sitting is completely covered with brown/yellowish-red stains. The only thing I could think of is that Mercedes had shit/pissed/bled through a previous mattress to the point of destruction all the way through to the base and a new mattress was just replaced on the foul base. It made me heave.

I saw that too.  I was hoping it was water stains from the flooding/rain that made them have to move.  

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26 minutes ago, Honey said:

I was thinking more of her being able to fully recline in an "almost" full size bed.  She could always still use her potty chair in the MH.  It would lessen the strain on the obese person since they would have an actual bed and could make the trip in 1 or 2 days instead of 5.  She wouldn't need to fit in the shower, that could wait until she was back home.  I doubt she showered in the motels.

Speaking as an RVer, she would have difficulty getting through the door to the bedroom in most motorhomes. When they're moving and the slides are in, there isn't a whole lot of room. Definitely not room for a potty chair that could hold a 600 pounder. Plus, it would have to be anchored somehow or ... well, you can inagine. Ours is large -- 40' with 2 slides -- and I doubt she could even get up the steps and through the door.  Most rental motorhomes I've seen are on the small side. It sound good in theory, but not so great in reality.

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2 hours ago, essexjan said:

I'm just watching this episode now and I noticed something that totally grossed me out. In the scene where she's waiting for Dr Lola to arrive, there's a shot of the bed and the base on which the mattress is sitting is completely covered with brown/yellowish-red stains. The only thing I could think of is that Mercedes had shit/pissed/bled through a previous mattress to the point of destruction all the way through to the base and a new mattress was just replaced on the foul base. It made me heave.

and THIS is the bed she shares with her children. Not to mention the potential danger of having small children sleeping with a human the size of an elephant. The children are sleeping in — as Mercedes says herself — urine and blood, and most likely feces as well. Would THAT not be grounds for CPS to at least look into the matter? 

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1 hour ago, Julyolo said:

I couldn't agree with you more! I watched during the live chat, but upon further reflection I have come to feel that what she is doing to her children is worse than what her father did to her. I am not minimizing incest, or sexual abuse, but from her statements it ended after four years. These children have known nothing but her unhealthy, narcissistic lifestyle, exposed genitals, multiple friends helping her, and her excuses. FOR THEIR ENTIRE EXISTENCE!! If we were to see on a newscast some malevolent dictator their behavior would be no different than hers.  Everyday she is training those children to defer their needs to an adult bully. The letter that she wrote to her daughter and read to her made me so angry. Not only does the daughter have to take care of her physically, but also carry the burden that her mother felt "bad" for hijacking her childhood. The only thing I have to take away from this is that this show seems to find a lot of people that are very verbal in expressing their fears and desires, but unable to develop any behaviors to address them.

I completely disagree that what Mercedes is doing to her children is worse than what her father did to her. Mercedes was repeatedly raped by her own father throughout her childhood. Honestly, I can’t think of trauma that would be much worse and leave you alive. While Mercedes’s children have to help care for her and they don’t have an ideal childhood, it was clear to me that she loves them and they feel loved by her. They are safe and cared for. I don’t think it’s a bad thing that Mercedes has help caring for them - one of their “helpers” was her son’s own father and the other (Brandon) was also a family member. Plenty of families have childcare help. Should they see their mom’s genitals - no. Is it ideal for them to see her horrible eating habits and eat the same thing themselves? No. But plenty of otherwise good parents smoke, drink, overeat, fail to exercise and engage in all sorts of other unhealthy behaviors in front of their kids. 

The more I learn about sexual abuse and trauma, the more I become convinced that it’s absolutely one of the most damaging, if not the most damaging things that can happen to anyone. One instance is bad enough; repeated rape, by a parent no less, is almost unfathomable. I would wish a better life for Mercedes’s children but I have incredible sympathy for Mercedes. 

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26 minutes ago, CousinOliver said:

I saw that too.  I was hoping it was water stains from the flooding/rain that made them have to move.  

I missed it...and I'm thinking it's just as well...

8 minutes ago, CringeWatcher said:

Not to mention the potential danger of having small children sleeping with a human the size of an elephant. 

