Saturday, August 29, 2015

On 'My 600-lb Life,' weight-loss truth isn't always pretty

I tend to blow hot and cold on the subject weight-loss TV - hate NBC's "The Biggest Loser," but will admit to having wept through more than one episode of the Style Network's "Too Fat for 15" - mostly because I know just how unentertaining healthy weight loss can be.

On 'My 600-lb Life,' weight-loss truth isn't always pretty

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I tend to blow hot and cold on the subject weight-loss TV — hate NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” but will admit to having  wept through more than one episode of the Style Network’s “Too Fat for 15” — mostly because I know just how unentertaining healthy weight loss can be.


I get it: No one’s ever going to launch a prime-time hit with a picture of someone eating smaller portions and exercising in moderation. And you’re never going to hear one of those screaming trainers admit that throwing up on the treadmill isn’t a strategy for long-term success.


TV wants dramatic stories, and TLC has one, as tonight at 9 it launches a four-part series, “My 600-lb Life,” with Melissa, a Texas woman who weighed more than 600 pounds before undergoing gastric-bypass surgery more than seven years ago.

Unflinching in its honesty — even the not-so-squeamish will want to heed those onscreen warnings about the surgery shots, and there are multiple surgeries involved — the episode follows its remarkable subject for not seven weeks, or even seven months, but for seven years.


In seven years, you can tell a story that’s much more than a big reveal, and this one, which shows a marriage undergoing changes every bit as drastic as the changes in Melissa’s body, is probably must viewing for anyone who thinks a gastric bypass is the easy way out for the overweight.


Or, for that matter, for anyone who thinks all of life’s problems can be solved by the right diet.

Daily News TV Critic
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About this blog
As the TV critic for the Philadelphia Daily News, I've always believed my job is less about thumbs -- up or down -- and more about the conversation. Because the more choices we have, the fewer people in our lives know what we're talking about when we say, "Did you see that?" And that's when television really starts to get interesting.

Ellen Gray Daily News TV Critic
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