This made me go google what a baby elephant weighs. 200 pounds. So she is the size of approximately four baby elephants.

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52 minutes ago, ShoePrincess said:

Speaking as an RVer, she would have difficulty getting through the door to the bedroom in most motorhomes. When they're moving and the slides are in, there isn't a whole lot of room. Definitely not room for a potty chair that could hold a 600 pounder. Plus, it would have to be anchored somehow or ... well, you can inagine. Ours is large -- 40' with 2 slides -- and I doubt she could even get up the steps and through the door.  Most rental motorhomes I've seen are on the small side. It sound good in theory, but not so great in reality.

This is true. I would be surprised if she could get through the door to get into it, let alone into the tiny bathrooms or back in the back bedroom. I have a family member who lives in one that's actually fairly big and the bathroom is still tight and getting back into the bedroom means walking around the bed to get in and no way could any of the people on these shows manage it.

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7 hours ago, ninjakid said:

It is kind of. Hospital food is notorious for being awful and that perpetuates the whole healthy food has to taste bad thing. I

I 've read that the show would cover all medical expenses such as hospitalization for a period of a year when ordered by Dr. Now.

Generally I've noticed that the hospital food on the show looks quite appetizing although it's not in the quantity or type of food poundticipants desire.  I think in recent decades hospitals have done a much better job in providing food patients wish to eat.  Obviously it can assist in a faster recovery.  The hospital I've had occasion to visit a few times has outstanding food.

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5 hours ago, CatherineM said:

Flashing your genitals at children is sexual assault. 

While allowing your children to see your genitals is wildly inappropriate, it's not "flashing" in the sense most generally interpret it. I wouldn't call it sexual assault.  Not that I am okay with it at ALL.

There are many families who find it perfectly ok to undress or shower in front of their children. I don't get it, but I wouldn't call it any sort of sexual crime.

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I cannot even form the proper thoughts in my head after seeing this episode.  Those poor children.  Years ago I took in a cockatoo that was a mutilator.  I tried for years to help her.  No amount of care or parrot type barriers/cones worked to prevent her from tearing her skin.  She would almost get well and then rip her chest again.  The last time it happened the vet said "some humans and animals have a death wish and the kindest thing would be to let this bird go to her great reward."  And I did.  I was very sad I could not help her but she was released from her miserable life.  I sort of feel the same about Mercedes.

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20 hours ago, Elizzikra said:

Well yeah. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be able to eat whatever they wanted and not have negative consequences. What alcoholic doesn’t want to be able to drink in a “normal” way.

Plus people get addicted to things because they work as a coping strategy (until they don’t). The problem is that so many of these addicts go in the diet, which takes away their only coping mechanism, but they don’t replace it with a healthy tool. Mercedes knee she was using food to cope but she seemed to have no idea what to use instead.

And the worst thing is, once you're at your goal weight, the battle isn't over.  Everybody knows it's harder to keep weight off than to lose it in the first place (that HBO documentary on obesity cited studies that people who have dieted down to a particular weight have to eat considerably fewer calories to maintain that weight than people who were that weight from the start--talk about unfair!), so even if you manage to conquer the addiction and get "normal," you still have to eat as if you're still addicted to food.

And replacing eating as a coping mechanism is imo the part where medicine/psychology fails us completely.  Keeping a food diary, writing letters to dead fathers on tissue paper, "get a hobby," get addicted to exercise--all of these are poor substitutes for eating, and it seems to me that the obesees get very little guidance in acquiring a substitute activity.  The psychologist suggests something, and sometimes the obesees do it, and sometimes not.  Maybe a medical intervention in the form of a shot or pill, like giving a heroin addict Subloxone to ease her off the hard stuff, would work.

We make fun of these guys who expect a magic bullet or that they'll emerge from surgery 100 lbs lighter, but until medicine/psychology is able to offer something better than urging will power, it may be useless for doctors to tell patients to lose weight.  Seems to me that there's very, very little in terms of real help available ("only 5% will succeed").

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20 hours ago, sempervivum said:

I was diagnosed 2 years ago with Type 1 diabetes, and I was given several hours of instruction, in the hospital as well as in an out-patient setting, by 2 nutritionists who made sure I understood portion size, the difference between protein, fat, carbs, etc., as well as websites and magazines to look up general info and recipe ideas. I'm sure Mercedes got this kind of help, too (I suspect the show doesn't let us see this stuff because it's pretty boring). Also, she had a smart phone, it would have taken her 15 seconds to find out if those enormous pancakes were 'protein' (as she said) and how many calories were in them. Ditto with that oh-so-healthy turkey bacon.

The simple fact is despite her looming, now inevitable, fate, she wants to eat more than she wants to live. I hope her mother is ready to raise those 2 kids.

I'm not sure that they *are* given nutritional instructions like looking up calorie counts.  Mercedes seemed to me to be intelligent, and I think that if she had known how to calculate a 1200-calorie day, she would have done it.  Maybe she did get instruction, and it didn't "take," in which case after that second weigh-in where she had lost less weight than she should have, she should have had another session with someone who could go through her diet and show her how to calculate what she ought to be eating.  I truly did think Mercedes was trying; I bet if her daughter had been included in a session with a nutritionist, the daughter would have been a big help.

OTOH, Dr. Now has been at this for a while, and he knows what the patients have to do, so it's hard to believe that he *wouldn't* make sure they understood about calories and carbs.  Every week I'm confused about this.

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2 hours ago, KateHearts said:

While allowing your children to see your genitals is wildly inappropriate, it's not "flashing" in the sense most generally interpret it. I wouldn't call it sexual assault.  Not that I am okay with it at ALL.

There are many families who find it perfectly ok to undress or shower in front of their children. I don't get it, but I wouldn't call it any sort of sexual crime.

We take in kids who have aged out of foster care without being adopted or reunified. Many have been horribly abused. I call this sort of behaviour an assault because that’s how the kids view it/describe it. 

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20 minutes ago, Mothra said:

I'm not sure that they *are* given nutritional instructions like looking up calorie counts.  Mercedes seemed to me to be intelligent, and I think that if she had known how to calculate a 1200-calorie day, she would have done it.  Maybe she did get instruction, and it didn't "take," in which case after that second weigh-in where she had lost less weight than she should have, she should have had another session with someone who could go through her diet and show her how to calculate what she ought to be eating.  I truly did think Mercedes was trying; I bet if her daughter had been included in a session with a nutritionist, the daughter would have been a big help.

OTOH, Dr. Now has been at this for a while, and he knows what the patients have to do, so it's hard to believe that he *wouldn't* make sure they understood about calories and carbs.  Every week I'm confused about this.

When accepted, the patients are part of a weight loss program which includes more than a weigh in and then a 59 second visit with Dr Now.  His clinic obviously has a large staff considering the thousands of patients he has treated.

Much like we never see the patients getting tests after they arrive, which we frequently hear referenced, we don't see all the steps of the process every week.  We have seen nutrition classes given and in home visits by nutritionists.  My favorite nutrition advice, however, did come from Dr. Now, when he gave a list of forbidden foods to a patient and said the list was not a shopping list.

This program has the same basic weekly template.  We don't come close to seeing the entire process, just the lowlights or highlights.

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38 minutes ago, Mothra said:

OTOH, Dr. Now has been at this for a while, and he knows what the patients have to do, so it's hard to believe that he *wouldn't* make sure they understood about calories and carbs.  Every week I'm confused about this.

  In an episode with Pauline (or was it Penny?) he mentioned he had given her a book with  detailed instructions.  I don't know why they don't give them scales.   One of the patients had a scale at home but it stopped in the 500's so she no longer knew what she weighed, and when someone (Erica) moved back home for a few months he mailed her a scale.  There are a variety of scales that are not expensive on Amazon that go up to the 500 and 600 pound range.

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43 minutes ago, Mothra said:

I'm not sure that they *are* given nutritional instructions like looking up calorie counts.  Mercedes seemed to me to be intelligent, and I think that if she had known how to calculate a 1200-calorie day, she would have done it.  Maybe she did get instruction, and it didn't "take," in which case after that second weigh-in where she had lost less weight than she should have, she should have had another session with someone who could go through her diet and show her how to calculate what she ought to be eating.  I truly did think Mercedes was trying; I bet if her daughter had been included in a session with a nutritionist, the daughter would have been a big help.

OTOH, Dr. Now has been at this for a while, and he knows what the patients have to do, so it's hard to believe that he *wouldn't* make sure they understood about calories and carbs.  Every week I'm confused about this.

https://web.noom.com/blog/2019/02/dr-nowzaradan-1200-calorie-diet-plan-secret-600-lb-life/   

Dr. Nowzaradan 1200 Calorie Diet Plan: The Breakdown

Dr. Now’s technique for cutting down on weight is by following a strict 1,200 calorie (maximum) diet plan. Some of the more severe, morbid obese patients go as low as 1,000 calorie for their limit. Not only are patients drastically dropping in the amount of calories they consume each day, but the foods they are consuming are not a part of their current diet plan, no surprise. This strict nutrition plan is a low-fat, low-carb, high protein combination. Most of the diet regimen seems promising; consuming lots of plant based proteins, keeping up with hydration, monitoring behaviors associated with eating patterns. The down-fall is the daunting list of ‘no-go’ foods.

The list of foods that are off limits while shedding pounds consist of:

Sugar

Desserts: cakes, candies, ice cream, cookies

Sweetened fruit or frozen yogurt

Chocolate

Potatoes of any sort – mashed, french fries, chips

Crackers

Minimal breads including anything whole wheat

Nuts and nut butters

Fruit juices

Noodles and rice

White and brown rice

Soda, sports drinks, energy drinks

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This one annoyed the piss out of me! Throughout the entire show, she is talking about her progress and how hard she is working, WHILE SHOVING FRIED CHICKEN DOWN HER THROAT. The delusion is strong with this one. And cooking pancakes and bacon and eggs, while at the same time her voice-over is talking about how she is sticking to the diet? Ugh, shut up Mer.

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4 minutes ago, Hannah94 said:

This one annoyed the piss out of me! Throughout the entire show, she is talking about her progress and how hard she is working, WHILE SHOVING FRIED CHICKEN DOWN HER THROAT. The delusion is strong with this one. And cooking pancakes and bacon and eggs, while at the same time her voice-over is talking about how she is sticking to the diet? Ugh, shut up Mer.

Amen, I DVR ed it and FF through most of it, she was perhaps one of dirtiest  and lazy patients Dr Now ever had, she is prone to infection due lack of general cleanliness  period   .. The children should not be exposed to her.

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I think that if she had known how to calculate a 1200-calorie day, she would have done it.

I kind of don't. She was either completely dishonest or deluded in describing her diet to Dr. Now. She, like a lot of his patients, focus on the list of foods they can eat but little attention to preparation (grilled chicken, fine; fried chicken, not so much) or quantity (3 - 4 ounces of chicken versus an entire bucket). I think most of her avoidance of follow up appointments was because she knew on some level that she was not following the diet and had not lost weight.

Quote

We take in kids who have aged out of foster care without being adopted or reunified. Many have been horribly abused. I call this sort of behaviour an assault because that’s how the kids view it/describe it. 

THANK YOU for doing this! Kids who age out of foster care are, as you know, a particularly vulnerable group and while there are efforts to improve services and supports for them, they are not where they need to be. 

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I think a lot of them are delusional in the sense they think they have a month to see Dr. Now they can start tomorrow.  I'm sure they were given some instruction and maybe trying could go over like 2000 instead of 1200 but they would still lose a lot in that case. I think it's a lot of rationalizing they do for every cheat that allow. All these cheats add up. As for proponents of the Family Bed, this is not what they mean by it. 

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9 hours ago, sagittarius sue said:

Generally I've noticed that the hospital food on the show looks quite appetizing although it's not in the quantity or type of food poundticipants desire.  I think in recent decades hospitals have done a much better job in providing food patients wish to eat.  Obviously it can assist in a faster recovery.  The hospital I've had occasion to visit a few times has outstanding food.

The private hospitals in my area are so competitive for insured patients that they have culinary awards.  There's a lot of bragging rights.

On my two week stay they called it "room service".  Extensive menus, order for your own timing.  No racks sitting in the hall getting cold. 

Chicken marsala, Asian short ribs, spinach enchiladas, custom omelettes, there were at least 6-8 entrees to choose from at every meal.  It was amazing, and I'm a wanna be chef type.

I had three full meals and two desserts every day and lost 17 pounds.  My visit had nothing to do with my fluffiness.

Nutritious food can be awesome, but there absolutely has to be a detox!  I truly believe the theory that the heavy fat, SALT, SUGAR and processing is engineered towards addiction.  The ConAgras and fast food corps have a vested interest in cultivating a fast food palate in children, thus guaranteeing a customer for life.

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1200 calories is a fraction of what these folk eat in one day. Just one large size fast food meal has more than 1200 calories, and they’re consuming 2 or 3 of those meals in one sitting. The breakfast that is supplied to them by their enablers is the equivalent of what a family of 4/5 would eat. 

It seems that none of these patients have a clue as to how much they eat in a day vs how much they should eat. 

I’d like to see them lay out on a table the typical amount of food eaten in one day vs what should be consumed by the patient. It seems they delude themselves about just how much they do eat and also about how much they can eat on the diet. 

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14 minutes ago, zillabreeze said:

The private hospitals in my area are so competitive for insured patients that they have culinary awards.  There's a lot of bragging rights.

On my two week stay they called it "room service".  Extensive menus, order for your own timing.  No racks sitting in the hall getting cold. 

Chicken marsala, Asian short ribs, spinach enchiladas, custom omelettes, there were at least 6-8 entrees to choose from at every meal.  It was amazing, and I'm a wanna be chef type.

I had three full meals and two desserts every day and lost 17 pounds.  My visit had nothing to do with my fluffiness.

Nutritious food can be awesome, but there absolutely has to be a detox!  I truly believe the theory that the heavy fat, SALT, SUGAR and processing is engineered towards addiction.  The ConAgras and fast food corps have a vested interest in cultivating a fast food palate in children, thus guaranteeing a customer for life.

the last time I was in hospital the food wasn't too bad. The sandwiches were great and they served a very good mushroom omelet. I think it also depends what you order. The white rice was bland, but the parm encrusted fish was delicious. 

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17 hours ago, iwasish said:

And I’m sure that as the kids became mobile and could walk and fetch and tote things, it became just part of their daily lives to hear “mommy needs you to go get .. please bring mommy.,.,.” “Mommy needs you to help her....”   Waiting on mommy, taking care of mommy, helping mommy... it’s all they’ve ever known. A few of them are able to escape and cut off contact, others may leave, but as we see, may out of a sense of duty/obligation or love, make daily or frequent visits bringing the only thing they know that mommy lives for,  food.  And some can’t can’t break that feeling that “mommy needs me” so they stay and become “ the enabler”. 

I almost get the sense that when the kids are younger, that they have the impression that there is something medically wrong with mommy/daddy that causes them to be fat, and not that mommy/daddy being fat is the cause.  I would see that as the brain's defense mechanism, because it would be too painful to think that food is the reason that my mommy/daddy is making my life this way.  Hence the lack of anger about "mommy/daddy needs you to do such-and-such."  Younger children generally like to be helpers and that can be exploited with a few well-placed words and phrases.

15 hours ago, ams1001 said:

And when her friend got upset in Dr. Now's office and she pulled her in for a hug, and later hugged her daughter, I cringed imagining how she must smell. 

Am I blanking it out, or did this episode not start with the traditional shower scene?

21 hours ago, ThereButFor said:

 She was NOT following the diet and I wonder at the mental dysfunction that allowed her to think she had reached her goal.

Not only did she think she had reached her goal, she was so proud that she wanted to bring her family along to revel in the accomplishment!  

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